Content warning: This article discusses sexual content.
Toni Fowler, the Filipino vlogger, musician, and actress, previously faced heavy backlash for her “M.P.L.” (“Malibog Pag Lasing”) music video.
This week, she released another controversial music video for a track called “M.N.M.”(“Masarap Na Mommy”), which has sparked mixed reactions from the netizens.
Although the video highlights the point of moms not being “past their prime,” it still faces criticism for its objectification of women.
Unlisted Videos and Age Restrictions
To Fowler’s credit, both “M.N.M.” and “M.P.L.” are unlisted videos on YouTube and made only available to viewers 18 and above.
Despite her efforts, the videos have still managed to become viral and stirred up conversations on social media. However, this does not entirely absolve her from taking responsibility for her content.
A Chastising Message to Parents
After receiving feedback that children were dancing to “M.P.L.” to participate in her iPhone 14 giveaway, Fowler posted a video where she chastised parents for allowing their children to watch her content. She has repeatedly said that her content is not intended for children.
The Use of Stripper Aesthetics
Fowler, like Cardi B, incorporates stripper aesthetics in her music videos. While both of them previously worked as a stripper and an exotic dancer, respectively, Fowler’s use of the aesthetic seems more like a co-opting of body and style trends that can be traced to the wave of Black culture and Black women appropriation.
Male Gaze-y and Objectification of Women
While the “M.N.M.” the music video may make a valid point about moms not being “past their prime,” there’s still a lot to be said about its male gaze-y and straight-up objectification of women.
Fowler sports several revealing outfits that expose her chest, and there is a shot of her bare genitals.
Several sequences show Fowler scissoring with a pregnant woman. Additionally, there is a continuing shot from the POV of a person having affairs with all the women in the video.
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The music video “M.N.M.” crosses between proclaiming that moms, even pregnant moms, are sexy and fetishizing pregnancy.
One woman wears a prop vulva attached to the back of her neck, while another woman wears it on her belly.
Furthermore, there are several sequences of a pregnant woman pole dancing, potentially crossing a line for more conservative viewers.
The Lyrics Reinforce Unrealistic Beauty Standards
Although the music video aims to convey the message that moms can be hot, unrealistic beauty standards on mom bods emerge with the lyrics: “Ang sexy-sexy ng ‘yong body, ‘yan ang gusto ko na MILF.”
The song’s lyrics could also contribute to increased pressure on women to conform to society’s unrealistic standards of beauty.
The Debate on Hypocrisy
Some netizens commend Fowler for her authentic representation while calling out her critics for being hypocrites.
They argue that equally sexual videos from Western artists like Cardi B’s “WAP” or Nicki Minaj’s “Super Freaky Girl” are deemed “acceptable.” However, this argument fails to acknowledge the cultural differences of the West and the Philippines.
The controversy that Fowler sparked with her “M.N.M.” music video shows that content creators must take the responsibility of avoiding the hypersexualization of young people.
In the case of Ms. Fowler, despite her claim that her content is not for children, her YouTube channel is still accessible to a wide audience without ensuring proper age restrictions.
Furthermore, her style of music videos may cater more towards male fantasies than empowering women, despite conveying the message that moms can be hot.
Therefore, it’s essential to strike a balance to promote positive messages without sexualizing or objectifying women.