Premiere: Why this music video is a must-watch commentary on women’s rights

When the “catcalling video,” featuring one woman’s street harassment-filled walk through New York City, went viral last year, it highlighted the cumulative effect of what have long been defended as “harmless compliments.” Because while catcalling is not a new phenomenon, it’s only recently that the practice has been called out as the intrusive, unwanted, and harmful presence that it is. The video itself was an imperfect representation, but the truth at its core was relatable to anyone who’s ever been stared at, followed, and/or verbally harassed while just going about your daily business.

For Los Angeles-based musician Cassandra Violet, the catcalling video and the conversation it started provided a seed of inspiration for her new music video, which HelloGiggles is proud to premiere. Her song “Lady” begins in a hush, then blooms into a drum-driven call to arms, so it makes sense that the video for the song has a driving narrative — and in this case, it’s a story about female emancipation from patriarchal tyranny. (Word.) As Violet explains it, “The [catcalling] video got me thinking about how lonely and terrifying it can be to be a woman in the world because have to fight for your own path and for your voice to be heard.” Given the amount of dystopian fiction ruling popular media, it made sense to apply that scenario to the reality of the world today: “In the song ‘Lady,’ a girl is fighting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, controlled by men until she takes the power into her own hands . . . this is represented through a girl who is controlled in a cult, and then breaks free, protecting her sister and escaping, ultimately to a city that is just as terrifying as the environment she ran away from.”

If it sounds unsettling, that’s because it’s supposed to be. The video for “Lady” is shot in a beautiful haze, giving off John Everett Millais’ Ophelia vibes while also channeling, dare we say, more contemporary references. (Fill in your series of choice here.) The overall effect is a little spooky and a lot bittersweet — a chilling, fitting mix of visual and sound imagery.

Pick up Cassandra Violet’s Body & Mind EP on January 29, 2016; watch the video for “Lady” below:

Image courtesy of Shaughn and John.

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