1-800-YouDoYou: Examining Drake’s “Hotline Bling”

Original Print“Although Drake’s “Hotline Bling” can be interpreted as counter-hegemonic due to its allusions to female empowerment and male sensitivity, the song still caters to a dominant masculine narrative that relies on the subordination of female sexuality. This project attempts to explore and disentangle these conflicting messages while recognizing the potential of this song to become a space in which feminist discourse and contemporary hip-hop can coexist.”
—Jade Frost, Mari Young, Charlie Britton, and Nora Teter (Block 5 2016)

“The original cover art for ‘Hotline Bling’ consists of a pink square with the text ‘1-800-HOTLINEBLING‘ written ten times consecutively. The simplicity of the italicized white writing creates a unique aesthetic and therefore distinctive impression.”

“Implicitly, his argument is that she was better off with him, despite the fact that the song is about his yearning for control over her. Here, one could argue that the promotion of male sensitivity is resistant to dominant gender ideologies; yet, the promotion of male sensitivity in the song perpetuates problematic themes, such as slut shaming and controlling male behavior […] The lyrics paint Drake as obsessed with the fact that he is no longer exuding the same degree of control over this woman; yet in the video, he is deliberately depicted as enthusiastically happy, comical even, dancing, and ‘feeling himself.'”

New Print“With ‘1-800-YOUDOYOU,’ we are feeding into the postfeminist mantra by arguing that women have the ‘choice’ to feel empowered in doing whatever they want, but we feel as though we could have delved deeper to question the notion of choice in our print component.”

“It is clear in the original text that Drake is not ‘stressed out,’ because he is lonely and single—instead, he is ‘down’ because his ex-lover is acting in a manner that he deems unsuitable and outside the ‘good girl’ narrative that he tries to impose on her: ‘wearing less’ and ‘going out more.’ This is why we chose to reflect real remorse (both visually and verbally), as well as demonstrate female liberation in the absence of the victimization of a male as well as told from the male perspective.”

Get Off the Stage, Postfeminists!: Empowerment, Agency, & Pleasure in The To-Do List

Original Print“While some reviewers argue that the representation of femininity in [The To-Do List] inverts the typical coming-of-age narrative, this belief is predicated on the misconceived notions of postfeminism […] a majority of scholars concerned with gender and sexuality in media argue postfeminism has only driven ‘a wedge within women’s movement itself, further exacerbating pre-existing rifts concerning what goals feminists should pursue and how those pursuits should be enacted'” (Petersen 344).
—Alexandra Appel, Corrina Leatherwood, Michael Sorensen, and Eboni Statham (Block 5 2016)

“The specific, explicit thoughts in Brandy’s brain emphasize that she has internalized the typical sexual regime—a hypersexuality that, according to Gail Dines, is ‘generic, formulaic, and plasticized. It is a sexuality that has its roots in porn and is now so mainstream it is fast becoming normalized’ (439).  The lack of context and other characters further demonstrate that Brandy’s porn-based sexual agenda is practiced independently and free from external pressures.”

“The film perpetuates the idea that sex is not for female pleasure. It features problematic portrayals of consent, and exploits the dichotomy of the inexperienced/experienced—the virgin/whore. These important details and recurring themes are overlooked in many analyses and further position The To Do List as rampant with postfeminist thought, which Dara Persis Murray describes as an ideology with a focus on ‘self-surveillance, monitoring and discipline; a focus upon individualism, choice and empowerment'” (287).

New Print“In our new poster, we represented Brandy as a complex individual with a multifaceted personality, while maintaining sexual thoughts albeit to a lesser degree. In this representation, Brandy is neither traditionally good nor bad, and the pornographic sexual acts in Brandy’s brain have been replaced with terms pertaining to global issues, professional success, drug experimentation, family, and sex.”

“The remake attempts to focus more on Brandy’s overall contentment with whatever level of experience she does have, depicting her less as an individual obsessed with acquiring sexual knowledge and more of a young woman comfortable with herself and open to sexual encounters. Still, with the necessary components of consent, sexual safety, and mutual respect. Her sexual quests are not dramatized or framed in an academic sense but more so as a way for her to experience her own pleasure on her own terms.”