The Unexpected Inspiration Behind Selena Gomez's "Fetish" Video

by Amy Roberts

Since the video features a startling set of destructive behaviors framed by light, dreamy visuals, Selena Gomez and Petra Collins' influence for "Fetish" may just surprise you. In an interview with Dazed, the two discussed how horror movies actually inspired the music video for "Fetish," and why the video is a celebration of strong women and female perspectives because of that. Explaining where the idea came from, Collins asked her apparent BFF, Gomez, "Do you think people would be shocked to know that ‘Fetish’ came out of our discovery that we are both avid horror fans, which I didn’t know about you?"

In the piece, Gomez goes on to describe how Collins came over in the middle of the day to find her casually watching Chucky, before the two laid down and enjoyed it together. Even more interesting, though, is how Collins explains the importance of this moment, particularly in regards to "Fetish." The director said,

"Oh my God! Literally we were lying on a teddy bear watching 'Chucky.' At that point, it was clear we are on the same wavelength. It’s still so crazy to me how, when I first heard ‘Fetish’, I pictured it to the backdrop of horror. It’s one of my favourite genres to make a female look strong."

After repeated viewings of the music video, this definitely starts to make sense. For instance, some of the opening shots — which show Gomez in the suburbs, looking (as Collins puts it in the article) isolated "to the most insane degree" — are similar to shots of Maika Monroe in the 2014 horror movie It Follows. Meanwhile, a moment in which Gomez eats glass is eerily reminiscent of a similar scene from the 2013 movie Oculus, in which Karen Gillan's character eats a light bulb.

There's no denying in either instance that such examples of horror show women characters exhibiting tremendous strength in order to fight through hellish volumes of mental and physical hardship. Though horror movies can be brutal, there are also positives to be gained from seeing a woman survive such an ordeal, and physically and emotionally express herself throughout such an experience.

Explaining that she doesn't "view the video as dark. You can see this angry, sad, whatever person, but also be in control of it," Collins' vision also appears to be one in which the artist has pulled positives from darkness. She told Dazed,

"I love the kitchen scene in ‘Fetish’ so much. It’s so rare to see a woman lose control and also gain it back. Women are always told, ‘Oh, be in control of your feelings,’ and a woman is never allowed to express her anger without being demonised as being PMS-y. I love seeing a woman, or a girl, be so physical, (to) let go of all control of her body. It’s not going crazy, it’s going with it, it’s getting final!"

With its perfect balance of dark and light, "Fetish" puts these themes into an empowering focus, giving Gomez ownership over her behavior, and her feelings. While Collins has taken inspiration from horror, a genre which often commands female perspective through a male gaze, the artist has re-contextualized the themes of the genre through a female gaze. And suffice to say, the end result has likely become the new fetish of every fan who's seen it.