Fergie has dropped a new song. It’s called M.I.L.F $, as in, “MILF Money.” In a cheeky twist on the MILF acronym, in this context it stands for “Moms I’d Like to Follow.” The spectacularly star-filled video clip attains to this, featuring some of social media and fashion’s biggest icons like Kim Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen, Gemma Ward, Devon Aoki and Alessandra Ambrosio.
Known best as singer for the Black Eyed Peas, the eight-time Grammy winner explains, “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 :).”
I understand and appreciate this sentiment. For a woman to be wealthy, adored, hard-working and independent, all the while managing to maintain a healthy, sexy appearance, is admirable, even enviable for some. What I don’t understand is that this song has literally nothing to do with that. The video is extremely, singularly sexual. Which would be fine if that was the point, but apparently it’s not.
Straight up, I’ll say that this track is a banger. Musically, I love it. The bass is thumping, the hook is killer and Fergie is rare in her talents to both sing and rap that well. Thematically though, we’ve got a little problem.
The video begins with an unassuming milkman driving through a Stepford Wife-esque street. We see a woman exercising, another gardening, another with her children, another breastfeeding. There’s one woman standing for mayor, and two more beautiful, scantily clad stay-at-home mums. The ladies then visit the “Milf Spa”, with men giving massages and Fergie and co. dancing. Next, they’re waitresses working at a cool looking milkbar-meets-strip club. There’s pole dancing, handsome males, and a seductive shot of Fergie in a bathtub. Then, the scene switches once more to an all-male classroom with a dominatrix-inspired Fergie teaching “Nutritional cla$$,” before pouring milk all over her latex shorts and a top that says “Slippery When Wet.” Next comes a knockout shot of Kim Kardashian in the shower, wearing huge heels (to her credit, wearing 10″ heels in the shower is extremely impressive.) The remaining minute or so basically switches between all of the above scenes, with the women constantly taking selfies, drinking milk and pouring it on themselves, as well as donning milk on their upper lips like that famous “Got Milk?” advertisement.
If you remove any intended themes, this is a fun video. It’s a really enjoyable clip with an extremely attractive and well-known cast, phenomenal set and production values, and the track is catchy as hell.
Here’s the thing though: Fergie is trying to say that this song advocates for female empowerment, for women with careers and families and all that.
That’s where I’m confused. Sure, I suppose you can argue it’s admirable for women to earn enough money that they can stay at home all day and go to the spa. Sure, working as a mayor, or waitress, or teacher, is great. But you’re kidding me if you’re trying to say that the women in those roles in this particular video are doing anything empowering. The teacher and the waitstaff, together with the scenes of women dancing, bathing, pouring milk on themselves etc., are either euphemistic representations of, or more bluntly utilising sex. To the point where the two shots of women with children and the single shot of a woman standing for mayor actually feel gratuitous and out of place.
Sexualising breastfeeding is not empowering. Sexualising teaching is not empowering. Sexualising working for money in any way (other than sex work, obviously) is not empowering. It is the opposite.
Having one line in the lyrics saying “Cause we independent, do you know what that means?” does not make this a representation of powerful women, especially when the rest of the lyrics contain gems like, “Heard you in the mood for a little MILFshake, welcome to the Dairy Dutchess Love Factory” and “Me and the girls, up in the club, hating ass hoes, but I don’t give a fuck.”
The song is about sex and money! Sexy, rich women doing sexy, rich things, dancing in sexy ways, using their sexy wiles to get men to fall at their feet.
Fergie, there’s nothing wrong with being rich and sexy. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating being rich and sexy, either. But why are you saying that this song is about powerful career and family women? Why bother bring in a feminist agenda? Why bother change the acronym?
Not every female artist has to be a feminist. If anything, if this was considered a kind of “fuck you” clip to the countless male-fronted hip-hop videos similarly flaunting extravagant lifestyles and women clamouring all over them, I’d be on board. But the fact that you’re saying that this is about independent, powerful, do-it-all women is confusing, if not damaging.
This video is not bad or wrong, it’s not disgusting or shouldn’t exist or anything like that. But it’s not what you’re trying to say it’s about, and I don’t know why you’re trying to say it is.