Societal expectation of beauty are seen throughout modern media, affecting perceptions of what makes an individual attractive to no end, and sometimes to an extent that can be incredibly damaging. Even though it’s often shown as only females being the ones affected by it, men too face the harmful effects of perceptions of beauty. There is no denying that the image of male beauty seen in media is often white, toned, blond haired and blue eyed, with stars such as Chris Hemsworth, Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Zac Efron, and many more being made out as the peak of male perfection. But humans come in a vastly great range of races, sizes, body shapes, eye colours, and this endless variety is displayed and praised as it should in the new music video for Charli XCX’s single “Boys”.

The tune is distinctly cheesy pop, with the sound of beeping vintage games in the chorus and a repeating drum beat through much of the song. The tune reminds me a lot of BeyoncĂ©’s “Sorry”, with the upbeat drum and snare, though the messages of the song couldn’t be more different.

“Boys” is a display of a distinct message of love and Charli’s vocals, which are raspy yet still sweet. There’s no intense back track, the point of the song is not in the backing music and it doesn’t try to act like it is. It doesn’t try to be something more than it is. It’s repetitive, cheesy, and just plain cute, but that allows this incredible music video to be the crowning glory for the track.

In the music video, directed by Charli XCX herself, a huge variety of boys are shown. It’s not sexual, it’s flirtatious but not in a traditionally explicit manner. It’s sexy, not sexual, by being a video with a silly, playful, and natural manner. The video is collection of men all having fun and being stunning, all whilst showing off the incredible range of male beauty that exists. There’s different races, body shapes, fashion styles, and sexualities being embraced. There’s men doing “manly” things, men doing “feminine” things, all whilst smiling, enjoying themselves, and none of it holding a stigma that suggests that one man is less than the other because one is lifting weights and another is washing dishes. There’s an abundance of pink, a colour often seen as unmanly and feminine, as well as cupcakes, flowers, puppies, and other feminine items. It’s everything not associated with what makes a man “manly” and that is what makes this video exceptional. Men being down to earth and themselves with no regards for previous stereotypes and expectations of how they should behave. It’s human. It’s fun. And it’s wonderful in its representation of men being beautiful no matter what they look like.

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