In an interview with BBC Breakfast this morning, Charli XCX talked about her latest video, “Boys,” which she directed, but doesn’t star in. Instead, it’s a cheeky yet subversive celebration the female gaze, featuring a seemingly infinite edit of attractive male celebrities. This isn’t the first time Charli’s work has pointedly addressed gender equality. She told the BBC, “Throughout my career I’ve been very vocal on my opinion about being a woman in the music industry.”
Back in 2015, Charli made a documentary about feminism, The F-Word and Me. In it, she interviewed other female singers including Nicki Minaj, Charlotte Church, and Marina and the Diamonds about their experiences. At one point, Charli brings up the fact that people often question whether Rihanna and Miley Cyrus are bad feminists because of the way they dress. She says, “Both of those artists are really empowering and artistic and daring women. I think they’re projecting a different way to be sexy and a different way to be feminine, which I think is really important for young girls.”
Charli faces similar questions herself. She told BBC Breakfast, “I’m not somebody who is worried about wearing revealing outfits or performing provocatively on stage—as long as that’s my choice, I’m completely happy to do it. The second it is an instruction from a man or a record label then it’s not cool, but otherwise it’s good.”
In a recent interview with Glamour, Charli noted she’s starting to see changes in the industry. “There are some really amazing artists and people behind the scenes who are really effective in championing feminism in the music industry, and I think that’s really important for people in the industry and for young girls and guys to see. It should become universal. It’s really about the other people understanding that everybody’s equal and that women are equally as valid creatives, businesswomen, powerhouses…whatever you want to call them. It’s part not giving a fuck and part explaining to people that it’s really important to realize that everybody is on an equal playing field.”
Charli is doing her part to get that message across, and considering that the “Boys” video already has nearly 13 million views, she’s on track.