Missy Elliot-she’s a bitch
This Missy Elliot song is a performance based video, which interestingly contains no males. The video begins with Missy Elliot’s name in large print in a dark grey colour. The size of the text connotes Missy Elliots massive fame at the time of the making of the video, this helps attract people to keep watching the video as this a big Hip Hop stars song. Then the title of the song appears, this can be read in two different ways. One being the feminist approach would say that “she’s a bitch” is demeaning to the female gender and therefore representing the female gender negatively. The other way in which the “she’s a bitch” text can be read is the Post feminist approach. Post-feminists would say that the text is being used to self empower Missy Elliot.
Next we cut to a long shot of Missy Elliot from a low angle walking towards the camera. This represents her as a strong female; her long black leather coat is very masculine like and adds to the impression of missy Elliot being a strong female. She can hardly be seen because of the dark lighting making the video seem dark and gothic like. This subverts the Hip Hop genre as most of the Hip hop videos do not try to go for a dark and gothic effect. This shows that Missy Elliot is trying to be different and unique in a music genre which is very conventional. There is a brief cut to a room with different blue lights flashing, in which Missy Elliot is in the centre. These effects show that this is an expensive music video and that Missy Elliot is a big artist in the Hip Hop genre which is predominantly made up of male artists. This Post feminist would argue shows the amounts that female have come forward in recent years. Missy Elliot’s clothing is unconventional for a female artist for many reasons, first of all because it is not revealing and demeaning towards the female gender which is stereotypically seen in the Hip hop genre. This shows how Missy Elliot is not relying in her looks but talent.
There is then a cut to another shot which shows missy Elliot more clearly but from a side angle. We can see that Missy Elliot is wearing a mask making her appear bold and concealing half her face. This further reinforces the fact that she is not relying on her looks and trying to represent females in a different way, there is also a hint of humour in her costume which may amuse some. We then cut to a high angle shot where Missy Elliot begins rapping, the fact that she is rapping is unusual as there are not many female rappers who attract mainstream audiences. The high angle shot represents Missy Elliot differently to how she was represented previously in the music video, as in this shot she looks more vulnerable. The movements she is making with her hands are similar to that of male rappers, these hand movements are very unfeminine and portray Missy Elliot as a “tomboy”. We then see Missy Elliot walking in a male like manner which can again be compared to how male rappers walk in Hip Hop music videos. This may be her way of showing that female artists do not have to be constricted in how they behave in music videos.
We next cut to a shot of her in a sports car travelling at high speeds, fast cars are normally associated with males so this prop may be used to show that Missy Elliot’s is a bit masculine like. Also the fact that she is driving at high speeds in car may give the impression that she is daring and adventurous as an artist. There is then a cut to Missy Elliot and background dancers who are all female, the dancers are wearing provocative clothing except for Missy Elliot who is not revealing her body. Missy Elliot is dancing in the same way as the others possibly to show that you not have to reveal your body when dancing in a Hip Hop video. This represents Missy Elliot in a positive way which is not very common for a female in Hip Hop music videos. Missy Elliot also uses make up in her video to make herself look less attractive, possibly to show she does not care as much about her looks as other female artist. She is not trying to attract male audiences with her looks but her talent, which most would say is a good message to pass to younger audiences.
The next scene shows Missy Elliot emerging from water with her back up dancers on large “M” platform. This was done with special effects and makes the music video look fancier; it also shows how expensive the music video is. The heavy costs of the music video signify how big Missy Elliot is in the Hip Hop and music industry, it can therefore be said that she is a role model to many females. In the water dancing scene, there is a birds eyeview shot of Missy Elliot and the back up dancers on the “M” sign. The large “M” may signify Missy Elliots fame and success as a female rapper, throughout the video and in this scene dark lighting is used this connotes darkness and sadness of Missy Elliot whilist making this song, this sadness is probably caused by her critics. Although Missy Elliot is not as slim and fit as the other dancers in this scene she still dances and keeps up with them, showing that you do not have to look a certain way to dance in a Hip Hop video. The video ends with a close up of Missy Elliot sticking her tongue out and trying to reinforce that this video is not her being serious but creative.
Overall, i would say that this video portrays Missy Elliot in a positive way through the messages she is trying to send to the mainstream audiences. It may also be pleasing to some fans of Hip Hop music that a female artist is trying to be different and add another dimension to the Hip Hop genre which is very conventional. It is also interesting to see that there are no males in this video, which may have been done to self empower Missy Elliot and the female gender. There is positive representations of the female gender in this music video except for in one scene which feminist would argue the female back up dancers are revealing too much of their body. The music video subverts and does not rely on stereotypes, for example Missy Elliots walking, clothing and props (e.g. fast car).