Music videos: what a pile of shit, eh? Well, not always, obviously but more often than not they’re a cheap set of cliches thrown together for a song that’s not that far off that description and generally rubbish and boring, the only distractions being that someone might be writhing around sexily somewhere in the background.

There’s not a lot I could say about them that hasn’t been said before, particularly in terms of gender politics and yet sometimes, whilst I’m lying prone on my parents’ settee wondering why this time of the morning has to exist and watching 4Music, I’m gripped by an urge to rage and by about 11pm this rage occasionally takes on textual shape and form.

The particular music video cliche or staple or whatever bothering me currently is female violence. I was watching the devilishly attractive video to Taking Back My Love’ by Lovely Enrique and the equally Lovely Ciara and was surprised by how actually physically violent he gets there. Not because I was all ‘noez omgz this is glamourising domestic violence’ because Enrique looks like far too much of a wet cloth for that but because I was surprised there was actually a man trashing shit in a video for once. Not that Ciara doesn’t trash equal or greater quantities but we’ll get back to that later.

Let’s get conspiracy-theory based about this for a second: what if there was this huge, international industry known as “music” and this was largely male-dominated in its upper echelons? What if there was a wave of female artists, often particularly fiercely determined owing to the male-dominated nature of the industry, who gradually evolved a sort of ‘angry girl’ collective persona which subsequently began to personify “strong female” as far as sappy idiots commentating on the industry were concerned? What if these sappy idiots, in collaboration with the upper echelons of the industry itself, then all agreed that what looked strong in females was commiting acts of violence or threatened violence (eg: vase-chucking) against or towards males in music videos because this “showed that they wouldn’t take it lying down?”

Well what a fucking awesome coup that would be, supposing you were some kind of massive chauvinist. Now, I don’t necessarily believe in that conspiracy theory (I think there were some opportunistic females or at least managers who began the ‘women as underdogs in the music industry particularly in guitar music’ myth and that it was a wonderful marketing tool for them that’s useful for other opportunistic females and managers to maintain, for a start) but what is very evident to both myself and (I presume) everyone else is that it is absolutely not ok to glamourise attacking people and their property as “empowering.”

As Nietzsche would have it, it is very empowering. The exertion of your will over stuff and other people; great way to spend an afternoon, I’m sure. The point is, though: why is it ok for Kelly Clarkson to do this and Avril Lavigne to do this and Ciara to throw paint over Enrique’s car and for a thousand other music videos where women hit, shove, slap or taunt men (especially the ones where some poor bloke ends up tied up and beaten, which I can’t remember any of off the top of my head but there definitely are quite a few) when it would absolutely not be ok for it to be the other way around?

Why, of course, that’s female empowerment. Anyway, women hitting men doesn’t count does it because men are big and strong and won’t mind. And you can wreck men’s shit because they have well-paid jobs, unlike women, so can afford to replace it. And you can glamourise all this because …oooh, I don’t know, maybe it sells?

People will say ‘OOH BUT THERE IS APPALLING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN’ and they will be right. Yes, yes there is. I have a degree in that sort of thing, I know this very well. That doesn’t actually make violence against men ok, though; it’s just an assbackwards idea that gratuitous aggression portrayed as insignificant could make you seem more able to stand up to anything. Women committing violence being accepted as “not serious” merely accentuates a perceived gender gap in srs bsns and turns the whole thing into bullshit.

I’m about 5’10” and used to heft books around for a living; if I really punched (as opposed to jokey on-the-arm sort of punches that most friends exchange when someone kills someone else for the 45th time on Halo 3 or whatever) most men I know it would probably hurt them a lot. It would not be at all funny and it would not be at all ok. Equally, it would not be at all funny or at all ok if I was 4’8″ and weighed 5st. It’s just not fucking funny. It’s certainly not empowering to suggest that it is, either.