Referring to feminism as the “F” word, Charli XCX‘s new BBC News documentary, The F Word And Me, is quick to include a much-discussed quote from Nicki Minaj in regards to being a female in music: “When I am assertive, I’m a b*tch. When a man is assertive, he’s a boss.”
During the 41-minute collection of clips tied together by Charli’s narration, the documentary focuses on the ways females are still a minority in music and in pop music, specifically. Throughout her travels to festivals such as Glastonbury and Lollapalooza, the 23-year-old singer talks to different women, such as Ryn Weaver and Ella Eyre, asking what feminism means to them.
For one example of how Charli shares her experiences in relation to being a woman in music, the documentary shares a clip where she’s interviewed regarding her flashing the stage at Glastonbury. The female reporter reacts to this incident saying, “These things happen at Glastonbury! It’s totally legitimate!” Following this scene, Charli gives you her perspective first-hand on how mass media portrays the incident as something people are outraged and disgusted by.
“Female pop stars are under constant scrutiny,” Charli narrates. She goes on to list all the ways in which females are torn apart in mass media, sharing a lot of truth. While the documentary is clearly from her personal, younger perspective, it does raise valid points throughout, directly shared from her experiences.
Charli’s discussion of how the Spice Girls and their notion of “Girl Power” was her first introduction to feminism is very relatable to her fans, and those who’ve grown up with similar female idols. She also discusses in detail Rihanna’s video for “B*tch Better Have My Money,” and how she understands why it was criticized, but why it’s an important video for our contemporary culture.
While reflecting on areas where change is still needed, overall the singer is optimistic things are changing for the better regarding sexism in the industry—especially in terms of celebrating self-identity and confidence for women in pop music.