Jessie J – ‘Do It Like A Dude’: A Thesis

Ok so I know that we’re a bit late on this, but I don’t care. What is music’s obsession with the current all about, eh? I’m going to start by saying this; I actually quite like this song, I think it’s a pretty good slab of pop. Good, not great.

The thing about it is though, it’s just ridiculous. Not in a kind of Lady Gaga ridiculous pop music style either; it’s on a whole new level of ridiculousness.

The first question that this track raises is quite why exactly a reasonably attractive woman like Jessie J would want to “Do it like a dude”? I don’t mean this in a sexist way, quite the opposite. At first listen this track could be taken as some kind of statement of equality; “look at me I’m a woman and I can do it just as good as all of you guys.” This is a sentiment that would make more sense if she was in the male dominated rap scene that the song seems to attempt to reference, but in the pop scene that this song so obviously belongs to it’s the females who dominate. Surely all us guys should be aspiring to “Do it like a Dudette” as far as pop music goes.

The next point I want to raise about this song stems from the video. I don’t even believe that Jessie J can, or even wants to, do it like a dude. Throughout the video she oozes femininity – well the modern sense of femininity at least – as she gyrates around grabbing her crotch. Rather I think that this song is a great pastiche of the type of boys you expect the character of Jessie J to be hanging with. I say character because I seriously doubt that the portrayal of her in the video is the real her. Not that I have a problem with that. Pop music is all a great act, a story, something to buy into, a release from mundanity. That’s why it’s brilliant.

I started the review by saying that the whole song is ridiculous. I don’t think that’s unintentional. As far as I can see the whole song exists to highlight, in a comical kind of way, how ridiculous “dudes” – more in attitude than in gender – actually are. Let’s take a look at some of the lyrics; “Boom, boom, pull me a beer, no pretty drinks, I’m a guy out here.” This is possibly my favourite line in the whole song, it can’t be serious, it just can’t. It’s got to be a dig at “dudes’” narrow minded approach to masculinity: the “I’m a man, gimme a beer” attitude. (Because lets face it; who doesn’t, even if only in secret, love a mojito?) What about this “Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ money like a pimp, My B I T C H’s on my d*ck like this”. Let’s not forget Jessie J is a woman, either she has some serious issues or she’s taking the piss and let’s face it the kind of artists she’s laughing at set themselves up for it. Think Usher, with all his come to daddy nonsense. At times, most notably when Jessie directly addresses “boys” she changes character. The most interesting of these is when she sings “Dirty dirty dirty dirty dirty dirty sucka, you think I can’t get hurt like you, you motherf*ck*r.” It seems like here she is addressing the Dude character that she is playing in the rest of the song, it can’t help but lead me to think, who is this song about? Who has actually behaved like the dude she is portraying and hurt her enough for her to write a parody song about them?

Put into that context the song all seems to make more sense, yeah it’s a dig at dudes, but it’s brilliantly worked. Sure mental, and bizarre, (just take a look at all the weird phallic imagery in the video, not least right at the start when it appears as though a penis is being cut in half?!) but pretty great.

The cutting of the penis is a great reflection of what I think Jessie J is really trying to do in this song, bring down the dude.

Tom Riste-Smith

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