“J.Lo’s ‘I Luh Ya Papi’ Video Attempts to Tear Down Sexism” according to a recent Huffington Post article. Also in recent feminist news this month —Women’s History Month — Beyonce appeared in Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s Ban Bossy campaign video.
Now, I’m a JLover. I strongly believe Jennifer is Queen and is better than all your faves. Perhaps with the exception of Beyoncé. Beyoncé is King. (Yes, King. Because #feminism.) But “I Luh Ya Papi” does little to nothing to tear down sexism. Even the Bronx beauty tried to tone down HuffPo-like expectations during an interview with San Francisco’s 99.7 NOW.
“I just wanted [men] to see what it feels like,” Jennifer explained, “I wasn’t trying to have some big political conversation about it, but I am trying to say, ‘Think about what you do.’”
“Luh Ya” merely highlights what we already know to be the norm in music videos: men are pimps and bosses, while women are hos and bitches. But for once, the boss parading around hyper-sexualized beings was a female. Her bitches were men.
Similarly, King Bey doesn’t want a women who firmly stands up for what she believes in to be labeled “bossy,” for when men do so, they’re referred to as a “boss.”
I don’t want to make it sound like Jennifer and Beyoncé’s efforts to highlight sexism are unimportant. Their work is, in fact, needed to keep us all in check. It helps keep the issue top of mind.
Thanks to Bey and Jenn, we’ve gotten a few more “sexism exists” reminders since President Obama explained income disparities between genders at January’s State of the Union address. From Barry’s own mouth: “A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. … It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode.”
Or since Bey’s empowering “***Flawless” record, featuring Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which dropped late last year. “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller,” the writer starts, before detailing the message women are burdened with. “You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you will threaten the man.”
Or since way back in June of 2012 when, in the most epic feminist moment in recent pop history, Nicki Minaj defended herself against “what a bitch!” commentary during her MTV special, “My Time Now.”
Remember this? “When I am assertive, I’m a bitch. When a man is assertive, he’s a boss. He bossed up. No negative connotation behind ‘bossed up.’ But lots of negative connotation behind being a bitch. Donald Trump can say, ‘You’re fired.’ Let Martha Stewart run her company the same way and be the same way. [People will say] ‘F**king old evil bitch!’ But Donald Trump, he gets to hang out with young bitches and have 50 different wives and just be cool.”
See, the reason sexism still exists is because after watching “I Luh Ya Papi” over and over (overall, it has more than 10 million views since premiering a week ago!), listening to “***Flawless” on repeat, and sharing Nicki Minaj’s speech on Tumblr for months, we (myself included until this post) have done very little to do something about it.
Here’s a few more visuals on why we all need to get up and put all this he’s-a-boss-she’s-a-bitch nonsense behind us once and for all.
+ Women and men pitched the same exact business ideas. This is the response they got. (Source)
+ For every dollar men earn, women earn 77 cents. Women of color earn much less: 69 cents for black women, and 57 cents for Latinas. (Source)
+ Women make up 47% of the workforce, but a whopping 76% of the low-wage workforce. (Source)
Until we value women, their opinions and their work equally, don’t expect a single music video to “tear down sexism.” So, before Women’s History Month comes to an end or yet another pop star reminds you that only men are bosses and other silly and unfortunate societal norms, take the first step to finally stand up to sexism by taking action below.
Photos: Policy Mic, Getty.
Make Equal Pay Happen
Urge President Obama to take additional action to help close the wage gap now!
Fight For Fair Pay
Help empower women and make change by taking steps to fight for fair pay!