If there was one big takeaway from Framing Britney Spears, it's that we've had a habit of being incredibly cruel to female celebrities. From incessant harassment to unsolicited speculation to hateful commentary, the media and general public have continually played into underlying sexist rhetoric through intense public scrutiny and shaming, particularly during the '90s and '00s — and Upsahl has something to say about that in her video for "Monica Lewinsky."
Named after the White House intern who was demonized after being thrown under the bus by then-President Bill Clinton over an affair, the song's lyrics pay tribute to the "stone-cold hot girls" who "made history" by being unapologetic in the face of intense ire, with Upsahl explaining that "on first listen 'Monica Lewinsky' feels like a playful song about people who have made a massive impact on pop culture."
"But writing this song was much more than that for me," as she continued. "In the 90’s and the early 2000's, women like Monica, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Miley Cyrus were all dragged down by the media and the court of public opinion simply for being human beings and living their lives."
Upsahl added, "They were under a microscopic spotlight, everything they did, whether they were at their highest or their lowest, was picked apart and criticized."
To reflect this idea, the pop auteur decided to create a video that puts us in these maligned women's shoes, starting off with blinding camera flashes that turn into a whirlwind of hazy visuals and disorienting jump cuts, as we see Upsahl walk down the red carpet, pose for risqué photographs and give interviews that will, undoubtedly, be misconstrued. However, the vibe isn't about remorse or finger wagging, rather it's a celebration of these women's strength during times of unfair scrutiny. Because as Upsahl herself said, "One of the main reasons I get to feel free existing in a creative industry is because of the bullshit that they had to deal with early on in their careers."
She concluded, "'Monica Lewinsky' is my ode to them. Thank you for making history.”
Watch Upsahl's video for "Monica Lewinsky," below.
UPDATE 05/23: Monica Lewinsky herself has thanked Upsahl for writing the song. Check out her tweet below.
thank you! ♥️💗♥️— Monica Lewinsky (she/her) (@MonicaLewinsky) May 23, 2022
Photography: Aubree Estrella / courtesy of Upsahl
- Paris Hilton Remembers David Letterman's "Cruel" Interview - PAPER ›
- Celebs Rally Around Britney Spears After New Documentary - PAPER ›
- Lindsay Lohan's 2013 Interview With David Letterman Goes Viral ... ›
- Jordyn Woods And What Women Wear When Publicly Shamed ... ›