"Bounce That Dick," feminist or not?
When we were sent a link to the new YouTube video “Bounce That Dick” on the Jenna Marbles channel, we didn’t know what to expect: some kind of safe-for-work sexual technique advice video by a porn star turned educator? Then, during the first 30 seconds, our hopes were raised, as the young “blogger and entertainer” began a rap parody, stating with much braggadocio, “I’ve been told since the day I started growing pubes to shake my ass. Well, guess what, my ass is fucking tired as shit. This time it’s your turn to wiggle your man junk for me. I wanna see you shake your muthafuckin penis, bitch.”
Ever since we read Gloria Steinem’s essay “What If Freud Were Phyllis?” years ago, we’ve enjoyed the use of role reversals to expose sexism, racism, etc. But by the end of the vid, we were left a little cold. Rather than really highlighting how degrading and misogynistic our music video culture can be toward women, it felt more like giving men a taste of their own medicine, with Marbles genuinely delighting in the degradation. A sort of “Hey, we can do it too! After all, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Maybe it was the crying men, mascara running down their cheeks, on their knees, being sodomized with various phallic objects that turned it unfunny. It’s kinda hard to laugh when we’re looking at sexual assault, no matter who the victim. You could argue that that’s the power of something like this — it doesn’t pull any punches to show us just how fucked up objectification can be. But after a quick perusal of the vids on Marbles’ YouTube channel, her willingness to participate in questionable behavior for a cheap laugh — even when she’s critiquing that behavior — muddles the message. But maybe we’re looking for a message where one doesn’t really exist. What do you think?