Leslie, Fionna, and Kim: Exploring Females in Pursuit
Leslie Gore, Fionna Apple, and Lil’ Kim all sang about a female who is or was pursuing an experience with a male. Leslie Gore’s song was popular a few years before the sexual revolution was in full swing. Fionna Apple’s and Lil’ Kim’s songs come a cuple decades later. In the mean time, music videos became an important part of selling singles in the music industry. Music Videos have allowed performers to become actors, as Fionna Apple and Lil’ Kim demonstrate.
In Gore’s song, “It’s My Party,” the video seems to be a performance at a dance. Gore is dressed in a suit covering her collarbone, elbows. In her song, the female who is pursuing a male is Judy, the girl who is taking Johnny from poor Leslie Gore. In the video of her singing this song, she does not seem to be taking on the role of the wronged girl while she performs even though the song is written from that point of view.
Fionna Apple’s video for “Criminal” was popular on MTV at the time. I remember thinking that it was controversial because she was very skinny and at various stages of undress through out the very sexual video. In her song and video, it is hard to figure out who all is pursuing who at the beginning. Fionna seems to be having an encounter with multiple partners and has wronged a different male who is not at the event where the video takes place. The lyrics indicate the song is sort of a confessional where she is admitting that problems from this situation are completely her fault. However, the video leaves one feeling that perhaps she was taken advantage of by someone. There are pictures of Fionna in the video that may or may not indicate that she has been exploited. Towards the end, Fionna is singing about trying to make sure her “lover” stays, so she is pursuing the man she has wronged because “he’s all I’ve ever known of love.” Fionna is definitely acting as the protagonist of the song, taking on all of the emotions associated with the story the video is trying to tell.
Lil’ Kim’s “How Many Licks” was released a few years after “Criminal.” In this video, it is arguable that she is pursuing all men who are willing to perform specific deeds that she sings about. The part that puts this song and video into it’s own category is that throughout the video the viewer is watching a factory where anatomically correct life size dolls are being created in the likeness of Lil’ Kim. There are many connotations that she slips in that make the purpose of the dolls difficult to understand. She sings that men should use these dolls to practice, but she also sings that the dolls are very expensive which alludes to prostitution. In fact, there are frames in the video that make it look like the video is a commercial for these dolls. Lil’ Kim is completely taking on the role of the doll that the video is featuring. In real life, she has had so much plastic surgery that her face is remarkably different than from the cover of her first album. She sings and performs this song with confidence, but I am not sure I am buying it.