Depictions of Love: Call Me Maybe

The video I made about polyamory should be coming up soon, if it ever uploads, so I figure this is a good time to start a series about love and romance. Now, my internet is terrible and wordpress is misbehaving, so I’m going to do my best to keep a series of posts going, but they probably won’t be as frequent and I don’t know how many I’ll be able to get done before things go badly again.

That said, let’s delve into the music video for Call Me Maybe (disclaimer: most of this analysis came from a facebook coversation I had a few months ago, so it’s not exactly new creation, but work with me)

What do we see? A music video in which the guy is objectified and the girl isn’t, but in a much less problematic way than the reverse usually is. A depiction of teenage crushes which is fun, silly and realistic. Every main character in the video having agency. Women having sexuality. Awesome!

Let’s break it down. Carly, the female main character, has a crush. And oh boy what a crush! She doesn’t measure her ring size or start imagining a life together, she fans herself looking at how ridiculously hot he is while fantasizing about the two of them being in a steamy bodice-ripping novel together. She clearly has a sexuality, but she also manages to be silly at the same time, talking about how she already misses him despite having just met him, acknowledging how ‘crazy’ her crush is, and jumping up and down in a fantastic parody of the classic sexy car-washing scene. When she hits her head and he helps her up, their shared laughter is a beautiful depiction of the fundamental and wonderful ridiculousness of initial crushes, where everything is fantasy and reality hasn’t hit yet. Furthermore, the entire song is about her making the first move by giving a boy she likes her number and asking him to call her.

But it’s not just a reversal, where she objectifies him and that’s awful to men. He has a personality, too, thinking she’s kind of ridiculous, but indulging her all the same, and then having his own agency when he goes to ask out the band boy. No one is simply desirable and objectified. Everyone is put in the position of being overwhelmed by emotion and acting goofier than usual as a result, and the music video portrays that as if there’s nothing at all the matter with it. Women don’t have to be perfect sex objects. Men don’t have to be suave and debonair. People can just crush out on each other, be hot for each other, and yeah, be kind of silly while doing it. And sometimes the person you like likes you back, and sometimes they don’t. The worst that could happen is a little disappointment.

This has been Post the Fourteenth of Blogathon


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