It’s totally fine to think about boys. And look at boys. Handsome, lovely, sexy boys. It is after all, a natural part of human life to find people attractive. If the people you find attractive happen to be male, pop star Charli XCX has a treat for you.
Her new video for the song Boys is a total flip of the male gaze, so traditionally seen in music videos created by – and often for – men. Directed by Charli herself, we’re treated to a whole host of famous men, taking part in video roles reserved for tiny women in gold bikinis (cc. Sisqo: we did not need another video for Thong Song).
No matter your preference, there is someone for everyone in Boys. There are the emo heartthrobs of my teenage years – Ollie Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon, Brendon Urie from Panic! At The Disco and even Frank Carter. How about actor Riz Ahmed cuddling a pink teddy? Joe Jonas in a monogrammed robe? Mac DeMarco getting it on with a guitar. Stormzy eating cereal. I could go on.
In an interview with Annie Mac on Radio 1, Charli explained how she wanted to “flip the male gaze on its head” and apparently everyone she contacted was up for it.
What resulted is an example of the female gaze, with its pink backdrop and men taking on both traditional and more unusual masculine roles. While Jack Antonoff lifts weights and Joey Badass rides a bike, Tom Grennan is getting on with the washing up and Tinie Tempah is cuddling a puppy.
Charli’s female gaze so much more than just a perv on men – Boys is fun, it’s ridiculous and it knows it.