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how to be a female pop star in 2014

This 2014 short film made and released by The Guardian, a British news outlet, shows Guardian editor Harriet Gibsone satirically listing the ways one can become a famous female pop star in order to highlight pressing issues pertaining to women and gender inequality, such as overt sexual objectification, male domination, limited feminism discussions, pay inequality, and ageism. Gibsone presents her argument in a serious tone, although the picture inserts and sound effects are comedic. In suggesting absurd things such as using a “man to help you pen a song about your body” to create a “defining” song, or “going on Twitter and slag someone off…ideally another woman,” Gibsone uses sarcasm to criticize the overt emphasis on the hyper-sexualization of the female body and the woman-eat-woman mentality emphasized in the public realm when it comes to female celebrities and pop stars. Through this satirical video, she is not actually telling viewers to do these things; she is pointing out and discussing a culture that promotes this behavior. Although this video was originally made for British audiences, viewers around the world are prompted to consider pop stars in their countries and compare these themes of confining gender roles and the “recipe for success” outlined in the video.


Harriet Gibsone’s serious tone contrasts with the content of her speech and the humorous sound effects and pictures that accompany it. What effect does this have on the viewer? How would the video’s message change if she spoke less seriously?

How do Gibsone’s satirical “suggestions” for aspiring female pop stars reinforce traditional gender roles? Do you think Gibsone believes society is becoming more or less progressive in terms of feminism and female issues?

Think about a contemporary female pop star. Does she embody any of the traits listed in the video? How so?

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