Lily Allen’s new single, Hard Out Here, arrived this week just in time to stem the flow of Miley Cyrus think-pieces – and it was a breath of fresh air following the constant stream of online chatter about women and girls doing silly things to get attention.
Allen’s song and its accompanying video are cheeky and a little irreverent, smacking down crotch-grabbing, objectifying male artists and aiming low blows at Robin Thicke’s Rohypnol-fueled rape anthem Blurred Lines.
Since its release, Allen has found herself in the middle of a race scandal centred on her back-up dancers. Sites such as Jezebel called her out for featuring a crew of non-white women twerking – seemingly reinforcing the stereotypes the song is so keen to break down.
Allen’s response that the video was meant to be light-hearted satire is a poor defence – “satire” is not a catch-all term transforming the offensive into the palatable.
She then went on to say that she did not wear a bikini (as her dancers did) in the video as she has “chronic cellulite, which nobody wants to see.”
Perhaps the video’s message would have been more meaningful had she proudly shown it off, rather than subject herself to music industry standards that gloss over imperfections with Photoshop.
It certainly would have been encouraging for every stippled, stretch-marked lady out there if Allen had thrown on a two-piece anyway.
Hard Out Here is well-intentioned, if a little heavy-handed in its message. It is ultimately a pop song with some questionable creative choices, but Allen’s heart was in the right place.
Aicha Marhfour is a freelance journalist.