Arguing with Myself About Jennifer Lopez and her "Booty" Video
Jennifer Lopez apparently watched Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” and immediately raced into the studio while on the phone with a music video director demanding that she get her own version because she is the ORIGINAL big booty pop princess, dammit!
And she got exactly that and here it is:
And while Minaj’s version at least has the feel of a knowing wink about it, this new video from Lopez seems deadly serious which makes me MORE uncomfortable than anything else about it. Nicki Minaj seems to be acknowledged as a pretty solid rapper who has simply chosen to sell herself (and her booty) through ridiculous pop music because she is making buckets of money doing it. I can’t fault her there, and her verse on “Monster” is all I need to remind me that she’s got the chops when she wants them. Lopez, though, appears to be grasping at the remains of a career that centered largely around her appearance, so when I first winced my way through the above video I thought “well, she kind of built a career on that butt so this is a natural outcome.”
And then I stopped myself and realized how ridiculous that statement was.
While Lopez undoubtedly traded on her looks in the course of her career, it’s also been made clear time and time again that this practice is explicitly pushed to young female performers, generally by older male executives and managers. And when you’re young and hot, it probably seems like a great idea. And then you get a bit older and have to “maintain your image” and maybe you stop once or twice and wonder why Justin Timberlake doesn’t have to do shirtless, oiled up photo shoots anymore, but you go along with it because it’s your “image” after all and it’s dangerous to change that. Or so they tell you. And you see what happens to women who stray outside their assigned “look” like Christina Aguilera being ridiculed for her weight gain, or the cruel things people say about Britney Spears now that she can’t writhe around like she did when she was 19. And then one day you’re Jennifer Lopez trying to keep a career going and some asshole blogger dismisses your latest video as “well, she’s always made a living off her looks” as though the multiple albums you’ve recorded, movies you’ve starred in, and tours you’ve gone on have been only about being pretty and having a shapely posterior.
No one who works that hard, no matter if you appreciate their work or not, deserves to be dismissed as just a pretty face. If this is what Jennifer Lopez wants to do with her career right now, then I wish her the best of luck. She looks great, and it seems like she’s been working on her music pretty consistently.
Also, right now, Fergie is somewhere trying to figure out how the hell she was nine years early on the booty song trend.