Seven years ago, Pink released "Stupid Girls," a feminist pop anthem that blasted vapid female stereotypes in the media. But sadly, that song and its accompanying vicious video didn't kickstart a trend. One look at the current pop scene — Miley Cyrus's not-safe-for-Disney makeover, Robin Thicke's soft-porn epic "Blurred Lines," Rihanna's X-rated Instagram, Lady Gaga's teensy seashell thong — makes this abundantly, depressingly obvious.
Thank the pop gods for Lily Allen, then. Her just-released single is the new "Stupid Girls," and it truly is the wittiest, realest, most girl-powered pop song to come out in years. And it clearly could not have come at a more crucial time.
Lily, a British songstress known for her smarts and snark (her first hit, "Smile," was a withering missive to a bad boyfriend) and unwillingness to bow to societal pressure to be a size 0, hasn't released an album since 2009. During her hiatus, she got married and gave birth to two daughters, and she's now returning to a music scene that seems unfriendlier to self-respecting female artists than ever before. And in her typical fearless fashion, Lily has a lot to say about this.
The NSFW but utterly awesome video for "Hard Out Here" begins with the not-so-triumphantly returning Lily undergoing extreme lipo straight out of an episode of "The Swan." Her evil music manager orders a team of plastic surgeons to get his comeback client in "fighting fit" shape. "How does someone let themselves get like this? It's terrifying," he barks, disgusted, as he surveys Lily's imperfectly fleshy form. "Um, I had two babies," Lily protests sensibly while lying on her gurney, as she simultaneously watches a racy hip-hop music video screening in the operating room and globules of her own suctioned fat splattering inside a bedside hospital canister.
Lily goes on to skewer current sex-selling music videos (including a shocking balloon lampoon of a certain scene from the aforementioned "Blurred Lines"), as she attempts to take lessons in twerking and suggestive-banana-gobbling from her manager and cavorts awkwardly with a bevy of champagne-swilling, e-cigarette-smoking, nearly-nekkid booty dancers.
While the satirical visuals of the "Hard Out Here" video convey a strong message on their own, it's important to listen to what Lily is singing as well. The very first lines of the song are: "I suppose I should tell you / What this b---h is thinking / You find me in the studio / And not in the kitchen / I won't be bragging about my cars / Or talking about my chains / Don't need to shave my a-- for you / 'Cause I've got a brain."
Go Lily! But there's more where that came from. Another particularly resonant segment: "If you're not a size 6 / And you're not good-looking / Well, you better be rich / Or be real good at cooking / You should probably lose some weight / 'Cause we can't see your bones / You should probably fix your face / Or you'll end up on your own."
By the time Lily semi-rhetorically coos, "Don't you want to have somebody who objectifies you?" — well, hopefully many impressionable young girls out there, and maybe even Miley and RiRi, will be paying attention.