Kanye West’s music video for the single “Monster” is brand new, but some people are already sick of it: the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and other groups are petitioning to stop the video’s official release. They argue that the video—which features dead models in lingerie—is “erotici[zing] violence against women.” Tracy Clark-Flory has an interesting piece at Salon about the “long cultural history of eroticized images of dead women”—but after watching a leaked version of Kanye’s video, she notes that it actually features dead (and dying) men as well as dead women. To me, the video seems more of an homage to horror-kitsch (and a nod to fashion photographer Guy Bourdin) than an endorsement of violence against anyone. Also, by petitioning against this video, isn’t the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women perpetuating a double standard when it comes to the portrayal of men and women on TV–namely, that portraying dead men is entertainment, but portraying dead women is misogynistic? Isn’t the sanctification of the female body the basis for sexist arguments against female soldiers on the front lines? When will it be okay for artists to treat the female body the same way they treat the male body—as a prop for the sake of entertainment?
Here’s the leaked version of Kanye’s video for “Monster”—see what you think: