NO! You’ve Missed the Point

NO! You’ve Missed the Point

The other night I finally saw the music video to Meghan Trainor’s “NO.” I know, I know. This video has been out for months. But my lack of timeliness does not inhibit my ability to analyze, and this video has completely missed the point.

When I first heard this song on the radio, I loved it. It was an anthem for consent, for the ability of women to exist in public places without being obliged to humor unwanted sexual advances. And maybe the lyrics weren’t exactly genius, but damn if it wasn’t catchy.

My name is no, my sign is no, my number is no
You need to let it go, you need to let it go

So when I pictured what this music video would look like in my head, I saw a bunch of empowered women dancing in a club taking over the place and repelling men who look like Scumbag Steve until they take over the place and dance on the bar in a way that’s empowering and totally for them, not for male sexual attention.

Oh what dreams I had. And then I saw this.

Now the beginning isn’t too bad. Women dancing in a warehouse. Alright. But then you get to the shot that’s the thumbnail for this video: a bunch of women in fishnet body stockings rubbing each other sexually. This song is about having fun in public without being interrupted, not about performing for the male gaze. How do you take this song and decide to just put women on display touching themselves for the male gaze and call it a wrap? Do they bust out of the fishnet room at the end and take back their personhood? NO! They stay there. How… how did someone… WHY? Why did they feel the need to make THIS music video for THIS song? 

But I shouldn’t be surprised. Trainor became famous for “All About that Bass,” a song that misses the target of body positivity by skinny-shaming and framing women’s value in terms of their desirability to men. Jenny Trout has already done a great job pointing out how flipping those lyrics to a male performer makes them super objectifying and off-base.


So close. She came so close yet again to creating a positive feminist anthem. I’ll just have to keep the song and purge the video from my memory. Because like I said, it’s really catchy.

You need to let it go, you need to let it go

I’m going to let go of the video and pretend that only the song exists.

What other music videos have you seen that completely miss the point of the song? Leave a comment below.