That’s a cheap shot, Ricki-Lee
In the film clip for her new single “Crazy” Ricki-Lee Coulter writhes on a stretcher wearing nothing but the cut-outs of a straight jacket, complete with buckles and messed up hair.
She takes only seconds to sexualise the concept of mental illness and glamorise female submissiveness. Unless of course I missed some deep artistic sentiment of Ricki-Lee being chained by the neck to the floor of a hospital ward panting: “go crazy, go crazy.”
If any other illness were used in this way it would be scandalous. Imagine if she was draped over a wheelchair or gyrating against chemotherapy equipment? Nobody would stand for it.
But the video has had 51,000 views on YouTube and only 107 dislikes.
In a behind the scenes video of “Crazy” Ricki-Lee says: “I thought why not do a play on the word crazy and do it in an asylum and act out a little crazy.” She goes on to smile at the camera pulling at her costume saying “this is my patient outfit!”
Most music videos involve taking a concept and warping it into something they can market to the masses. But using mental illness as visual porn to add drama to pop songs is cheap.
It’s not even an original idea. Rihanna’s done it, so has Britney. Lady Gaga’s entire ‘Marry The Night’ video was based on her escape from an institution. I can handle scantily clad singers marching across my screen, I’ve never known any different. What I can’t fathom is how producers can let mental illness be portrayed in such a stigmatising fashion.
In Australia one in five of us will experience a mental illness during our lives. Sure it may not warrant treatment in a psychiatric ward,but it will require speaking to someone and reaching out to get help.
How are people supposed to do that if they keep seeing mental illness as a primitive freak show? It’s not fledgling pop star’s jobs to educate people on these issues, but some responsibility needs to be taken for what’s being portrayed.
Maybe submissiveness is having a moment right now thanks to 50 Shades Of Grey, but Ricki-Lee has just signed a campaign with Covergirl. She’s supposed to be a fresh-faced role model, not a helpless sex fiend in bondage.
Unless there is a truly artistic and tasteful interpretation of mental illness that inspires courage and understanding, rather than frenzy and restraining devices, I don’t see why B-grade artists like Ricki-Lee have to go there.
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