I hadn’t heard of Marina and the Diamonds until my friend introduced me to “Primadonna.” Soon afterward I discovered “How to be a Heartbreaker”, and I felt that out of all the pop I’d been listening to lately this catchy second US single off of Electra Heart deserved to be the first I blogged about. Either that or I really just wanted to post a picture of wet, attractive men wearing Speedos.
Time for some social commentary. I’m confident that at least one person watched the music video pictured above and walked away outraged. How dare Marina and the Diamonds objectify men in such a way? What blasphemy could have caused these strapping young lads to subject themselves to such debauchery? Humans aren’t just toys you can toss your hands around, dolls you can seduce and shame whenever the urge strikes!
Don’t worry: I felt the same way. I thought that the men in the music video were being objectified and that it was a shallow message to send. However, a couple of thoughts changed my mind. Like in all music videos in which people shed their clothes – regardless of their sex – the men in “How to be a Heartbreaker” are paid to do so and were not forced into some unjust sex trade. Unlike some other pop songs (cough, Enrique Iglesias’s “Dirty Dancer”), this one doesn’t imply that men are subservient to women or that they are worth more when they are sexualized. Yes, the song is about a girl who goes out to break boys’ hearts, and yes, that girl is a jerk and a player and whatever else you want to call her, but the song itself and its video do not cross the fine line between “sexy” and “sexy to the point of being demeaning.” No, it’s not okay to objectify human beings, but that’s not happening here.
The song itself has a vibrant electropop feel that hooks you into Marina and the Diamond’s guide on how to be a heartbreaker. On my walk home the other day I found myself reciting the rules, starting with rule number one: you gotta have fun. That’s just what this song is – fun. Marina takes the artistic liberty in this video to flaunt her relationships with a variety of virile men, but in the end, she leaves them all behind once the fire fizzles out. Her guidelines could apply to any type of romantic relationship, whether it be a heterosexual or a homosexual one. She simply shows how considerate she is by weaving her methods into song form for the enjoyment of all.
As you can see if you read my older posts I’ve changed my mind about this issue of sex in pop songs. It’s not a topic that has a clear solution and it’s one I would love to address in more detail in a later post. What do you think of the song or the music video? I’m looking forward to listening to more of Marina and the Diamonds – I wonder just how successful she’s going to get!
*Edit, July 10, 2014: Just wanted to say my views on objectification and men have changed since I’ve written this post, and they align more with the author’s views in this post – basically, objectification is not good, and though Marina does it a little more “tastefully” than others, her video still veers into dangerous territory