Featured image from “Vim & Vigor” (0:37)
Carsie Blanton is not one to shy away, as any of her fans could tell you. Even at first glance, it’s easy to figure out that Blanton has moxie–the wild curls, the bright red boots, the bold tattoos all form the image of a woman who is her own, whether you like it or not.
Blanton, a former sweetheart of the Philadelphian pop/folk scene, is currently on tour with fellow Philadelphian songwriter Chris Kasper to promote the release of her latest album, So Ferocious. While So Ferocious has been heralded as a catchy, infectiously sweet pop record, the album also serves as a perfect example of the tough, wry, fearless qualities that Blanton encompasses. In the days leading up to the release of So Ferocious, Blanton once again demonstrated her moxie by releasing three brand-new music videos from the album, each with a different fearless concept, and each directed by filmmaker Andrew Rozario,
Perhaps the most brilliant of these three videos can be found in “Vim and Vigor”. The video’s tone is set from the opening, as a close-up on Blanton’s fishnet-clad-and-high-heeled leg soon widens to reveal the songstress rolling a very business-like pant leg down over the stockings, with a male body nonchalantly shown no attention showering in the corner. Viewers are then taken through a luscious and pointed tour of the diva’s dream mansion, all perfectly-dressed (or undressed) male servants, gilded furniture, and decadent desserts. Whether it’s Blanton showering her boy toys with champagne or languidly lounging while waited on hand and foot, the message is clear: Carsie is Queen, here.
Overall, the scenes in “Vim and Vigor” could have been taken straight from any number of other music videos, except for one key , brilliant difference: in Carsie’s world, it’s the men who are objectified, not the women. Blanton enjoys all matter of luxuries, from food to drink to clothes, and the video follows her around, always centered on the queen’s pleasure–or displeasure, as with her unimpressed look at her earnest male hoofers. The men in Blanton’s manse, meanwhile, are purely decoration: sometimes literally, as they become human footstools or carry the queen around in a chaise; sometimes less so, as they are shown in skimpy briefs and loincloths, camera focused only from muscled torsos down (faceless objects only to be admired for their physicality.)
Many women will already be familiar with being treated as objects. Street harassment and casual objectification everywhere from the grocery store to the office are still unfortunately common in 2016. Flipping this bias on its head may discomfit some men, which Blanton aimed to do, though not purely to cause discomfort. Blanton explains on her blog how she created the video in hopes of also creating empathy by showing that sometimes, this is what it feels like to walk through the world as a woman.
It’s a bold video to make, a bold stance to take. But it is, after all, Carsie Blanton, and like she sings: “I do what I like to, ’cause I’ve got moxie–and you don’t scare me.”
Ready yourself for blatantly luxurious visuals and prepare to question media’s default gaze, then watch the powerful “Vim and Vigor”, below: