Why Fergie’s new M.I.L.F.$ video clip is not a win for women.

Video via Vevo

When Fergie dropped the film clip for her latest single ‘M.I.L.F.$’ on July 1, it was quickly heralded by several publications as the moment many women have been waiting for.

The video, which features a star-studded line-up of mums, including Kim Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen, Gemma Ward, Ciara and Alessandra Ambrosio, is set in a Stepford-Wives-esque suburb called MILFville.

But, you guys, don’t be so quick to judge.

Here, MILF stands for Mums I’d Like to Follow, which automatically erases any other implicit meanings that might come with the acronym. Apparently.

Other than the cast, and the excessive presence of milk, the video is overwhelmingly similar to most other clips we’d see from Fergie and similar artists.

There’s a lot of gyrating. There’s not a lot of clothes. Women are sexual objects. Men ogle at them.

You know, the usual.

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But Fergie says, “Changing the acronym to Moms I’d Like To Follow is about empowering women who do it all.”

“They have a career, a family, and still find the time to take care of themselves and feel sexy. With a wink of course :).”

#MILFMONEY on @applemusic (link in bio) Just getting started, video coming sooner than you think…

A photo posted by Fergie (@fergie) on

I see.

Fergie’s sentiment is supported by several prominent voices within women’s media.

According to Daily Life, “the clip takes a stand against breastfeeding stigmas (Teigen’s shown breastfeeding her daughter Luna with a badass “Got a problem?” stare), and flips two fingers at society’s insistence that older women – and especially mums – can’t be sexy.”

According to Mic, Fergie’s video has several moments which “push back against breastfeeding stigma, slut-shaming and the misogyny that women experience every day in American culture.”

Nine.com.au said the video is “an ode to model mums.”

Okay, pause.

Do model mums really need an ode? We’re talking about women who have more power, wealth, and influence than a substantial part of the world’s population put together.

But obviously, that’s not my biggest grievance with Fergie’s M.I.L.F.$ video.

Ultimately, I just can’t believe that in 2016, the threshold for what makes something ’empowering’ is so embarrassingly low that a group of women, who happen to be mothers, but who also happen to be remarkably non-representative of the wider population, sexually dancing around to completely banal lyrics is apparently something to be celebrated.

I refuse to feel ’empowered’ by this.

You're bathing in milk. Congratulations. Image via Vevo.

From watching the video, the only moment ambiguous enough to perhaps resemble something that 'challenges misogyny', is when Chrissy Teigen, after being ogled at by the milkman (*shudders*), responds with this facial expression:

Chrissy Teigen's very powerful facial expression. Image via Vevo.

I guess she's... dissatisfied? But is that... it? Is that all we get?

As women who are angry and frustrated by the contradictory expectations placed upon us as mothers, who only a generation ago weren't granted maternity leave, who continue to be outwardly criticised for breastfeeding in public, is this meant to be the moment we've been waiting for?

To me, that's not enough.

If Fergie is trying to take back ownership of the term M.I.L.F., her video drastically fails.

Because the imagery is entirely consistent with the (disgusting) concept of  'mums I'd like to f**k.'

'You have boobies. They make milk.' Image via Vevo.
Self-objectification. Sah feminist. Image via Vevo.
kylie jenner 2016
Bathing in milk. Because milk exists so that men can find it sexy. Image via Vevo.

Isn't it?

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought that normalising breastfeeding was all about reminding men (and women) that breastfeeding isn't a sexual act, but one to simply feed another human.

But in this video, Fergie literally bathes in milk. Kim Kardashian stares seductively at the camera while milk is showered over her. And the milkman thinks these women are so sexy he can barely function.

This isn't the first time I've found it difficult to find myself empowered by an apparently 'empowering' pop culture moment.

I wasn't empowered when Kim Kardashian took a naked selfie either.

As a 25-year-old woman, I expect more. I want more. And I think as a culture, we're capable of more.

If there's a point to be made on the stigma around breastfeeding, why can't it be made clearly, and cleverly, and thoughtfully?

Why does it have to be hidden (if it's there at all) in several layers of sexual objectification?

To me, this video isn't a win for women. It's a loss.

It's evidence that the bar has been set so low, that apparently even a slight, misguided effort to make a pseudo-feminist point is worth celebrating.

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