Girls Chasing Boys Chasing Girls

Ingrid Michaelson’s “Girls Chase Boys” is a tribute to Roger Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible.”

A tribute. And a commentary on changing times.

When I first saw “Simply Irresistible” years ago, it seemed pretty natural and normal. But after seeing Michaelson’s gender bending switch — and thu more feminist eyes — I see so much more.

In “Simply Irresistible” the girls are dolled up to passively attract.

simply irr-dance

In “Girls Chase Boys” it’s the guys:

simply irr-dance guys

Who is center stage and in control, and who is backdrop decoration?

Robert Palmer + decoration

Robert Palmer + decoration

Ingrid Michaelson + decoration

Ingrid Michaelson + decoration

These center-stage folks needn’t doll themselves up so much because they are empowered to actively pursue. Girls now chase boys.

But in this gender switch, Ingrid is still more sexually presented than Robert had been. And she’s got sexy boys and girls in the background. But then, the lyrics aren’t an about-face so much as egalitarian: “girls chase boys chase girls.” If everyone is free to chase, then everyone is free to attract, too.

Now, to our acculturated eyes, the fancied-up guys may repel more than attract. But maybe they just need the right makeup. (And make-up’s not the only way to attract!) But check out these pretty rock stars: Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran:

Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran

Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran

And Bret Michaels from Poison:

Bret Michaels of Poison

Bret Michaels of Poison

Here’s Ingrid Michaelson’s “Girls Chase Boys”:

Thanks to my student, Amy, for sending the video to me.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
Flip Gender, Flip Ways of Seeing
Men Don’t Feel Sexy–and It Sucks
Do Women See Sexy Men As Sexy?

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on March 26, 2014, in feminism, gender, objectification, psychology, women and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Great post, the title grabbed my attention! Thanks for the video link also, love a man in drag lol 😉 x

  2. We were just watching this video the other day, and some others with gender-bending (for a summary term) images and themes, discussing which were authentically challenging gender roles and stereotypes, and which were reinforcing hetero/homosexual stereotypes. We liked this one. 😉

  3. Is Ingrid still more sexualized simply because she is a woman? I can see that she is exposing cleavage, but she seems to try to appear androgynous by wearing the dress suit.

    I suppose in society today, women are more encouraged to make the move. In the past, it made women seem desperate and unwanted if they had to go and pursue the guys. I remember being in middle school, the dudes didn’t want to dance with me! I always asked boys to dance (hahaha!), because hey, I wanted some action! I’d get some rejects, but for the most part, I got dances with guys. Girls were SUPER SHOCKED to find out that I had to go and ask guys, because they’re so used to being asked. I told them, in consolation for my actions, that if I do the asking, I get to be in control of choosing the cutest guy!

    • I don’t think she is more sexualized only because she is a woman. She chose to wear an outfit that showed off her cleavage, and it seems to push her boobs up.

      • Well indeed she is more sexualized because she is a woman. She can show off her cleavage and push her boobs up simply because she is a woman. A man couldn’t do such a thing, anatomically speaking.

        @Bonita
        “I told them, in consolation for my actions, that if I do the asking, I get to be in control of choosing the cutest guy!”

        This reply is the most logical and sane explanation that can be given on why women should be more active on approaching men. But society, men and women don’t like using logic. They prefer thinking with stereotypes – in that case “women shouldn’t pursue men”.
        So these girls that were SUPER SHOCKED prefer sitting around and settle with one of the guys that approached them?
        it doesn’t matter if those guys could be jerks, or players or simply “uncompatible” with the girls, the girls have to choose only one of those guys and not one of they guys that they would prefer.
        Imagine that you couldn’t choose your profession, or your friends, or what to eat, wear, etc. and you had to settle with whatever occupation, friends, food, clothes, etc. you were offered?

      • Re “Well indeed she is more sexualized because she is a woman. She can show off her cleavage and push her boobs up simply because she is a woman.”

        She didn’t have to wear a wonder bra and low-cut. She could have worn something different, but chose to go the more sexualizing way.

        A man couldn’t make that choice, of course

  4. I like that I really think it’s clever. The Robert Palmer video is so iconic I love how it’s been turned around. I think it’s poking fun at the original. Also, I don’t mind a bit of eyeliner on a dude, but I can’t see it taking off as a mainstream thing. I think it’ll be a while before we see blokes putting make-up on their eyes before heading down the pub to watch the football with their mates.

  5. Well I skimmed through and saw the pictures of the guys you showed in make up and how it;s not bad and the video. I think guy’s look stupid in make up simply unless its something like for tv or movies where guys obviously have make up on. But it’s just a skin tone, which just brings out their face for teleivsion, and not feminine stuff.

    • That’s why I said that with our enculturated eyes, the guys might be more off-putting than attractive. So I wondered if she was making a symbolic point with the makeup about who is powerful and who is not. But since she sexualizes herself, she doesn’t seem to be against sexualizing people. So I interpreted her as being open to women and men both being active and both passively attracting.

      But I’m open to alternate views.

  6. Not sure what I think of the video in terms of the dressing up of the guys. Seems to me that dressing up guys in makeup as if they were girls isn’t really the same as turning them into eye candy. Then again, no one should really be turned into eye candy anyways so maybe that’s her point. Thanks for sharing this and writing about it, Georgia.

  7. Yeah, the 80’s rock stars did the glam, but I always felt they looked stupid with the hair and make up. A guy doesn’t have to do make up or be feminine dressing to attract or be a sex object or be the object of desire while the woman is the ring leader so to speak.
    I’m surprised you used that as an example too, as the reverse of the music video simply irrestible was already done by Shania Twain in the “feel like a woman” music video. Do you remember that?. Sure she dresses sexy in it, but the guys are playing the woman’s role in Palmers video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJL4UGSbeFg

    And the roles can be reversed without men being prissy either. Look at this music video by Kelly Rowland. Sure she’s dressing sexy too. But the men are presented as decoration or visual objects in the video and she’s like the one in charge and leader, yet these guys look, and act masculine at the same time. And seeing the comments, there are a lot of women making comments about the male eye candy and them liking it. here’s the video here.

  8. Gotta love a man in makeup!

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