Bitch in business

Posted at 10:33 on 29 Dec 2014 by Pandora Blake

Tags: Body positivity, F-M, Female gaze, feminist remake, Gender politics, male submission, media, parody, pop music, Videos

Three Columbia Business School students have made a kick-ass feminist parody of Meghan Trainor's catchy hit "All About That Bass" (which I love, by the way). The feminist remake takes the pro-curves, body-positive message of the original and raises it with a message about intellectual and financial equality.

It's a hard-hitting topic, but the lyrics tackle it with playful humour. Bitch in Business is relatable and on-point. I think my favourite line is "a piss is the only thing that I'll take sitting down".

Not only that, but the video is surprisingly kinky. A woman cracking a whip to the lyric "I'm a tiger in the sack", a paddle that says "bitch" on it, a house husband doing the ironing in a gimp mask, male dancers shaking their booty and a woman giving a guy an actual smack on the arse at 1:47. I love it.

It's not perfect. The stereotype that a bitch in the boardroom is also a bitch in the bedroom is a tired one, and I don't love the way this parody associates material success with sexual dominance. Being dominant in bed isn't about being richer or more successful - anyone can be sexually dominant or submissive, regardless of their career position or wealth. I would have also liked to see more body diversity. The original is all about taking pride in your size, but all three of the women here are thinner than Trainor. Two white women and one Asian - now a black woman taking centre stage, that would have been radical. But I'm being picky. To get its message across, parody always leans on shallow tropes, and it's pretty common for satire to subvert one stereotype while propping up others.

What I like about this video is the emphasis throughout on the female erotic gaze. Muscled bare-armed men washing cars, twerking and wrestling for the entertainment of the women looking on - that's something we could see a lot more of in mainstream music videos.

Despite rolling my eyes at the somewhat lazy use of the "bitchy boss" domme stereotype, it is good to see a portrayal of women being sexually dominant for their own pleasure. The 'dominatrix' trope is usually about a woman worker fulfilling a male fantasy, not her own desires. There's no doubt here that the bitches in business get their kicks from being in charge - in the bedroom and out of it.

And I'll always be happy to see "kinky" equated with "successful". There is still far too much stigma against kinky sexualities, and feminism in particular often struggles to accept that kinky sex can be progressive. So thank you, bitches in business - for the feminist message, the half-naked men, the inclusion of kink in a feminist manifesto, and the sexy, positive portrayal of female dominance and male submission.

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