If you ignore the endless product placement. If you look past the extreme sexualization (or interpret it as empowering). If you pay attention to Fergie’s words, her inflection, you’ll see what I mean.
3 weeks ago, Fergie released the music video for her song “M.I.L.F. $.” Surrounded by countless celebrity mothers (Chrissy Teigen, Kim Kardashian, Ciara, and a dozen others), Fergie appears to celebrate her status as a milf. If you are not familiar with the term, I would normally recommend looking it up on Urban Dictionary, but apparently this particular term has already earned its place in the Oxford English Dictionary. It stands for “mother I’d like to fornicate with,” but as you can imagine, that is not the intended f-word. All of these celebrity moms come together and embody everything stereotypically sexy about mothers. They shower in milk, reprimand the neighborhood boys, serve milkshakes, and Fergie even appears as the strict school teacher.
In a statement, Fergie explained at least one of the intentions behind the song: “Changing the acronym to Moms I’d Like To Follow is about empowering women who do it all. They have a career, a family, and still find the time to take care of themselves and feel sexy. With a wink of course :).”
Ok, the thing is, I really don’t know how to feel about this music video. Yes, if you take just one look around this blog, I obviously feel very strongly about people feeling sexy on their own terms. But Fergie’s wink is the thing that makes me pause. Who actually benefits from the revealing clothing and provocative poses in the music video? I know that shouldn’t matter, but I’m having a hard time forgetting all of the people who watch the video to objectify the women in the video. Yes, Fergie claims her own sexuality, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t add to the video’s over 59 million views. Not to mention the fact that the video was directed by Colin Tilley, a man.
But the thing is, I can’t get the song out of my head. There’s something completely captivating about it, starting with the first shot of Chrissy Teigen glaring at the milkman for leering at her while she breastfed, an issue that is shockingly still being debated. Then, plus-size model Tara Lynn made an appearance. Moments like these, including an intense moment 2 minutes into the video, make me the song is more than what it seems.
The showering in milk may have been for the objectifying audience, but this rant at the 2 minute mark feels like a protest to me. The song goes:
I’ve been whippin’ this up
I’ve been tippin’ this cup
I’ve been waiting my turn
I’ve been working so hard
Got my spirit turnt up and I can’t stop now
I’ve been running so long
Man, I did it, don’t forget it, motherfucker I’m ill
This, this, is the moment when everything else melted away. All of the tight clothing and “sexy” milk became secondary. The song isn’t just a parody with the chalkboard about nutrition, and it isn’t for the leering masses. It’s calling out all of the ridiculous standards women are held to, especially mothers. Women have to be accomplished, nurturing, beautiful, dutiful, and above all, sexy. Why else would the video have Fergie arching her back one moment and then practically yelling, “I’ll feed you this meal,” the next?
Forget the video. Forget the products and any of the celebrities you feel strongly about one way or another. Just listen to the words. I think there’s something there.
Another warning, the video is definitely nsfw.