British singer-songwriter Jessica Cornish most commonly known as Jessie J released an album entitled “Who You Are” year 2010 with songs that speak principally about equality and the importance of identity. Her songs support the idea that going through various challenges is part of one’s life and that there is nothing wrong with “not being okay”. The collective message of the album also says that as humans we ought not to be perfect but we must show the world we can surpass anything alongside with staying positive and “staying true to oneself”. Jessie J, in most of the music videos from the album, exhibited herself as a strong and unbreakable woman who can conquer any kind of situation she might encounter. This is particularly manifested and emphasized in her song entitled, “Do It Like a Dude”, which also touched the theories of feminism and deconstruction.
Dude is a reference to a man or a guy. The title itself strongly suggests that Jessie J as a woman tells her audience that they should act and do things like a “dude” or a guy. The music video starts with a swag face of Jessie wearing a dark eyeliner and black lipstick with spikes. This portrayal of a woman is definitely a deconstruction of the usual tamed, pastel-dressed, light-faced woman. The video continues with trimmed scenes of a woman painting a tattoo to another, a woman slicing a pig’s trotter, another woman experimenting chemicals and another licking a poison bottle. The song starts off with hip hop beats and rock riffs. It gives the impression of a swag-packed performance which happened to be portrayed by ladies instead of guys. Jessie J comes out in a fitted orange mini and starts dancing in edgy moves. The songs starts, “Stomp, stomp, I’ve arrived / Drop the beat, nasty face, why ya lookin’ at me? / Flyin’, flyin’, flyin’, flyin’ through the sky / In my spaceship, I’m an alien tonight”. These lines were evidently from the language of men because it demonstrates authority and control over someone or something. The video progresses with images of women showing of that they are masculine and they can “do it like a dude”. These include manly but sexy dance moves, hardness and edginess in a dance movement from a slow but hippy beat, presence of tattoos and man items such as “bling-blings”, silver piercings, wide and silver-studded belts, and also oversized clothes. The choreography of the dancers who portray themselves like manly-women also mimics sexual actions and front themselves seductively. In application to theory, Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” argues that women can only be visible through their relation to men. In this music video, it is very evident that women are trying to imitate the movement of the men and the way they present themselves is an attempt to show the audience that women can equate themselves to the position which men occupy. Jessie J’s mimicking of sexual actions also verifies Woolf’s notion of androgyny which does not only subscribe to a single-sexed mind. It proves that women, even in their attempt to align themselves with men by demonstrating strength and a make-believe authority, must still exhibit that they are women by nature – temptresses, seductresses and as sad as it is, “objects of sexual pleasure” specially made for men.
The video goes on with the chorus, “I can do it like a brother / do it like a dude
Grab my crotch / wear my hat low like you”. Again, it gives a reference to another male role which is the brother. Crotch grabbing is also usually a masculine act. Jessie J attempts again to look manly to her audience without losing the woman in her. At a very little time, some clips of men watching the women dance are shown. It is angled as if the men were judging the moves of the women whether it is acceptable to their standards or not. It is followed by Jessie J and the dancers’ judgment of a bald woman showing off her dance skills mixed with a few martial arts movements. Woolf mentions an excerpt, “For Alan had views and Phoebe was quenched in the flood of his views.” This strongly proposes that women cannot escape from the concept of the “male gaze”. A woman looks at herself from the perspective of man and conducts herself in a way that will please a man. The judgment of Jessie J and the dancers was powerfully influenced by the men’s judgment because there is a characterization made that women are weak, domestic, submissive, and uncomplaining. The women in the video deconstructed this characterization and portrayed themselves to be like “dudes”.
Jessie J says in one of her interviews regarding the song that she wanted to make something empowering for girls but not kind of “I hate men” song because she does not hate men and neither does she say it in the song. “It’s about feeling hardcore”, she states. Truly it is very evident that Jessie J herself concludes that the only way to empower women is to set aside femininity make themselves parallel to the capacity of men.
“Jessie J – Do It Like A Dude (Explicit).” YouTube. JessieJVEVO, 8 Nov. 2010. Web. 5 Sept. 2013.
“Jessie J – Do It Like A Dude Lyrics | MetroLyrics.” Song Lyrics | MetroLyrics. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Sept. 2013.
Leitch, Vincent B. “Virginia Woolf.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: Norton, 2001. 1017 – 1029. Print.
“PrideSource – Just Jessie.” Pridesource. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Sept. 2013.