Fifth Harmony's 'BO$$': Watching music videos with the sound off
Literally the first shot of this video sets you into a state of confusion: are those doctors jackets or blazers? And where are their pants?
The first phrases emblazoned across the screen is "Think Like A Boss... Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do... Find Yourself And Be That." These are in two different fonts: the first phrase is in Impact and the other font and words make me want to buy organic bath stuffs.
So far, the outfits are quite literally binary: white or black. Each seems to lay claim to different choreography schemes with white denoting unity and black meaning individuality. Each require complex arm movements denoting bossness.
Boss means strutting on a catwalk and extreme arm movement. If I didn't know that the most-used phrase in this song was "Michelle Obama," I wouldn't be doing the dog-headtilt thing here.
Holding up signs that look like enlarged Scrabble letters, I am told the quintet is "confident." Now, pretend legs are butterfly wings and that explains what their preceding floor move is.
Confident women air-hump chairs.
Seconds later, they kick those chairs, with heels on. But I thought they liked the chairs?
Boys and girls approach a small table and they don't like each other. There's a fight, or at least some aggressive smack talk. It may be political.
A girl and a guy face off, because this is a battle of the sexes. There's an ingredient in this drink, I wish I knew what it was because it tastes so obvious.
Based on physical strength, everybody here knows she would lose this match. Everybody. If this is a battle for symbolic bossness, then of course she won because that is the name of the song. If this was a battle of the sexes -- and we've established that this is -- can it not end in a draw? Must there always be a superiority and establishment class? I'm alarmed at this symbolic arm wrestling match. Must boss equal female?
Mystery solved: there is a catwalk in this music video because there is a [camera] product placement. The product has its own flash on it, yet we continue to see bursts of those old-timey flash bulbs. I dare to dream it is another symbol in this symbol-rich music video: the old timey camera flashes are the male establishment and the new petite flashes on the [camera] are representative female and because Fifth Harmony were paid to host a brand in the video, they (and by proxy females) are boss, despite the aesthetic advantages of a male flashbulb state.
The women salute a flag that says "Boss / Fifth Harmony," delivering on another unsolved mystery: they are in the military, and more specifically, privates in the sexy nurses branch. They pledge allegiance to themselves.
Returning to the arm wrestling match, we have another face-off. Finding herself immediately outmatched, our female snatches the ballcap from her rival's head and puts it on her head, an assertion of flirtation, sexual dominance, gender reversal and "wiles." Wiles are looked down upon by the male troupe, who deem wiles irresistible and, thus, unjust. She solidifies the victory by using two hands instead of one, a slight breach in traditional arm wrestling etiquette. Considering the pre-established military state of Fifth Harmony, one can only conclude that the tussle between the sexes here is over the female recruit physical requirements for the integration into Marine ground combat units. A hot topic! It is political.
He takes off his shirt, a momentary inverse on the male gaze, her spoils of winning the war.
The [camera] is turned on the male photographers, who are revealed to be the ladies' arm wrestling rivals. Like an explorer photographing a newly exposed native peoples, she reveals she has captured their souls with her flashy boxy thingie.
Since bossness, and superiority in arm strength and arm movement is confirmed, the women now are ready for marriage, which could be the sole and only explanation for their virginal, lace- and satin-dominated floor length white gowns. The camera, the gaze and conservative value is reclaimed. Marital availability becomes an indicator light for bossness. The First Lady iterations become inextricable interwoven with Annie Leibovitz retro.
I can't anymore. This song and its video is playful but pedantic. Fifth Harmony's "BO$$" went on sale yesterday, and will be included on "The X Factor" ensemble's first full-length album, out in the fall.