Pop Music in Millennial Pink
The Female Gaze, 2018
An essay for feminist zine 'The Female Gaze' on the influx of pink, literally and metaphorically, in music videos.
'While Charli XCX foregrounds men as sexual objects, Janelle Monae’s video for ‘PYNK’ is an ode to vulvas, but from a firmly female standpoint. The lyrics could be sung by a pervy rockstar:
‘Pink like the inside of your, baby
Pink behind all of the doors, crazy
Pink like the tongue that goes down, maybe
Pink like the paradise found
Pink when you're blushing inside, baby’
But this rhapsody in pink keeps its feminist credentials by showing us a pink-washed world of women and yonic symbols. There are suggestive grapefruits, doughnut holes being fondled and furry pussies (in every sense). Janelle’s tribe of badass women even wear giant vulva patterned trousers or, what should surely be called fanny-flap-flares. Actress Tessa Thompson has her head lady-sandwiched between Janelle’s thighs. The overt, even comical, vulva references make for a video that includes the audience in its celebration of lady parts. It isn’t an outside, objectifying eye, but an inclusive one that is from and for a female perspective. There are pants with feminist slogans on them (‘great cosmic mother’ and ‘I bite back’), as well as a healthy dose of side pube. The lyric ‘Pink like your fingers in my…’ is followed by a sea of middle fingers raised. The protest message throughout the video is clear: this pussy bites back.'