Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Boy Problems” Video Features Slumber Party Glam, Funeral Selfies & No Boys Allowed
Carly Rae Jepsen’s video for “Boy Problems,” directed by fashion photographer and designer Petra Collins, steps up the pop-glam and the femme fashion, from tiaras to pink ballgowns to laptops slathered with sparkly stickers. You’d think with a name like “Boy Problems,” Jepsen’s video would feature at least one boy, but instead, the video focuses entirely on its heroine and her female friends.
After watching this video, I think I buy Jia Tolentino’s theory that “Boy Problems” could be about queer self-discovery. At the very least, it seems to be about realizing that your relationship with your girlfriends (romantic subtext or not) should take precedence over “Boy Problems,” which is why the scenes focus on the gals at a slumber party, lounging by the pool, at a funeral, at the office (where Rookie founder Tavi Gevinson makes a cameo as the boss), and at a dance club.
The decade-spanning fashion choices really make this video special. We’ve got the 1970s represented in Carly Rae Jepsen’s Joan Jett hairstyle and the disco-inspired dance-club glitter scene. We’ve got the 1980s in the poofy-sleeved ballgowns and big hair-pieces at the funeral. The office scene, poolside lounging, and slumber party look like they could be set in the late 80s or early 90s. Meanwhile, the technology in the video spans across the decades, including modern-day iPhones and tablets and laptops, as well as the old school TV at the slumber party. The result captures a unique sense of universal nostalgia—a distant, rose-colored picture of coming-of-age that feels vaguely familiar no matter what decade you grew up in.
That “funeral” scene probably popped out as “one of these things is not like the others,” right? In this case I think the funeral is for the narrator’s “Boy Problems,” which she plans to leave behind in favor of focusing on the ladies in her life. Or perhaps it’s about her realization that the end of her relationship doesn’t mean the end of her life; life goes on, CRJ!
She also plans to put herself first, as represented by the coffin selfies:
This harkens back to director Petra Collins’ #MyStory project, a photography series that focuses on selfies as a way for women to take control of their own image. In her words: “We’re all constantly bombarded by images, but a lot of them don’t reflect the normal person or girl. And I think the selfie is a really important tool for girls because they can create images of themselves that aren’t the manipulated ones that they see.” It’s cool to see Collins’ ethos getting reflected in this selfie-celebratory video!
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