Women’s History Month: Grimes’ “Venus Fly” (featuring Janelle Monáe)

We begin women’s month with Canadian producer Claire Boucher, the singer, songwriter, and visual artist (among other things) better known as Grimes. As a self-made songwriter and musician, Grimes is especially notable for her unrelenting do-it-yourself work ethic, which allows her to be in complete control of every aspect of her work: from the creation of her music to the manga-inspired cover art of her albums.

© 4AD Records

Grimes has been vocal about sexism in the music industry, particularly for female producers working in a male-dominated field. She has also been infantilized for her high, feminine voice and pop sensibilities. “Venus Fly,” featuring fellow vocal feminist singer Janelle Monáe, is a response to this sexism. The lyrics uses a venus fly trap to represent something that, in Grimes’ own words, is “too scary to be objectified,” a beautiful plant that also eats living things. Monáe’s verse uses imagery of typically pretty things, such as curls and pearls, used as weapons, while the chorus repeatedly asks why her music is overshadowed by her appearance and femininity. Plus the song is an all-out banger, with amazing futuristic fairy tale visuals in the music video.

For more on Grimes’ creative process and insights on being a female producer, watch her Fader mini-documentary here. We’ll see you tomorrow for another day of Women’s History Month on Dystopian Dance Party. Spotify and YouTube playlists below:


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One response to “Women’s History Month: Grimes’ “Venus Fly” (featuring Janelle Monáe)”

  1. […] But there’s another reason why I’m highlighting “Genius of Love” for Women’s History Month, and that’s because it’s, well, unabashedly girly. We often fall into the trap of praising women artists for transcending feminine stereotypes, which can become its own kind of aesthetic cage: in order to be taken seriously, Women in Rock (or whatever) have to be rawer, tougher, and ballsier than their male counterparts. “Genius of Love” isn’t raw, tough, or ballsy; the vocals, by Tina and her sisters Laura and Lani, are sweet and feminine, and the lyrics are all about how much she loves her boyfriend. Even the music video, by future Max Headroom creators Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, looks like the kind of thing an especially talented girl might doodle in her notebook during middle school. It’s a celebration of an oft-scorned “feminine” aesthetic, years before Taylor Swift and the “poptimism” movement made perceived girliness into a critical badge of honor, and it’s detectable as an influence in everyone from Swift to Sleigh Bells to our own Women’s History honoree, Grimes. […]

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