The first time we heard Miss Eaves it was with the track “Aye Girl”—a song about confronting street harassment whose accompanying video flips the script on men, exposing one of them to the kind of uncomfortable confrontations faced by women each day.
For her latest video, “TNT” we see Miss Eaves again inverting patriarchy to dissect the misogyny of dance culture. She populates her video with shirtless men cast in subservient roles: as furniture, as eye candy, as sensitive intellectuals with coy smiles, as dogs. In this way, Miss Eaves has fun with a serious topic, almost daring you to realize that something is wrong.
Working with April Maxey and Summer Czajak, she has put together a video which is simple in execution but not shallow in its examination of tropes which have become inherent in dance music and their accompanying videos. We spoke to her about the making of the video and the thinking behind it.
Let’s talk a little bit about the general concept of the video. It looks to me like this is about objectifying men and the female gaze, can you tell us what the video is about?
The song “TNT” was my reaction after listening to a bunch of dance tracks that objectified women (one of them was about “pounding” a woman’s face). It really sucks that so many dance tracks feature themes that are sexually violent/disrespectful to women. I wanted “TNT” to be a fun dance track that also calls out the misogyny in the (dance) music scene.
When I started thinking on ideas for the video for this track I thought it would be interesting to flip the typical dynamic of a rap music video and create something from a different vantage point. I contacted April Maxey (the DP and co-director) and told her my idea. She brought in her partner Summer Czajak (Producer) and the rest is history.
How did you decide what you were going to have the men doing? There’s a lot there which could seem ripped out of Magic Mike XXL, but then you also have a man reading bell hooks and another making a cake.
The stereotypical sexist video panders to those who enjoy objectifying the female body but [the] other point of view, for the most, part has been under examined. I did not want to be literal and flip the male gaze around with a bunch of men twerking, because that is not the female gaze, that is parody. Female gaze is more than just abs and muscles, it is also men being thoughtful (baking a cake), intellectual (reading Feminism is for Everyone) or making eye contact with the camera.
I also wanted to dissect popular sexist tropes. For example, in movies and videos, women are sensually eating bananas or other phallic objects. My response to that was adding the scene with Zeb (Hamburger Vampire) eating out a papaya.
Can you talk a little bit about what you wear and how you’ve dressed the men? The video is more than just men in their underwear and I think that the suits are as important as the abs in what you’re doing.
In my opinion female gaze is way more than naked male bodies. A man in a smart looking suit is equally as attractive as a beefcake without his shirt on.
It was really hard picking out what I wanted to wear. On one hand I wanted to wear something completely androgynous but on the other hand, as a “curvier” woman, I do not feel as comfortable in this kind of clothing. At the end of the day, I decided to wear clothes that I liked and felt confident wearing, despite them being conventionally feminine. It is empowering because I chose to wear it and I am wearing it for me and not anyone else. When I shared photos from the shoot, most of the comments were about how I looked. Life is funny that way, people feel the need to comment on a woman’s looks (positive and negative) instead of commenting on the nearly nude men standing beside her!
Is there a particular reason as to why you chose this song for this video concept especially as other songs on the album seem to be a bit more explicitly about love and desire?
This was totally my emo-dance rap album. Although “Uncanny Valley,” “Midnight Rage” & “Ready to Go” are all about love and desire, they are not as political as “TNT.” This video does inspect straight female desire, but it is also a social experiment to see how people react to men being objectified when it seems most people are numb to the pervasive practice of objectifying females.
Do you have a favorite part in the video?
I love the shot of me with the Martini and my sexy butler (Dexton). April was pretty brilliant with how she cropped his head out of frame. Also I had no idea that Dexton was flexing his pecs the entire time behind me!
Is there something you wanted to do for the video but you couldn’t swing it?
We discussed having a mechanical bull, but I did not have a budget for all of that!
What was the guy’s reaction to eating the dog biscuit?
It was not a dog biscuit at at all! It was a sugar cookie mixed with oats and peanut butter (for a more doggy treat texture) and shaped like a dog biscuit. It was really tasty!
When I was interviewing Alex (the guy on the dog chain) I told him I had an idea for the video but it was kind of outlandish. When I told him I wanted to put a dog collar and leash on him and feed him a dog biscuit he responded, “I’ll do it. I probably should be on a leash all the time.” I was really lucky with this video to have a cast of supportive (and handsome) men who were willing to be featured in the video.