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"BOY WITH LUV" & The Subversion of Toxic Masculinity and Harmful, Anti-Woman Tropes In Entertainment (A THREAD)

INTRODUCTION I was inspired to write this thread because of an observation that was made about how nice it was that Halsey was able to feel comfortable around several guys while making this music video.…


this makes me so happy but also how great is it that Halsey is also feeling comfortable around 7 men?
There was something about Halsey in the music video and how happy it made me that I couldn't put my finger on until I read that comment. "Boy With Luv" is one of the rare instances of a song about love featuring a woman where she's neither treated as an object nor an adversary.
So I was inspired to write a thread on how the music video outright subverts expectations for how men treat a supposed love interest, and how everything from its themes to its color palette to outright stomp on toxic masculinity's harmful and childish interpretation of "love."
I'm sure if you sat down and thought about it, you'd have no trouble coming up with music videos, movies, TV shows, and video games where the concept of loving a woman was basically hunting her, harassing her, or bullying her into submission.
One of the best examples of this trope in music would be Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel"
Here we have a music video where the entire point is to cat call a woman who is minding her own business walking down the street. But clearly, she deserves it because "look at how she's dressed!"…
The problem with music videos that push this "harass her until she loves you" trope is that it promotes love as something predatory and selfish. Women are conquests, prizes, and objects to which they are entitled, not feeling, thinking humans with their own lives and thoughts.
And yet society has, for the longest time, told boys and men that the best way to impress a woman is through aggression, either verbal or physical. Rather than be offended or terrified, the woman is supposed to be flattered or impressed.
BTS could have merely cringed at the messages they once sent to young, impressionable female fans, but otherwise moved on and never addressed it. But with "Boy With Luv" they go back in time to smack themselves upside the heads. At least figuratively.
The intentions to subvert certain toxic tropes aren't obvious until AFTER you watch the full "Boy With Luv" music video. The teaser is seemingly set up to mirror BTS' past treatment of female love interests in "Boy In Luv" and "War of Hormone."
What's interesting is that, without knowing what the genuine context of the music video would be, some onlookers instinctively began to immediately shame Halsey for the way she was dressed, angrily remarking about her short shorts, lack of bra.
It's so common to attack women for what they wear in any situation, even if being sexually attractive wasn't anywhere near their list of priorities when putting on clothes.
In the clip, we LITERALLY see Halsey getting off of work and observing a group of several strange men in front of her job. Let's make this REAL for a minute. :/
It's late at night, you're getting off of work at night & preparing for a long walk home by yourself and you see several men who you don't know sitting in front of your job and they all stop what they're doing and just...stare at you. How would YOU feel?
It's so natural for people to immediately begin policing and blaming women, even in fantasy scenarios. And despite not knowing what the topic of the MV would be, some people were already expecting more of the same aka the woman as sexy prey, ready to be harassed into submission.
But then the subversion happened! In the video, we see Halsey as part of the fun. It's not a situation where what she's feeding "the male gaze" or where people are invited to use her manner of dress to justify mistreatment or sexual aggression. She's a person, not an object.
There's no aggression acted out toward Halsey. She's welcome & relaxed. She's an equal who does the choreography with everyone else. More importantly, it's a situation where you have a woman who's surrounded by guys and is at ease with who she is...and, yes, what she's wearing.
If you don't understand how powerful that is, think about how many young girls, even children. are told to change their clothes by adult women because grown men are around. So often the onus is on women to not be temptresses, sl*ts, or sexually attractive-
in any way and that we must cover ourselves because we should never expect men to control their impulses. Through media like movies, TV, and music, women are often shown as to blame for "stirring these primal urges in men."
It's refreshing to have a video that takes several steps back from dictating one's feelings to a woman, why she's supposed to accept them, and why she's a bitch if she doesn't. It's nice where a man's love isn't about what he wants and is entitled to.
PART III. PINK IS FOR "F*CK YOU, TOXIC MASCULINITY!" From the moment BTS came to America, they made no attempts whatsoever to placate toxic male perceptions of them as Asian men. Whether it was putting down their female fans or embracing lyrics and images that degraded women.
BTS strolled into America with millions of female fans, a flawless skincare routine, and albums that feature flowers and the color pink. They have not apologized for their androgynous tendencies, deciding to embrace their masculine and feminine (anima) sides with equal vigor.
For instance, one thing I didn't see anyone touching on was the choreography, which features movements that one might have, in the past, been more likely to see in K-pop girl group choreography than boy group choreography.
The "Boy With Luv" choreography is gleefully carefree, instead of demanding that BTS dance in a way that satisfies gender stereotypes. From the lyrics, to the movements, to the music video, the way love expressed is beyond labels or toxic tropes.
CONCLUSION: A WONDERFUL DO-OVER BTS is very much aware of the impact their music has on their fans, and how many of those fans are women or very young girls. And it's something they're choosing to embrace rather than run from.
The best way to embrace their fans, men and women alike, is to use their influence to promote positive interactions rather than hostile interactions, to subvert dated tropes, and to demonstrate that love isn't projecting your feelings of entitlement onto a total stranger.
/THREAD Thanks for reading my thread! I really love this song and video and seeing Halsey dancing with BTS and being so comfortable with them really makes me happy. :)
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