Rita Ora & Cardi B's "Girls" Music Video Is Not OK & Here's Why

by Aoife Hanna

"Girls girls girls, sometimes I just wanna kiss girls girls girls." Damn it, I just cannot get that tune out of my head. From the offset, the latest mind melter "Girls" from Rita Ora featuring chart heavyweights Cardi B, Bebe Rexha, & Charli XCX garnered a lot of attention. How could it not? I mean every single one of them has been pretty successful in the charts recently. Special shout out to Cardi B, you are my everything. But with the content involved, some asked if Rita Ora's "Girls" was offensive to the LGBTQ+ community.

Many people were quick to point out that making light of same-sex female relationships isn't cool. Openly queer female artists including Hayley Kiyoko, Kehlani, Shura, and Katie Gavin from Muna were all pretty miffed with the lyrics and spoke public about their issues.

All that negative press led to Ora being forced to out herself as a bisexual woman. In a statement published on Twitter, she wrote: "'Girls' was written to represent my truth and is an accurate account of a very real and honest experience in my life. I have had romantic relationships with women and men throughout my life and this is my personal journey."

Outing is something I am strongly against and it is sad that Ora felt as though she was forced into revealing that she has had both male and female relationships because of the negative press.

But the reception to the actual song wasn't all negative. Some were happy to have bisexuality represented by an actual bisexual woman as opposed to previous problematic examples like Katy Perry's I Kissed A Girl where it appeared to be entirely for the sake of garnering press and male attention.

But bisexual or not, maybe this isn't the most sensitive of topics to fetishise or make light of, is it? Especially as only one of the women featured in the song publicly identifies as bisexual.

Before the video was even released, Twitter was alight with many people calling Ora out for making bisexuality or female same sex attraction seem like it was for the sake of male attention or brought on by red wine. As a pretty devoted red wine drinker, I can assure you that I have never thought "I just wanna kiss boys, boys, boys".

OK, so the lyrics aren't super cool, but this is a song written by a bisexual woman describing her own personal experiences and sexual journey. You have to give her props for that, right?

But then, the video dropped. That video pushed me, and I am sure many more people who could understand both sides of the argument, right over the edge.

I am not sure if the video was made before or after backlash after the song was released, but if it was after you can only assume that it was for the purpose of more press attention. Let me tell you, it is certainly not here to represent bisexual or lesbian women.

Hell no. It might as well have pillow fighting, topless sex-bots leaping around in their pants while also sucking lolly pops and/or eating bananas. OK, the last two are a serious health and safety hazard but you get what I mean. Then again, being objectified is pretty hazardous in itself.

From start to finish, there are issues. The first shots are a bit like an opium den with amazing foliage, filled with semi-naked women, wearing barely there, flesh coloured nightie things. A lot of stroking and sultry looks with cuts to shots of fruits and orchids and other sort of vagina type things. I can tell you from personal experience, that is not what female same sex situations are like. Uh oh, the male gaze strikes again.

Then there are lots of women running through the woods, kissing mirrors (well, maybe I have done that by mistake), holograms of Cardi B (Cardi, you're my girl for life), and of course the controversial kiss. The video then closes with some sort of room filled with all the kinda-naked, kinda-not women in a wide screen shot that shows the original opening scene is clearly an old set from Lost. Erm... WTF?

I wonder if someone made a song called "Boys" (not to be mistaken with Charlie XCX's song) about a bisexual woman who occasionally wanted to snog lads when she was trashed on red wine would get as much press attention or cause as much of a fuss? Of course not. It wouldn't because that is not what society sees as wild and outrageous. That is what society sees as normal and this is where the whole problem lies. Stop fetishising queer women and undermining their relationships.

All in all, the video sadly debunked any previous apologies or assertions that "Girls" is a song for the bisexual female community. It proved that often messages claiming to be on our side actually do more harm than good.

Bustle reached out to Rita Ora's for comment about the video, but didn't receive a response at time of publishing.