Perfectly perky pop princess Meghan Trainer is certainly successful in her dissemination of self-empowering messages. From body positive “All About That Bass” to independence asserting “Lips Are Movin” , her impeccably catchy doo-wop doo-wop, bubblegum pop duo certainly have a way of making her tidings stick. It is however, “Dear Future Husband” and it’s contentious video clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShlW5plD_40), that have set back the discourse of gender roles five decades.
Representing the singer on all fours, scrubbing black and white kitchen tiles in six inch heels like a discrepant Cinderella and baking pies reverts the dynamics of heterosexual couples to that of male dominance and female submissiveness. Women are assumed to aspire to become domestic goddesses and “perfect wive[s]” by fulfilling such tasks as “buying groceries” for their husbands. In such lyrics as “you gotta know how to treat me like a lady, even when I’m acting crazy” and “if you wanna get that special loving, tell me I’m beautiful each and every night”, Trainer implies that women are high-maintenance, sexually manipulative and hysterical. These stigmas of the subordinate housewives are damaging as within the bounds of popular culture they set discourses that mould what is socially acceptable within large communities and, in turn influence the construction of ones individuality and the assertion of their identity.
These stereotypical roles are continually enforced throughout the clip with a red “fail” stamped across the screen where the male does not comply with presumed standards of masculinity. This is most evident when the suitor is unable to hit the bell on the high striker at the carnival and thus “fails” in his pursuit of Trainer. Therein lies another outdated ideology, that of it being a man’s job to court a woman, to “please her” and “treat [her] like a lady”. These gender scripts , although implicit, and seemingly innocuous within the context of a fun and upbeat music clip are easily accessible and unfortunately, readily graspable by young, vulnerable audiences who are still grappling with their identities and finding their social niche. Indeed, it is items such as this, which lie within the mainstream that have the power to become articles of world shaping.