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Culturally Clueless: Race, Feminism & Lily Allen's Hard Out Here Video
Alex Macpherson , November 15th, 2013 10:10

Alex Macpherson is less than impressed with the exploitative and racially dubious aspects of Lily Allen's supposedly empowering 'Hard Out Here' video

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From Macklemore to Miley to Lorde, 2013 has truly been the year in which white pop stars have been allowed to shine for letting their dubious relationships to black culture show. So the return of Lily Allen, an artist whose career encapsulates the concept of white privilege, with a video that encapsulates the year's clumsy fascination with and liberal disdain for black music, feels apt.

Indeed, it may be the worst example yet. Make no mistake: despite - or perhaps because of - its cloak of weak satire and fig-leaf of flimsy "feminism", the video to 'Hard Out Here' is a thoroughly racially dubious piece of work. In its opening scene, Allen catches sight of a group of women of colour dancing in a music video from her surgical table. Most are black; Allen rolls her eyes. But when she frees herself from her hospital shackles and joins them on set, it is no expression of solidarity with women who make their living in this fashion, whether by choice or necessity - à la Rihanna in her 'Pour It Up' video.

The camera's gaze is lascivious but disapproving: it lingers disgustedly on a black woman's hand over her crotch, a black woman's jiggling arse, a black women's legs opening and closing, a black woman's champagne-soaked breasts for just a few seconds more than it should. Presumably these exaggerated shots are to differentiate Allen's satire from the quick, polished cuts of the "generic R&B video" stereotype she aims to send up (for there is little else to demonstrate this; Allen's idea of "satire" seems mostly to be "imitation"). But it doesn't challenge the male gaze, let alone the very real patriarchal conditions that exist for women in the music industry. Instead of leering over scantily clad dancers, Allen invites us to mock them. Black bodies and the dance moves they perform are made into sources of comedy. There's a tossed-off disdainful reference to "chains", for good measure. It's curious that, as with Lorde, many of Allen's reference points are hip-hop video tropes of the early 00s rather than the actual pop that dominates the charts in 2013 - which, particularly in the absences of Rihanna and Beyoncé, has been whitened to a degree unimaginable a decade ago. (This, too, is structural: around a year ago, Billboard altered its chart rules with the effect of marginalising black performers from the mainstream.)

'Hard Out Here' is less trenchant commentary on objectification and more ugly race/class caricaturing in the lineage of Bo! Selecta - a programme that, a decade on, seems astonishingly and crudely racist - combined with the exact culturally clueless thought processes that led to Alanis Morissette's 'My Humps' spoof video six years ago, filtered through 2013 clickbait culture: so much for saying anything brave or new. Exacerbating this is Allen demonstrating her own superiority by being a clothed white woman parading amongst semi-naked women of colour. To declare that "it has nothing to do with race, at all", as Allen did yesterday in a weak, sorry-not-sorry explanation, is the height of disingenuousness: is she actually blind? Even if you grant that neither casting nor costumery were intentionally racialised, the final edit makes it impossible to ignore.

When Miley Cyrus used black women dancers as anonymous props during her infamous VMAs performance, she was rightly criticised. But where Cyrus at least hired those dancers in a clumsy, crass attempt to demonstrate her desire to celebrate and be part of hip-hop culture, Allen does the same thing only to illustrate her contempt for it: by some distance more reprehensible. She even makes this explicit in her lyrics: "Don’t need to shake my ass for you ‘cuz I got a brain… There’s a glass ceiling to break, uh huh there’s money to make", she sneers. You hear that, dancers of the world? You're oppressed because you're stupid. Far from giving a shit about you, Allen is openly contemptuous of you for it, and her priority is to get herself a new kitchen by exploiting your bodies. Such noble feminist sentiments are a textbook case of "I Am Not Like Other Girls": a tactic of claiming the moral high ground by defining oneself against the struggles faced by other women. Even by that metric, though, 'Hard Out Here' fails, with director Chris Sweeney shrugging, "I think we’re all complicit, you have to be, that's what's required these days" of the acres of flesh displayed.

Buried somewhere in Allen's grim execution is the valid point that, like almost every other industry in the west, the music business is dominated by men and shaped by patriarchal values. But at no point does Allen attempt to genuinely attack the industry in any meaningful way (or bite the hand that feeds her), bar a cardboard cliché of a hapless A&R man who tries to teach her how to twerk and the easiest target of all, Robin Thicke. Indeed, it's notable, too, that Allen's pushback against the degradation of pop music doesn't extend to the product placement that's the most visible expression of capitalist patriarchy in music, with two corporate brands prominently displayed. But then, she's always said that she's in it for the money. It's ironic that she can't see that this might be true of other women in the music industry.

None of this exactly a surprise coming from the Bedales-educated Allen, a woman whose second top 10 hit, 2006's 'LDN', found her not merely dabbling but going for a deep-sea dive in poverty tourism. Nor is it the first time she's trodden uncomfortable racial ground - though it was curious that when she tweeted a picture of a penis in actual blackface during a beef with Azealia Banks four months ago, not a word of criticism was heard from the assorted ranks of the British music press. Perhaps this has something to do with her apparent mateyness with the British media Twitter circle; perhaps calling her out would make a few journalists' lives a little too awkward.

Allen's return to the music scene was trailed by a rather different video to 'Hard Out Here' - though no less cynical. It is to this country's immense shame that the John Lewis Christmas advert has been elevated to the status of a cultural event - if you get the tiniest bit excited about the prospect of being shilled shit, please have several words with yourself - but Allen's autopilot sentimentality was an effective means of ingratiating herself with Middle England. She appears to have been placed on the fast track to national treasure status. It's appropriate, then, that her rapturously received comeback has encapsulated the very worst aspects of Britain in 2013.

JK
Nov 14, 2013 10:49am

really shit song too.

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JC
Nov 14, 2013 11:10am

I agree with most of this, but the line that really resonates with me is the one that is off the point - how in the name of fuck did the John Lewis advert become a cultural event? SRSLY!? WTF is wrong with everybody? Tears have been shed. Over a cartoon. With Lily Allen singing a fucking Keane song. That's a whole 'nother Black Sky Thinking piece right there. Great article by the way Alex.

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Nov 14, 2013 11:18am

That article about the Lorde song is completely disingenuous. Why does she not talk about the bankers and old money being the real problem when it comes to perpetuating wealth inequality? Probably because they don't make music videos aimed at teens. Her volley at bankers might arrive when she hits 17...who knows?Lorde is obviously influenced by hip hop/R&B culture, given that her songs take from the minimal production of modern R&B (The Weeknd for one), so I find it hard to believe that she's somehow being racist by commenting on tropes found in the same videos (regardless of how up to date she is). When I hear that song, I don't think about her criticising black culture, I hear her criticising the general culture of extravagant and gauche depictions of wealth that the vast majority of people will never experience...whether it comes courtesy of a Rick Ross video, a Riff Raff video or a Justin Timberlake video (hell, even a Justin Bieber video) doesn't concern me. It's tired to think that those kinds of tropes only exist in black musicians videos these days, given that hip hop culture has advanced and grown to become the backbone of the majority of modern pop.

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Nov 14, 2013 11:27am

In reply to :

This is a good article on the whole 'Royals' racist debate:

http://www.complex.com/music/2013/10/lorde-royals-racist-rap-why

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Marcus
Nov 14, 2013 11:36am

Nonsense.

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Otis
Nov 14, 2013 11:42am

I'm curious as to what Allen was supposed to have done here. Not chosen certain dancers because of their race? But isn't that, y'know, racist?

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HH
Nov 14, 2013 11:49am

This article, to quote this article is 'filtered through 2013 clickbait culture: so much for saying anything brave or new.'

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tahnee oke
Nov 14, 2013 11:49am

Lily Allen is cultural appropriator who seems who disrespects black woman.

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peter potamus
Nov 14, 2013 12:01pm

This was in the Guardians comments--

Lily Allen was a hero to most
But she never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Motherfuck her and Miley Cyrus

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Matt
Nov 14, 2013 12:07pm

In reply to Otis:

The dancers should have been the white record label execs. Flip the whole subject on its head. True satire.

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herr james
Nov 14, 2013 12:07pm

have to say i completely disagree. it seems the whole basis of your issue is that a white & clothed popular artist dances with black girls in sleazy outfits - who is racist here? and you almost point out your own double standard by criticising miley for doing it without irony, AND lily for doing it with. i'm sorry, but if someone wants to highlight the mainstream pop-music obsession with sexy dancers (black or otherwise) you kinda have to show that in a simple fashion that mainstream pop consumers might get. there's no point in her being too animal farm about it. i wonder if you also have a problem with little britain tv series or the rather more excellent chris cunnigham film for aphex twin's track 'windowlicker'? these creators - albeit rather more successfully - use the portrayal of the same 'accepted' stereotypes to point out how stupid WE ALL ARE as consumers of this sort of product.

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Guy
Nov 14, 2013 12:07pm

Oh great, another man here to tell us what to be offended by.

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Nov 14, 2013 12:15pm

Who actually listens to this shit?

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herr james
Nov 14, 2013 12:16pm

furthermore: as far as who really nailed the issue of this industry-wide sexism/dicke/mirey silage issue with a bullet, i direct you back in time to the artistic genius of Lasse Martinussen's "Inside World" video for Who Made Who. although, i imagine that the complete lack of any actors of colour appearing in the video, may appear to some as quite racist… hmmm. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLu-eKhV5_0

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Nicky
Nov 14, 2013 12:57pm

Weird. Allen's called a racist. Why not call her ageist as well ( all the dancers are young). And whilst your at it why not call her up on using dancers who have other common physical attributes such as hair colour or height? My point is some of us just see people as people and nothing more. We don't think about the colour of someone's skin. Maybe Lily is the same? Does that make her a racist? Wow.

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Kelly Ender
Nov 14, 2013 1:00pm

Some valid points. Making the link between Allen tweeting a black cock with a face on it and Azelia Banks - just because they had beef - isn't one of them.

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Memory man
Nov 14, 2013 1:34pm

This is as horrendously ill informed as the story - later apologised for - about Plan B being a racist. What's with you guys? A serious Q: How many black females write for you?

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Niallist
Nov 14, 2013 2:35pm

"It's curious that, as with Lorde, many of Allen's reference points are hip-hop video tropes of the early 00s rather than the actual pop that dominates the charts in 2013."

Apart from, you know, "Blurred Lines", "Pour It Up" and "We Can't Stop", hugely popular videos all released this year and all directly referenced in this clip.

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Vic
Nov 14, 2013 2:56pm

Hmm, this article is remarkably similar to the one written yesterday by Ayesha A. Siddiqi.... http://m.noisey.vice.com/blog/lily-allen-hard-out-here-ayesha-a-siddiqi

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RJ
Nov 14, 2013 5:04pm

In reply to Vic:

A very disappointing article Alex, had come to expect better of you. Your argument lacks substance, cherry picks elements of the video which appear to support your rather peculiar interpretation, whilst you wilfully ignore anything which contradicts your position and the wider context of the video and Allen's take on it. As Vic points out, you have leaned very heavily on another (more coherently argued) piece, but completely lost your way.

Posted at 05:33?!? Give your brain a bit more sleep and you might be able to come up with something coherent next time. C-. Must do better.

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Dr. Pepper
Nov 14, 2013 5:33pm

Top pic looks like Genesis P-Orridge

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Alex
Nov 14, 2013 7:39pm

Your good points are totally lost among the embarrassing amount of mansplaining going on here. Women's political critiques always have to be perfectly executed or they're torn to pieces by men who think they know better, and then the actual issue of gender inequality disappears (again). This is so obvious in the way you not only tear down Lily Allen, but also Lorde, Alanis Morisette, and Miley Cyrus. You've also completely avoided the fact that patriarchy is a messy fucked/screwed up thing to have to live through, and any response is also likely to also be screwed up and messy. I'm just glad she did anything at all.

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AnonymousBosch
Nov 14, 2013 8:23pm

In reply to tahnee oke:

If we're going to play this game, every artist of colour who makes records and videos is engaging in cultural appropriation.

Rock and Roll and Rap both used The Chromatic Scale, popularised by Westerners like Richard Wagner, and not the various five note Pentatonic scales native to the African Continent.

Other things white people invented:

electric guitars and basses
synthesizers
computers
amplification
microphones
recording equipment
record production
the production of electricity for mass consumption by consumers
photography
film cameras
laptop
protools
abletone live
twitter
facebook

Who does Kayne West think he is for culturally-appropriating Autotune, when it was invented by this guy?

http://www.worldoil.com/uploadedimages/Issues/Articles/Nov-2010/1011-Innovative-Thinkers-Andy-Hildebrand.jpg

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harriet taylor mill
Nov 14, 2013 9:06pm

is there a reason why the quietus gets men to write articles telling us who's being a bad feminist? obviously lily allen's video and song are atrocious but there's an irony in this article ("like almost every other industry in the west, the music business is dominated by men") operating to make the music industry, and music criticism, a wee bit more of a space for cis men to lead discussions about feminism and music. Could they actually not find an intersectional feminist to write about this? There was some guy writing about it in the guardian yesterday too. I definitely definitely welcome all of the debates coming out of this piece of shit video but getting pretty tired of the most prominent platforms being given to men. lol rant over lol zzzzzzzz bye.

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 9:36pm

In reply to harriet taylor mill:

We have plenty of female writers - intersectional feminist female writers as well - however, for whatever reason, they didn't want to write about this for us. We don't strong arm people into writing opinion pieces for us. We have to go with who pitches stuff to us. I hope that answers your question.

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 9:45pm

In reply to Memory man:

What, you mean that feature where I said - he almost certainly isn't racist, and I quote, "It seems highly unlikely that Plan B has accidentally revealed himself to be - or indeed is - a Nazi especially given his recent, left leaning and nuanced 'Ill Manors' single"? Get a grip. And if you think I'm going to disrespect my writers in that manner you've got another thing coming. Why not do your own creepy, snide research, you've got all of their names.

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 9:58pm

In reply to John Doran:

Hi, just for your reference, type 'Feminism' into the site's search engine and you'll get: Meryl Trussler on Cupcake Feminism. (A fantastic piece) http://thequietus.com/articles/07962-cupcake-feminism

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 9:59pm

In reply to John Doran:

The fantastic Steph Kretowicz on radical feminism and music in 2013: http://thequietus.com/articles/12375-feminism-music-meltdown-yoko-ono-the-knife

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:01pm

The inimitable Cay McDermott on Naomi Wolf: http://thequietus.com/articles/10179-naomi-wolf-vagina-feminism

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:03pm

In reply to John Doran:

My good friend (can't keep on saying fantastic over and over again, even though it's true) Yasmeen Khan on (cinematic) female revenge thrillers: http://thequietus.com/articles/07770-haywire-steven-soderbergh-review

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:05pm

In reply to John Doran:

Katherine Angel on the female identifying journal of poetry and prose Tender http://thequietus.com/articles/13591-tender-journal-rachael-allen-sophie-collins-katherine-angel-interview

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harriet taylor mill
Nov 14, 2013 10:05pm

In reply to John Doran:

thanks for responding (wasn't actually expecting a response. great service tho). if you have a lot of women writing for the quietus that's great, keep it up.

but i guess from pieces like this, i.e. ones about liberation issues, i expect writers to demonstrate a bit more of a sense of their own position in relation to those forms of oppression and inequality. this guy i don't think even acknowledges that he's a man talking about race&feminism. and alex being a pretty gender neutral name, i bet some of your readers might not have thought that either. but you can't deny that he's actually reproducing power relations and male dominance in music journalism, can you?

maybe you should print loads of stuff by amazing women over the next few months to make up for it. just an idea. idk. have a good night x

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:06pm

Women In Dance Music by Melissa Bradshaw: http://thequietus.com/articles/10201-read-melissa-bradshaw-women-in-dance-music-genre-vs-ism

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:06pm

Rhian Jones on feminism in Britpop: http://thequietus.com/articles/11179-clampdown-pop-culture-wars-extract

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:06pm

Rhian Jones on feminism in Britpop: http://thequietus.com/articles/11179-clampdown-pop-culture-wars-extract

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:09pm

In reply to John Doran:

We always print fantastic pieces by women! (You're making a pretty embarrassing assumption about Alex and race btw.) Here are some more: Hannah Gregory and feminist porn - http://thequietus.com/articles/11096-after-pornified-levitate-the-primate-feminist-porn

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:10pm

Louise Brown on gender politics in contemporary heavy metal: http://thequietus.com/articles/09223-slut-rock-2

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:12pm

In reply to John Doran:

Petra Davis on Riot Grrl (one of many great pieces by PD on this and similar subjects): http://thequietus.com/articles/11245-riot-grrrl-20-years-retrospective

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:14pm

In reply to John Doran:

Obviously, I'm not going to do this all night but if there's something I don't lose sleep about - and I'm a very fretful, light sleeping wretch - it's the amount of feminist or feminist leaning articles we print given that we're a general music magazine! Spend some time dipping into them, I hope you'll enjoy what you read!

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harriet taylor mill
Nov 14, 2013 10:17pm

In reply to John Doran:

hi again,

yeah thanks for these links but i really wasn't asking if the quietus has any women writing for it.

and no offence but getting women to write about cupcakes and feminism isn't really much to do with music (which my original post was about). i've read the article before.

as i said, it's great that you have a lot of women writers. however, i think it would be BETTER and more appropriate and more useful if for very 'prominent' pieces like this one on lily allen, women were the ones leading the discussion. and if, as you said was the case, you simply could not get a woman to write about this, after trying your best, then at least maybe acknowledge that you as a site, or as editors, understand and are committed to the idea that these are discussions which really need to be led by women, and not just white women.

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harriet taylor mill
Nov 14, 2013 10:25pm

In reply to John Doran:

John - I haven't once speculated about the writer or made any assumption about "Alex and race" and I have no idea how he defines. if you were referring to when I said "race&feminism", its because, y'know this article is about RACE AND FEMINISM.

you really don't need to get this defensive and i'm not asking you to "lose sleep over" this. in fact, i hope that you sleep well.

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:26pm

In reply to harriet taylor mill:

Ok, leaving out all the non-music related stuff, here's a link to Rachel Mann's piece on Pussy Riot: http://thequietus.com/articles/09752-pussy-riot-metal-vicar-rachel-mann

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:27pm

Petra Davis speaking to Kim Gordon, feminist icon and musician: http://thequietus.com/articles/13473-body-head-interview-kim-gordon-bill-nace

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:30pm

In reply to John Doran:

More straight forward googling reveals: Hazel Sheffield on Lily Allen and Lady Gaga - http://thequietus.com/articles/03421-lily-allen-s-trainers-lady-gaga-s-willy-the-breaking-of-gender-in-the-00s

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harriet taylor mill
Nov 14, 2013 10:36pm

In reply to John Doran:

John, I honestly really appreciate that you want me to realise that women write for this site. Thank you for that courtesy. But please stop troubling yourself, I am able find these articles if and when I want to read them!

I understand that it might seem like I'm attacking your judgement or something. But please, if you're going to keep replying, respond to my actual point.

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:36pm

In reply to John Doran:

So what I hope I'm demonstrating here is that in the normal run of things we have brilliant journalists (who happen to be women) tackling big stories about feminism and women. HOWEVER, we rely on people to pitch these features to us - we do not assign features to people - that is not how a publication's relationship with a freelancer works. So sometimes the feature will be written by a man. I'm not going to put in a caveat in every feature saying: "Sorry we couldn't get a woman to write this feature today but we acknowldege that it should be a woman and we tried really hard to find one but had to settle for a man". Our track record clearly speaks for itself for everyone who reads the site regularly and who isn't to lazy to use the search function.

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 10:37pm

In reply to John Doran:

"too lazy" - sorry.

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harriet taylor mill
Nov 14, 2013 10:57pm

In reply to John Doran:

John,

Does mildly disagreeing with you really make me "too lazy" to use a search engine? You have done a good job of showing that you have several women writing for your website and you should be very proud of your track record on letting women tackle "big stories about "feminism and women".

Fair enough if you don't really have that much editorial control over the content though.

PS you remind me of my late husband. We used to argue a lot too. He was also called John funnily enough.

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 11:07pm

In reply to harriet taylor mill:

Sorry about your husband. Even if I'm getting the impression you have maybe what can be described as 'nuanced' memories of him. I'm not a big fan of arguing at all though, so thanks for reading and we'll continue to publish as many good female writers as will scribe for us. If you know any (female) writers who would be a benefit to the site, please ask them to email me with a couple of cuts. Cheers. JD

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harriet taylor mill
Nov 14, 2013 11:21pm

In reply to John Doran:

That's a pretty reasonable response to be honest and thanks for actually engaging in a discussion about this.

I used to write a lot actually but for some reason people only ever paid any attention when it was published in my husband's name.

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John Doran
Nov 14, 2013 11:25pm

Well, should you ever feel driven to write some more, please get in touch.

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ALLCAPS EVERYTHING
Nov 15, 2013 2:53am

LORDE IS NOT RACIST!!! THAT FEMINISTING "ARTICLE" IS THE BIGGEST PILE OF POO I HAVE EVER READ!

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Nov 15, 2013 2:04pm

In reply to Alex:

There's nothing racist about Allen or Cyrus. Their only crime is crassness. I really feel sorry for people who search for insignificant things like this to manufacture outrage over.

P.S. John Doran: why in God's name are you so defensive?

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Milk Lizard
Nov 15, 2013 3:32pm

I don't think it was a good idea to link to two articles that make really flimsy, poorly thought-out arguments against those songs. When the comment section of an analysis is more comprehensive than the analysis itself, you haven't written a very good article.
Those articles were very poorly written, and if anything, were more like kneejerk reactions than thoughtful analyses.

Nowadays, I'm wary when reading an article about racism/sexism/homophobia/etc. in music. I know that at any moment it will become no more than your typical Tumblr slacktivist screed.

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John Doran
Nov 15, 2013 4:47pm

In reply to :

Er what? Some claims were made against the site and I demonstrated that they were untrue or at least misguided from my POV. This developed into what I'd call a useful conversation and things were left on good terms. Some other points were made that I've taken on board for future reference. A win win situation I'd say. However I'm not sure this is an example of extreme defensiveness TBH.

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aaron.
Nov 15, 2013 5:52pm

This whole forced-controversy feels extremely tiresome, to be honest. Yet another example of a cultural non-event being whipped up into a petty-bourgeois outrage by a bunch of bored columnists and eager writers hoping to submit their daily 500. The song and video are unremarkable and nothing about this is important or worth much thought-- completely inane.

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the lolx
Nov 15, 2013 8:41pm

7 years ago someone commented on popular internet forum ILM that McPherson would "really like" Lily Allen. He's been overcompensating for that insult ever since.

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GB
Nov 17, 2013 3:34pm

such a sniffy article - typical of someone who is desperate to imbue a sentiment without much/any thought for what the perpetrator was considering when they put it out there

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eilaster
Nov 17, 2013 9:54pm

Eh, there are 2 white dancers in the video.

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Mike
Nov 18, 2013 1:40pm

Are you seriously that clueless?! This is a great satirical piece of work! It has nothing to do with race. The background dancers could be black, white, yellow or green for all it matters! Further, she's not saying dancers are stupid! The point she is trying to make is that men are sexist and there are a number of double standards that are completely out of line. To even make this about race because of black dancers moving in a prerogative manner just makes me think that YOU are a racist. Or just bitter about something lily Allen did to you, and now you are going all 'keyboard warrior' having a pathetic dog at what is a great song and yet another step forward in attempt to break the glass ceiling, Douche!

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John R
Nov 18, 2013 3:14pm

In reply to John Doran:

How strange Harriet Taylor Mill died in 1858, have you goggled her?

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Nov 18, 2013 3:15pm

In reply to John R:

googled even

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Ash
Nov 22, 2013 2:44pm

always been a fan of Lily Allen I just do not like the song, it does not show of her vocal range Lily Allen is a Sprinto Soprano.

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Poppy w-s
Nov 24, 2013 5:22pm

This song is about sexism and is making a point about women being sexualised in the industry not about racism. When does the lyrical content ever refer to black women? I agree it would have been deemed racist is there were only white girls in the video but it was pretty much 50/50, either way theres always going to be someone calling something racist. You're making it racist by saying it in the first place. How don't people understand this message, it's pretty fucking straight forward!

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Lauren Geek-Chic
Nov 25, 2013 3:13am

I completely see all points of view here. For me, I find this video to lack 'meat'; that is to say I feel that whilst Lily Allen has tried to use satire to illustrate her point, she has not actually achieved it fully with this video.
As to the issue of the Black women in this video, I find myself saddened. I am caucasian, and I remember being at a Blue Stocking event once in which an Indigenous Australian woman gave a presentation. The thing that stuck with the most, was when she said that although she is a woman, and faces the struggles that the white women in room face, she is indigenous first. She was trying to make the point that for her, the issue of race and racism was just as intrinsically important, if not more, than that of her gender.
That is what I see here. That there are Black women who as women have been objectified and hyper-sexualised to illustrate a point on women in the media; but as black women the issue of race is of equal or greater importance. Would this same clip offend if it were caucasian women, Asian women, Indigenous women? I think that on all counts it is offensive, but I concede that as Black women were used, they are and can be offended. It perpetuates the stereotype, and does nothing for the empowerment of women, nor Black women in the media and in society in general

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Joe
Nov 28, 2013 11:51am

Just read the article and all the comments. I've come to the conclusion that I have have far too much free time on my hands.

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Adam
Nov 28, 2013 6:39pm

@Joe, same here except now it's all gone. Just one last moment to say I disagree with the article. Just because it was a boring and crass satire doesn't mean it's problematic. She's openly disrespecting the sexism in hip-hop culture, not black people. She didn't imply the dancers had no brain but that they did and could do better than arse-shaking...Which made me wonder what those dancers thought. They weren't hired for their race (one or two were white), they were hired for having spent a lot of time and effort learning to shake their arses. Made me wonder if Lily prepared "Your life after soft-porn" information packs for them.

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John Doran
Nov 29, 2013 9:15am

In reply to John Doran:

Can I stop masturbating now?

Thanks.

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herr james
Nov 30, 2013 5:47pm

ok, by the same logic applied her: is björk considered a racist for doing her vespertine tour backed with a choir from greenland? i mean, she's icelandic, and they were ALL greenlanders! how DARE she!

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Daniel Neofetou
Dec 4, 2013 6:49pm

In reply to herr james:

Ok, I've gotta flag up the ludicrous speciousness of your comment here. That is not the "same logic" whatsoever. The history of Icelandic oppression of Greenland, while existent at s stretch (If I am correct, Iceland colonised Greenland in the 14th & 15th Century), CANNOT be compared to the subjugation and objectification of black people and their bodies which has pervaded Western culture since the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Don't be such a moron.

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herr james
Dec 8, 2013 10:03pm

In reply to Daniel Neofetou:

last time I looked, racism equated to "the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races". which to my moronic ear sounds just like your previous justification that no other forms of perceived prejudice can possibly compare to black versus white. sorry chum, people have been finding mirriad forms to compare, describe & destort other humans. I see your recent history of b vs w in western cultural history and raise you, i dont know: intr-asian ethnic atrocities? as a proud born mongrel of no notable descent or qualification to speak on such elitist matters, I respectfully suggest you try looking through the grey window. it's over here, where the rest of us exist. do hope you can join us. of course, of you really want to stop racism, do feel free to keep compartmentalising people and accept some behaviour (all black backing dancers / racially specific validity of opinion) as 'ok' as long is you're not white. make that change...

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herr james
Dec 8, 2013 10:10pm

In reply to herr james:

dear admin/ moderator, please clear the above post of typos and clean up syntax. the internet, my spellcheck & thumbs are broken. ta

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Michael Evans
Dec 10, 2013 3:06pm

Mmmm. So it's OK for black men to totally degrade women (usually black) in videos, but not ok for a white woman to do the same. Interesting. Remember, only white people can be racist!!

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M Cole
Jan 4, 2014 2:40am

Oh dear. The original article is admittedly specious but some of the comments on here are embarrassing.

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Bill
Jan 6, 2014 7:48pm

Is it possible that Lily Allen is a feminist with different views than some of those expressed here? Is it possible that some women actually enjoy certain aspects of traditional gender roles? Maybe it's just a song, which is trying to bring attention to an incredibly complex issue. Really you can't win these days, as all the haters and nay-sayers online will slam you either way. Lily Allen is not stupid. She knows what she is doing, and can probably do a lot to address social injustice by making buckets of money and donating to charity. I know many women who love this song... maybe they don't want to be jammed into a rabid man-hating box. Maybe they just want to be a bitch. That's their right as a free minded individual. Don't assume that everyone is brainwashed just because they have different opinions than you do.

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Jan 17, 2014 11:24am

This song is so sick the lyrics are disgraceful I do not like this song.

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Apr 2, 2014 1:22pm

In reply to JK:

jk go make a song better then.

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