M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls”

Here’s the link to the new M.I.A. single, Bad Girls

Here’s the video:

I feel like I do not have the cultural tools to deconstruct this video.

I do feel, however, that the lyric “live fast die young bad girls do it well” has a different meaning when the video is so clearly dressed with conservative religious trappings. When the religion being referred to is one that is known in the Western press for having splinter sects who, on occasion, stone transgressive women, or burn the faces of girl children who go to school, or bomb schools that teach girls.

What, exactly, is the bad thing the girls in the song are doing, that will cause them to die young? And at whom is M.I.A. so blazingly pissed-off?

You don’t make that video without being very smart, very clever, and very angry.

6 Responses

  1. One thing that struck me was the images of women behind the wheel of cars, particularly the one around 35 seconds in. It felt like those might, to some extent, comment on the de facto ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia.

    An interesting video, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  2. Islam allows women to drive amongts many other things. The dumb saudi law does’nt. There is a difference. Just because they use islam to justify their carzy laws it does’nt mean that it actually does. Just saying great song great hidden message. It just annoys me when people who know nothing abou islam judge it by the actions of so called muslims.If you are interested in islam read the Qu’ran, then you will see how wrong saudi arabia has got it.

  3. It’s MIA, so there is clearly going to be an underlying social or political statement. She’s an infamous activist and her songs always have a deeper intelligence behind them. Too bad many high-profile reviewers, along with the majority of listeners, have taken it at face value (or even worse those that have alluded to a subtext of “she’s singing about doing it in a car”). Hopefully the video will help people connect the dots – maybe it’s even a reaction on MIA’s part to subtly sledge-hammer people with her point.

  4. @Rachel …. I’m not sure how a person could take the song as being merely about a car.

  5. It’s clearly about the The feminist revolution that is going on in the more religious Arab countries. Young women in Saudi driving late at night, Women becoming Imams at mosques, and so on. Great song, sad that most people will not see it as more than just a song on the “Step Up: Revolution” soundtrack (eye roll). The role of the Muslima is changing and I’m glad to be alive to see it happen!
    Great post.

  6. Isn’t this song is full of sexual innuendo- am I the only one who thinks this?
    From doing it well, to banging on the dashboard, get back get down, hands tied, if I blow you, I’m cummin’ in the Cherokee,steam on the window screen, wheels bouncing, I’m going to have you trembling……

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