For this weeks blog post we had to review three videos that are intended to "document" relationships of men and women during their respective times. Leslie Gore's "Its My Party," (early sixties). Fiona Apple's "Criminal" (late nineties). Lil Kim's "How Many Licks" (early two thousands).
All videos had the same general idea that the only relationship that men and women have is based on sex, or so popular culture and the music industry try to tell (sell) us. Leslie Gore sings about her recent heartbreak when her man, Johnny, brings another woman to her party. She feels like a helpless victim and now all she can do is cry. She will not be happy during her birthday celebration; instead she will give Johnny all the power in their relationship. She will allow him to ruin her birthday. This was the role of women during this time period. They allowed men to dictate their relationships, whatever the man wanted..., even another woman.
In contrast Fiona Apple's song criminal makes the female the sexual deviant. She is the devil because she has been careless with a delicate man. Where Leslie Gore sang about her heartbreak, Fiona is singing about "breaking a boy, just because she can." This seems to be a rise to power for women. However, the video is filled with shocking scenes of almost child pornography. I can not really understand how this video connects to the song. The lyrics of the song seem give control to women, but the video makes Fiona a victim. Her innocence was taken- not a man's. This was the nineties women seemed to be struggling with what their role was, are they powerful equals or innocent lesser people.
There is nothing innocent about Lil' Kim. She has based her career on this shock and awe technique. In this video Lil' Kim is meant to be in charge of the relationship, telling the man what to do. She has to be promiscuous and "man-like" talking about all her sexual conquests. The video makes her a caricature, she is "Candy Kim" and "Nightrider Kim", however she seemingly has the control. I think this video is trying to maintain that women have control over men in relationships because we always have the sex carrot. We can always dangle sex in front of them to get what we want. I think this does not empower women and always keeps men and women at different levels instead of giving us equality. How we explain these relationships and power struggles to kids, when this is what pop culture teaches them, is troubling.