Opinion: Ariana, Miley and Lana have let down the independent women who went before them
Seriously, is this the best we can do in 2019?
A young woman dressed in an opaque corset and thigh-high boots pouts and throws seductive looks over her shoulder. Another is in a boxing ring, in hotpants and heels, alternatively writhing around or biting the ear of a man she's apparently 'torturing'. The third is in a sauna, running her hands the length of her body and running her long and toned legs through the random sand floor.
And there we have it: the icons of latter day 'girl power'.
Of course, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Ray are not the new cast of Charlie's Angels (that's Naomi Scott, Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska). But the three stars have teamed up to record a just-released song and video for the female spy movie, just as Destiny's Child did before them.
Sadly, the differences between two are vast. Setting to one side the fact that Don't Call Me Angel is a below average tune and Independent Women was an anthem for the ages, the messages are very different.
While Beyoncé & Co belted out a call to action about women being able to buy their own houses and depending on themselves, the new crew are making the definitive statement that, em, they're happy to be oogled as long as no one calls them an angel.
"I appreciate the way you want me I can't lie. I drop it low, I back it up, I know you wanna think you're mine. Baby I totally get it you can't guess, so you can't get me off your mind. We in it together, but don't call me angel."
In the 2001 Independent Women video – yes, it was that long ago – we saw Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle sitting at the head of a boardroom table, inspiring a collection of like-minded, strong-minded women. Yes there were high hemlines and low necklines, but the overall aesthetic was one of ferocity and empowerment.
In the new video, we see Ariana, Miley and Lana do little more than dance provocatively. Sure, Lana throws a knife and Miley a couple of punches, but the video is mostly lingering shots of various body parts before all three stars meet up to suggestively eat some grapes and pose while wearing black angel wings.
I'm all in favour of women owning and flaunting their bodies and their sexuality in any manner they like, but to me this video is little more than surface level sexy.
I'm a fan of all three singers, who each have done things that truly inspired and empowered young women in the past, but this? There's just no substance, no message to the young women who look to them as role models – and it's seriously disappointing.
The movie's director Elizabeth Banks said called the song a "huge female-powered anthem" that is "resonant and meaningful" and "kicks major ass.” I beg to differ.
If that's what you wanted, Elizabeth, you would have been better off asking Lizzo.