Lily Allen is a musical artist I have looked up to for a long time. With cheeky, oftentimes controversial, songs like “Smile” and “Fuck You,” she likes to make statements in a sarcastic, funny way. This is what inspired me to use her soundtrack to “Hard Out Here” as the background music for my political remix video. In the song, she points out how hard and hypocritical it is for a woman to break into the media industry and how once they are in, they will constantly be judged. After her first two albums, Lily Allen underwent a lot of backlash after having two children because she had gained “too much” weight when it was something completely natural and men do not have to put up with this type of scrutiny. As a response, she wrote this song with the tagline “Forget your balls and grow a pair of tits, it’s hard out here for a bitch.”
As someone I look up to and think is incredibly beautiful, it was hard for me to understand how unrealistic female beauty standards also applied to women who were already famous. Therefore, I wanted to play with this idea of the picture media paints of what the ideal woman looks like and how no women fit that mold, not even celebrities. I took examples of how media distorts women (i.e. Photoshop, advertisements, etc.) and what type of effect this has on women’s confidence/depiction of themselves. Then I went to find examples of how women who are supposedly “perfect” to these standards still receive hate comments and body shamers. This was anything from Jimmy Kimmel’s famous “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets” videos to Buzzfeed sketches.
The bridge is a really cool part of the song where the voice takes a shift, so I used this as the place the video remix also turns. Since there has been incredible movement behind women in the past few years (probably sparked by some of the sexist comments our current president has made, which do make an appearance in the video as well), I decided to show clips from these uplifting moments. For the final chorus, instead of continuing with examples of how words can be used negatively, I showed a montage of women of all shapes, colors, ages, and sizes being told they are beautiful. This particular social experiment is really powerful because it shows how genuinely happy you can make someone just by giving them a compliment rather than tearing them down. My ultimate goal is to show the strength in pointing out someone’s unique qualities rather than there flaws. There is no one model of female beauty.
In the end, I was able to use the humor of the song and the humor of some of the clips I used to make an incredibly valuable point. The contrast between beautiful, well-known celebrities feeling self conscious and how average women perceive themselves is very strong. It shows that something is wrong with our system, not with us as individuals.
Having never edited video clips before, this was a definite learning process that was frustrating at times. I had to use a free online video editing software since I have a Windows 10 PC (without iMovie or Movie Maker) and the lag time caused it to freeze every few minutes. Therefore, the process was a lot longer than anticipated just to complete tiny edits such as shifting clips around and removing audio. But I am proud of the final product I was able to achieve despite these setbacks and the program did make it relatively easy to cut larger videos into just the segments I needed.
The audience I imagined for this video is young women (so that they feel more empowered in themselves) and people everywhere who have made judgmental comments. While mainly women can relate to these clips and the topics discussed in them, I hope it inspires people of all ages, genders, and walks of life to realize their negative comments have incredible weight.
This was much different from a conventional paper because I was forced to use materials that were not mine in order to convey a message in my voice. I find my work to be typically sarcastic and witty with a self-deprecating twist, which I think I was also able to accomplish in this video. However, it felt limiting but ultimately rewarding to search for the exact clips and moments I envisioned using. Sometimes I would find myself searching for something that did not exist while other times I stumbled upon gems that I never would have thought of. It felt like a very collaborative project even though I was working on my own. I hope to further my video editing skills in the future, but for now, this is a piece I am incredibly proud of.
- Women Not Objects
- Clevver News “13 Sexist Donald Trump Quotes
- Buzzfeed “Do You Fit America’s Ideal Body Standards?”
- Lily Allen “Hard Out Here”
- Jimmy Kimmel “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets #4”
- Jimmy Kimmel “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets #8”
- Jimmy Kimmel “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets #11”
- TIME News Women’s March Recap
- Nicki Minaj “Anaconda”
- Clevver News “10 More Celebs Who Slammed Their Body Shamers”
- The “Perfect” Body
- Dove Choose Beautiful
- Buzzfeed “What It’s Like To Not Love Your Body”
- Boldly “What It Means To Be Pretty”
- Nicki Swift “Celebrities Who Have Been Publicly Fat Shamed”
- Glamour Magazine – “Women React to Being Called Beautiful”