Jessie J Did It Like a Dude and Most Dykes Like It

Jessie J’s debut single “Do It Like a Dude” dropped November 21st in the UK but word didn’t reach Autostraddle headquarters ’til today — and just in time, as on January 7th 22-year-old Jessie J was announced as The BBC’s Sound of 2011.  (Previous winners of this music-critic-and-industry-professionals- selected poll include 50 Cent, Corinne Bailey Rae, Adele and Little Boots.) She also snagged the 2011 Critics Choice BRIT Award.

Jessica Cornish — aka Jessie J —was 11 when she got cast in a West End production of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Yup: the girl had serious pipes from the get-go. Cornish kept on performing through adolescence and attended performing arts schools. She then went on to pen songs for artists including Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera. In fact, she’s the lady responsible for Miley Cyrus’s hypnotically obnoxious hit, “Party in the USA.” Jessie has been writing and performing songs on her own YouTube channel for a while now, but 2011 will bring the release of her first album, “Who You Are.”

Why should you care? Because you’re gonna have some strong feelings about “Do It Like a Dude.” Is “Do it Like a Dude” a gutsy genderfucking first single, or, as some have argued, just our latest serving of homoeroticized fetishized pop?

I’ll tell ya one place where this single is gonna be ON BLAST — Dinah Shore Weekend and every lesbian club night for the rest of the year. Have you ever been in a lesbian club when “I Kissed a Girl” comes on? If you have, the thumping clangy sexy beats of “Like a Dude” will come as a welcome respite.

See, when “I Kissed a Girl” comes on, suddenly those eight words — I KISSED A GIRL AND I LIKED IT — are airlifted from context (Katy Perry kisses girls to attract the male gaze, the chorus is boyfriend-pandering, Perry is misappropriating bisexuality by reselling it as a party trick) and exhumed exuberantly by a sweaty crowd of lesbians. It’d seem that despite the myriad ways we’ve been wronged by Katy Perry, those eight words speak to a queer experience few other pop songs do and therefore it’s become the default lesbian club jam.

Conversely, “Do It Like a Dude” is, on the surface, an anthem of independence — the only reaction Jessie J expects from your wannabe-boyfriend is his acknowledgment that lesbian sex doesn’t need him. But does singing that she can do “it” “like a dude” just play into the idea that a thing must be “male” to be valid? No, I don’t think so. See, Jessie uses “dude” as a term independent of its ascribed meaning. She’s going all Butler on us by employing “dude” as an adjective encompassing “male” traits like strength/power/aggression rather than using it as another word for “man.”  In this context she frees the term from its traditional application as a noun.

Compare “Do it Like a Dude” to Ciara’s “Like a Boy”: “Like a Boy” is a kickass song, and the video’s got cute gender-bending costumes — but it’s still about men. Ciara defers to the man she loves, asking him, “what if i had a thing on the side, made you cry/ would the rules change up or would they still apply/ if I played you like a toy? / Sometimes I wish I could act a boy.”

Although “Do it Like a Dude” employs some of masculinity’s most misogynistic tropes, it also celebrates masculine women and uses these women to fuck with the highly gendered and outrageously potent “pimp” music-video image — which is pretty awesome.

My first reaction to this video was YES THIS YES THIS LIKE IT YES THIS!

There’s something unnervingly appealing/addictive/empowering about the video. Jessie J is like some psychotic quarter-alien quarter-Megan-Fox quarter-rhinestone lipcowboy quarter-geometric pop music avatar advertising American Apparel leotards and/or strap-ons while singing.

Jessie repeats “do it like a dude” in a jarringingly auto-tuned voice (unnecessary really as THE GIRL CAN SING-  Justin Timberake calls her “the best singer in the world right now“), gesturing terrifically towards her genitals with upturned palms or hurling her crotch forward into the air while cocking her knees outward like a flailing puppet. Her exaggerated psycho-eyes and jerky head movements assault the camera with “fuck you i’m fucking your face with my fucking song” energy reminiscent of Missy Elliot’s “The Rain [Supa Dupa Fly].”

The center of Jessie J’s physical power is, indeed, as her lyrics proclaim, squarely crotch-centric:

More importantly, however, are the background dancers (according to a reader tip — one of the dancers is Jessie J’s girlfriend or ex-girlfriend):

These dirt-stained studs and butches posture with ecstatic, biting aggression, thrusting their limbs forward or out to flex their size and ability to intimidate. The scene drips with dirt, sex and unapologetic masculinity. When Jessie J strolls through the hellish underground lesbian club, she confidently eyes the women with a Shane-esque gaze. There’s nothing uncertain or playful about the dyke sex here. It’s alternatively Fight Club and Dance Club, No Boys Allowed.

Which isn’t to say some elements of this video aren’t problematic. I  mean, why do we have all these hot dykes of color dancing in wifebeaters but the only women who kiss in the video are these two, dropped in mid-frame like out of someone else’s music video?

And what about the lyrics?

Boom Boom, pull me a beer
No pretty drinks, I’m a guy out here
Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ money like a pimp
My B I T C H’s on my d*ck like this
Boys, come say what you wanna
Boys, you need to lick my dollar
Boys, gettin’ hot under the collar

Is she “reclaiming” the language of “bitches,” “pimps,” and “on my dick,” or does the manufactured packaged oversexed pop-shiny veneer of her presentation derail any potential progressiveness? If it’s inherently degrading to use that language at all, then what language should she use? Could a pop song handle a message more nuanced than “do it like a dude”? Is it even possible to be progressive AND dancey these days? Even Lady Gaga’s best songs are composed of tawdry one-liners like “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick.” Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R” rides #3 on the Billboard chart with“We’re dancing like we’re dumb-dum-duh-duh-duh dumb / Our bodies going numb-num-nuh-nuh-nuh numb / We’ll be forever young-yun-y-y-y young / You know we’re superstars / We R who we R.”

I think Jessie J pulls it off.

But let’s get to the real reason you’re reading this: is Jessie J gay?

Because to me, the queer sensibility of this video and the joke she’s making feels uniquely authentic. It “pings,” so to speak, and the dancers ping like how Heather Cassils pings in Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.”

So we’re going to tentatively go with “yes.” From lesbian site The Most Cake:

… yes – you guessed correctly. Jessie J is one of us; a big lezzie lesbo. Well, officials have not broached the subject yet but that promo, those haircuts, and the fact that her girlfriend is in the video (#musicinsiderconfirmed) all point to one big dykadelic conclusion.

A recent Contact Music article, as quoted on ONTD, refers to Jessie as an “openly-gay 22 year old,” but that sentence seems to be removed from the original article which it cites:

The fast rising pop singer – who has previously penned hits for Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keyes, and Chris Brown – said she wrote her first release in 15 minutes as a reaction to the songs she kept hearing on the TV at the time.

She said: “At the time I felt that the chart was very auto-tune heavy. There was a lot of guys with their trousers down by their knees and their neck chains so heavy they couldn’t hold their head up.

“And I just went into the studio and they played a beat and I just started singing, ‘Do it like a brother, do it like a dude’.

“And it was a joke, I was laughing. I said ‘let’s write a joke song’. And within 15 minutes it was done.”

Jessie, the openly gay  22 year old, also said she kept Rihanna in mind when she wrote the track, and feels that it has “her swag”.

More importantly, there’s nothing anywhere on the internet that even addresses Jessie dating ANYONE, man or woman. I’ve been writing about lesbians/pop culture for a long-ass time and generally that kind of exclusion almost always indicates homosexuality.

Does it matter? Is it fair to speculate? I endeavour to suggest that YES, it does matter. Music isn’t like acting. Music is generally accepted as autobiographical to a certain extent — Katy Perry could play a lesbian in a movie, but we don’t want to see her singing about kissing girls on an album. Raise your glass to us or shut up.

It matters because as a community we’re pretty fucking sick of seeing our sexuality appropriated by straight people to meet their own (financial) ends and this song tastes different when viewed as one more straight girl’s tacky re-appropriation.

But if she’s gay, then we can forgive her overblown machismo lyrics and trust the familiar underlying message: it’s just like our own jokey reactions to men claiming lesbians can’t REALLY have sex.

But maybe “Do It Like a Dude” won’t even be Jessie J’s most dyke-friendly single. Who You Are, a relatively generic devotional to self-expression and self-love which starts out acoustic and breaks into a Beautiful-esque pop ballad, offers a less potentially problematic message that’ll ring true for queers all over. It’s obviously about compromising your true (GAY!) identity to please others:

I stare at my reflection in the mirror…
Why am I doing this to myself?
Losing my mind on a tiny error,
I nearly left the real me on the shelf …
“no,no, no, no…”

Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart
Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising
Just be true to who you are

Brushing my hair, do I look perfect?
I forgot what to do to fit the mould
The more I try, the less it’s working
‘cos everything inside me screams: no, no, no, no, no, no, no

That’s the one you can play in the car after coming out to someone mean who doesn’t understand how awesome it is that you can do it like a dude.

* Thanks to Nicole S. for the tip!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3178 articles for us.


    • interesting, i didn’t get that part. i guess i was too busy trying to learn how to knit and bobbing my head up and down.

      however, i assume it’s a prostitute reference. maybe? i don’t know.

    • def not a prostitute reference
      i think she’s saying like “bow down to my economic self-reliance”

      • this.
        is why you’re the writer and analysis,
        and i’m not.

        i thought it was her ability to obtain an income without having to be a prostitute. i took it pretty literal.

    • I was thinking it was meant as an insult as opposed to a sexual reference, like how “Suck my dick!” or “Eat me!” are used pejoratively. I could be wrong though…

    • Apparently it’s the female equivalent of “suck my dick”.
      It’s like slang. From England.

    • maybe her dollar is in reference to money maker and sexualizing it with lick. what else can we lick? hmmmmmmm. Maybe her moneymaker is her p***y.

      p.s. I don’t care for the song or video buuut I’m prolly going to like her eventually. I c her everywhere now. it’s only a matter of time.

      • like IT. I meant, I’ll prolly like the song/vid eventually after a couple more runs.

        As far as her. She got a dope look, seemingly unapologetic about being herself, and is an unconfirmed-by-jesse-herself lez. What more can you ask for?

          • You know what? I officially LOVE the vid now. lol.

            I’m still learning I can’t take everything so seriously and give someone such a heavy duty such as representing me and/or the entire lesbian community.

            In music, in language, sometimes you have to appropriate that language to reach that audience. Use common societal references to get your point across. Besides that, there have been plenty of times when I just can’t take the idea of my normative role based on my gender/sex anymore and want to bust into a ball bustin’, gangsta-ass dyke that doesn’t give a hell. Of course, that can lead into a whole other issue of reinforcing another stereotype.

            The vid might be a little over the top but I’m so glad to have it. I’ll take it as not a challenge to all the dudes out there that we can do it like them but a statement that we already do. Because dammit, it’s not a dude, thing. It’s just a side of humanity.

            Thanks for the post that allowed me to give the vid and song a second chance.

            I LOVE RIHANNA and it helped a little that it was meant for her. I can so see her rock this one, too.

    • Perhaps she’s referring to a dollar coin. If that’s the case, then I think her implications would be to her genitalia.

  1. While I get the feeling that I’m going to hate this song, I love and appreciate the intelligent, well thought out article.

    … also, can I please not lick anyone’s dollar? There are so many better things in this world to lick.

  2. better than katy perry is about all i can say for it as of yet. its, i dont know. its not as feminist as it wants to be.

    • This.

      I think the lyrics are somewhat misogynistic, but it at least feels authentic. Definitely better than Katy Perry.

  3. “And it was a joke, I was laughing. I said ‘let’s write a joke song’. And within 15 minutes it was done.”

    I think that ^ is important. She’s not saying, “yeah, girls should totally treat each other disrespectfully like dudes do!” Sometimes it’s fun to pretend you’re an asshole and talk about bitches on your dick! And even if pop stars’ songs are generally autobiographical, I think what they say about their music in interviews definitely matters. One of my favorite things about Gaga is that she says something different in like every interview.

    And I’m not sure how I feel about holding pop stars/artists accountable for the implications of the messages in their songs, including when it comes to *subversive&queer or not subversive enough and therefore problematic*. Yes, Katy Perry is lame and has huge amounts of power over young girls everywhere right now and I hope she takes that seriously, but I don’t hate her for “I Kissed a Girl.” People criticize how the Spice Girls were marketed as safe, sexualized girl power but my counterpoint to that is always that they led me to other female artists who were more subversive and radical, and then feminism, etc.

    Also, on the Katy Perry exploiting girl-on-girl-ness…. I agree that this song tastes different when it’s coming from a girl who dates girls. I’m sure lots of straight people hate how their sexuality is projected in pop culture too, though. There are soo many people responsible for pop music culture — the many people at major labels who work for bottom lines, who have so much control over what the artists put out. Ok that might contradict my earlier point about artists saying what they want to say but!… I’m not mad at Jessie J and I think she seems pretty badass. Most things are problematic, but I’m going with mostly progressive here.

    • +1 everything you said. It sounded to me like a parody, mocking the machismo you often hear in gangsta rap – “oh look at me, with my rain of money and girl slaves on leashes”. Her response? “SUCK IT I’M NOT GONNA BE YOUR BITCH”.

  4. I’m not a huge fan of “Do It Like A Dude”, but enjoyed the video. I much prefer the other tracks on her album preview, she’s got a great tone and reminds me a little of P!nk in sound and style, and to some degree also in attitude and masculinity and the way she sorta pings. And you guys know how much I fucking love P!nk.

    I’ve sorta noticed that UK artists don’t get hounded about their orientation to the same extent that US artists do. I can think of a number of UK musicians who seem quite likely to be queer and yet they seem to be largely left alone by the media. Or maybe it just seems that way from this side of the world, idk.

    • I think you might be right. I’m not sure why though. People have much more of a fascination with wags, the royals, and who gained / lost weight than anyone’s sexual orientation. I guess it’s cool not to care now.

      Stiff upper lip and all that.

      “Do you know that (x) is a lesbian?”

      “Keep calm and carry on.”

      • I think they aren’t hounded bc in the uk gay people are allowed to get civil partnerships which although it’s not marriage it has the same rights and it has made the population more tolerant and accepting so it doesn’t seem important who they go to bed with. And I happen to think that the states are more interested in the royals. It’s not in the news nearly as much as it was when I was in the states here in England. Essentially us Brits don’t really give a shit about much lol were quite laid back.

  5. I have vague memory of submitting a 5am essay panicked formspring question about Jessie J, and now I wake up at 11.30pm to this amazing article. thankyou riese <3

    I'm still not sure how I feel about Do It Like a Dude. It just seems so different from most of her other music and it is what is being pushed really hard by vevo and such at the moment, the whole thing feels very manufactured somehow and whether she is gay or not and the 'message' as it were is genuine, it all feels fake and exploititive anyway. I don't know.

    Thankyou for this though.

    • someone posted the video on my facebook and right after seeing that (i’m bad at checking my facebook), i was on formspring and saw what i now know was YOUR request to talk about this video and i was like ok i should write about this video. i think i made that decision at like 3am, and then wrote it this morning from 10am to noon. SERVICE WITH A SMILE ALICE K, SERVICE WITH A SMILE

  6. This is perfect timing. After being assaulted enough by youtube I gave in and listened to Jessie J the other day. I came to the conclusion that it’s just another dumb pop song.

  7. Unfortunately, it did send the message “masculinity = man”, which I didn’t agree with.

    The video was odd. I got a Gaga feel that I only feel comfortable getting from Gaga.

    The blondes kissing seemed to send the opposite message that the video was trying to send. Okay, to be honest I don’t know what message it was trying to send. I don’t even know what I just watched.

    • There’s always a tricky line between mocking set stereotypes and reinforcing them. So, you’re right in saying that she does bring up an unpleasant association of men=strong, etc, but I think she’s doing it ironically to challenge that very convention.

  8. I will definitely be sharing this article with my “Gender, Sexuality, and Pop Culture” class next time it meets.

  9. She reminds me of Lady Gaga crossed with Nicki Minaj, with a little bit of Abby from NCIS thrown in for good measure.

  10. Amazing timing. I just heard this song on Capital FM (yes, I listen to overseas radio), immediately googled the artist, and found this article on AutoStraddle. Which just seems to make all the sense in the world.

    And this, THIS, is an extremely well written, well thought out, and well presented article, as per usual with AS, and with riese. Very thought-provoking.

    Thanks for stimulating…as usual.

  11. I liked the dancing (I really enjoy watching women in control of their bodies like that). It reminded me of the krumping women on the documentary “Rize” – powerful gazes, strong bodies, moving with purpose. Very sexy.

    The song? meh. :)

  12. I found out about jessie j a few months back and I fell in love with her voice. It brought me to tears.
    I have to say I like the video. It’s definitely lezzie eye candy and I’m definitely not complaining. It does have a certain authenticity to it that “pings” and I appreciate the high presence of non-white women as we are often left out of the lesbian light here in the US. I was also excited for the presence of masculine women (and therefore the heady combination that these two make: the Stud); All my friends know I love a good sexy stud and the dancer at 2:40 caught a suck-in-breath-bite-lip from me.
    As for the lyrics, yes they are not the most compelling or radical lyrics, but it is a pop song and their point is to be pop-ular. It’s fun and catchy and sex-ish.
    On a side note, I also checked out the acoustic version which showcases her singing talent and is sexier, in my opinion.

    • *ps.(my gravatar is a friend of mine, one those sexy Studs)

      Also, the one thing I did have a problem with was the two girls kissing. For one, I felt like the video was sexy enough that it didn’t even need a girl-on-girl kiss to give it that “wow” factor (or shock value.) And then, if girls must kiss, why is it that in all this sweaty powerful masculine aggressive women did it end up being to relatively safe femmes making out? We all know that that’s the only kind of lesbians allowed in the male fantasy, and since this song is eschewing that crap so strongly (Boys, say what you wanna) then I wonder why that needed to be there at all.
      Overall, I like the video and I like Jessie the person and the singer. We’ll hold out for Jessie the Product and Jessie the lesbian icon.

      • yeah, i agree. like i said in the article — that was the only part that annoyed me genuinely. those girls clearly weren’t at the music video shoot, it seems like something added in later. i was also excited by the presence of so many non-white masculine women and it seemed like such a cop-out for them to then drop two random blondes kissing in the middle of the video who we never saw before or after.

        • Something tells me that wasn’t Jessie’s artistic decision at all.
          I get the feeling some producer or perhaps even the director wanted to bring the video back to reality; male dominated, white standard of beauty reality. History has shown that when visuals (movies, music videos, even art) are mostly non-white they are considered “niche” and therefore don’t get too much coverage.
          I challenge that decision however. This vid definitely didn’t need it

        • After reading her quotes I didn’t see the two blondes kissing as a cop-out, I saw it more as a nod to the joking she is doing about the typical videos out there but that may be my wishful thinking. With that said, it is also likely that Eje is right and the producer/director thoght ‘this is all well and good but something is missing..”

    • While I, as a woman of color, LOVE to see brown girls present and accounted for; when I put on my media literacy glasses I see the stud and butch women in this video as less of a representation of society’s Eurocentric/dominant culture idea of “masculinity” and more one of the “gangsta-thuglife” stereotypical low SES black people variety. Why must 95%+ of the masculine women in the video be brown wearing “wife beater” shirts, doo-rags, and sagging their pants? Tight boxes we have to fit it…tight boxes.

      Oh, and one of the kissing girls pops up for a few secs around the 1:14 mark (just saying).

      But don’t get me wrong…I like the song and video and I am loving Jessie J and can’t wait to here more. I came across the Do It Like A Dude acoustic video on youtube a few months back and spent the rest of the day on her channel and googling her (that is a verb now, ha!).

  13. Hmm..

    There’s something very Khloe Kardashiany about this chick its making me resist acknowledging her credibility as an artist.. :/

  14. So nothing about how she’s completely appropriating the patois she uses here? How she’s not really saying she can do it like a dude, but that she can do it like a *black dude*, and given how absolutely, surpassingly white she is, that’s kind of problematic?

    • That’s funny. I’m so desensitized to that ish now. It’s so rare that I can actually listen to Black pop and not feel degraded and assaulted that I think the White version can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered. If she were black the song would probs be Do It Like A N**** and I just cannot abide that. (I don’t have a blanket No sign on the n word but I damn sure wouldn’t have downloaded it from iTunes like I just did.)

      I also just downloaded Black Cards earlier, Pete Wentz’s pet project. Another white girl with a great voice, island beats over pop and bass.

    • Actually you make a good point there, at “do it like a brother.” About the patois, a friend of mine is Jamaican and she says she didn’t find offense because Britons and Jamaicans culture tends to mix. I can’t speak further on that as I am uninformed.
      Yet viweing her and her personality she seems to have a bit of soul in her.
      And you make a point there as there are definitely a cornucopia of studs in the video

    • I think it’s important to note that she originally wrote the song for Rihanna (or at least I saw that somewhere online, not sure if it was mentioned in this article) so I think that’s why she says things like “do it like a brother.”

      But also it does seem like she has “a little soul in her” as Eje said I think it’s VERY problematic when we start saying that it’s not okay for white girls to make songs like this that incorporate more of the black culture. If that’s who she is and that’s what she likes then that’s fine. If by her future songs and interviews it’s clear that this is disingenuous then I think that becomes just as problematic as if a straight person had written the song in an effort to appropriate the lgbt culture. But as she’s still a relatively new artist I don’t think it’s up to us to make that decision on who she is.

      As a black person who has always had to the straddle the line between not acting “too white” among my black friends or “too black” among my white friends I always think it’s vastly inappropriate to say that it’s inherently “problematic” for someone to act in the manner typical of another race because then you’re alluding to a whole set of stereotypes and prejudices that we shouldn’t really be endorsing and discouraging the freedom of expression that everyone should be allowed.

  15. Before I can even get to my feelings on this, what the fuck is on her lips? Rhinestones? How do you apply rhinestones to your mouth? At one point, it looked like a weird colored catepillar had fixed itself to her lips. It was distracting.

    Okay, I like certain aspects of this video. I can’t at all complain about a video full of attractive stud and butch women. Ever. I love that every single woman in this video owned their space. I love that defiant, unapologetic, fuck-you look. Using all the attitudes and behaviors that are okayed and even expected from men, she’s placed women in a role that is considered taboo in society just because we are women.

    On the other side, does the video suggest that we have to live up to being “as important” as men by adapting typically “male” roles, or does it suggest that we as women can do whatever the fuck we want including taking what are considered “male” roles if we so choose? Knowing that she considered it a “joke” song makes me feel like she’s making fun of the misogynist culture of pop music rather than aspiring to it.

    • One more thing. The meat. The meat that is being cut, no sawed, into pieces. Symbolic? Of breaking down gender barriers? Destroying the misogyny? Is it supposed to be a phallic symbol? Someone help me out here.

      • My friends and I were asking about that. Why all the pig feet?
        I think it’s because when artistic directions think girls are portraying masculinity it means they gotta be aggresively secy but also a little dirty. Well, very dirty, and sweaty. I’m going to go off of that and say those are things that we often consider manly and masculine, which goes right into the meat. Meat is considered a masculine food. Steak commercials and grills and anything meat related (especially red meat) is marketed towards men. So maybe the sweat and the meat were claiming those societally masculine traits for themselves.

        ps. I feel like I’ve officially been on this thread too much lol

        • I thought the meat might have been another aspect of taking on the masculine role, but it seemed slightly out of place in the club scene for some reason. Maybe not. I’ll go watch it a fourth time and see what I think. Thanks. :)

        • Ahhh, pig’s feet, is that what those were? I kept thinking they were ummm… “prairie oysters” ifyaknowwhatimean. ;)

          In related news, this song has been stuck in my head all damn day. I’m not particularly bothered, but it’s been going on 36 hrs now so it’s getting a bit ridic. :P

    • You can glue jewels onto your lips, or anywhere else on your face/body with eyelash adhesive. But like vajazzling, it’s really only good for show…and not for sexy fun times.

  16. Jessie J = Jessica Cornish = singer of Sexy Silk? I have good memories of scream-singing that song in my friend’s truck.
    She has a set of lungs. Sexy Silk showcases them (sorta. In a way) Like a Dude does not.

    • Yes!…LOVE that song. Sexy Silk which was featured in the movie Easy A. I was watching the movie and when that song came on I said to my gf “I think I like that song” then the next day…BAM! Jessie J on my youtube sing the acoustic version of Do It Like A Dude in someones living room. I think the stars were aligned.

  17. have issues with possible appropriation of Black masculinty (do it like a brother? okay what are the implications of that…? does this tie into stereotypes of Black men as being hypersexualized?) unless it’s different in the UK. IDK I’m not from there.

    that said, found chords online and already trying to figure out how an acoustic cover will sound.

  18. I really liked her Youtube channel – this feels atypical? I mean, I really like the video & maybe I’m in a slightly different dimension viewing it stylistically as largely androgynous instead of masculine. I don’t like the song, I mostly side with it being “fetishized pop” – despite her writing it I think there is a reason for it to be the first major release & I don’t think that reason is congruent to the talent involved.

    Similar to what Alice K said a few comments up.

    It’s just an odd work to be put out there first & not because of the content/morality but because of how the content is delivered vocally & who Jessie J seems to be both musically & as a person in general. I really hope she has a chance to show the world her genuine talent via mass media.

    • You said it better than I was trying to. I was linked to one of her vid’s not long ago ( ) which impressed me…so was mega confused when I looked up some of her other stuff and listened to “Do It Like A Dude” and it’s all auto-tuned and over produced. As you said, doesn’t quite match.

      As for the other content in the song…it’s like, I see where she was going but it doesn’t sit right.

  19. I actually really like Jessie J and this song. She’s from Essex, like me, therefore she is awesome ;D But no, seriously, her voice is amazing. ‘Do It Like A Dude’ doesn’t really showcase her amazing vocal abilities. I’ve heard other songs from her yet to be released album and ‘Price Tag’ is definitely a great song, probably my fave so far.

    Whether or not she’s gay, I have no idea. I heard about her having a girlfriend a few months ago, but as soon and she’s become famous and popular now in the UK it hasn’t been brought up by any tabloids or anything. Maybe her team are trying to keep her sexuality on the low, which would be rubbish and very Nicki Minaj-like.

    Seriously though, ‘Do It Like A Dude’ is so catchy! I’ve even got my mum singing along to it ALL THE TIME now. Awesome.

  20. First off, this is a good article. Second, no mention of who someone is dating really does indicate gayness. I’m glad you pointed that out.

    “But does singing that she can do ‘it’ ‘like a dude’ just play into the idea that a thing must be ‘male’ to be valid?”


    “Or can ‘dude’ be a term independent of its ascribed meaning — is she going Butler on us by employing ‘dude’ as an adjective encompassing “male” traits like strength/power/aggression, freeing the term from its traditional application as a noun for ‘person with penis’?”

    If Jessie J had that intention, I will eat this keyboard.

    “Can the master’s tools ever dismantle the master’s house?”

    No, and let’s just go head and include a little more of that quote to see why:

    ‘For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support.’

    This song can make a few people feel better temporarily, like junk food, and that’s about it.

    “If it’s inherently degrading to use that language at all, then what language should it use?”

    It isn’t inherently degrading. Bikini Kill’s “Suck My Left One” shows how to do it a different way.

    “Could a pop song handle a message more nuanced than ‘do it like a dude’?”

    Yes. Nelly Furtado’s “Powerless” is an example.

  21. When I first saw this video a couple months ago I had many of these thoughts but not as well articulated and then I just succumbed to the beat and listened it on repeat for about a week. I know, I know, I’m a bad person.

    • if you’re a bad person, then i’m guilty also. i’m ready to make this song my ringtone, its fucking addicting.

      also, i wish i could dance. i almost pulled a muscle trying to do that arm thing she keeps doing.

  22. I feel like I could really get into Jessie J as an artist. This song though, not so much. I pretty much completely agree with this article. Once again. Especially the part about the pretty blondes being the only ones making out in the video. It seems so out of place.

  23. woah.. this is i kissed a girl times infinity.. need to process/swallow/ponder this. brb

  24. I decided to hear those weird “boy” addressed lines as “boi” and can now sort of enjoy this song more

  25. Jessie has explained her meaning of the song in numerous interviews. Basically, it’s a p*ss take of all those gangsta wannbee guys in nightclubs who act like they’re gods gift. It’s an interesting take on the song though and quite possibly the real meaning… its hardly a subtle video.

  26. The song is a pisstake or the sort of songs and videos some guys release for real, as some users have said above.

    And yes, she is gay and I love her <3

  27. I don’t like the song very much even though I know it is meant as a pisstake, but I do like the video and that she is gay. I fear this song is going to annoy the crap out of me every time I go to a club now.

  28. This is going to make an excellent song to run/exercise to, which is what I usually use pop music for.

  29. i got a message on plentyoffish [ololol] in november and the girl was like, ‘check out this song! i’m obsessed!’
    and i did
    and i also became obsessed
    but i never replied ;(

    brilliant article, sew happy she’s on yr radar, thrilled that her gf being in the video wasn’t just a baseless rumour, etc <3

  30. There’s always a tricky line between mocking set stereotypes and reinforcing them. So, you’re right in saying that she does bring up an unpleasant association of men=strong, etc, but I think she’s doing it ironically to challenge that very convention, which partially excuses that.

  31. The fact that the refrain is “I can grab my crotch, wear my hat low like you” — so incredibly silly that I think the silliness must be self-conscious — that THESE are the signifiers of the “masculinity” she’s claiming rather than any kind of power or sex appeal — and her goofy, exaggerated facial expressions make me very inclined to believe her when she’s quoted as saying that the song was dashed off as a joke. The message I get from it is not “I can be as awesome as you, dudes” but “I can be as ridiculous as you, dudes, it’s not that hard.”

    I find this style of pop pretty awful — does everyone just hate melody now or something? is it just passe — but I don’t have, y’know, any ideological problems with it, I think.

    • right? it’s totally believable that she wrote it in 15 minutes. i think it’s intending – autotune included – to ape the style of the pop and hip pop that’s been so popular for the last little while and which i can not WAIT to see go. overproduced beats, lyrically lazy, autotuned to oblivion… which helps me digest this because it’s so ridiculous and if you listen to her other songs she obviously doesn’t need to be autotuned

  32. I wonder if anyone stops to think… maybe it isn’t THAT deep. Sometimes, it’s not.

    We think too much ladies.

  33. I think way too much thought is going into the lyrics.It ain’t that deep. Sometimes when you write a song, particularly a pop song, all you need is a catchy chorus. Because that’s all people hear at first. Then you just fill the verses in with shit along the same lines. Its a formula thing. That’s why ballads have mostly have meaningful lyrics and dance songs make no sense half the time, you’re too busy dancing to give a shit if is makes sense, and with ballads, they go so slow you can’t help but try and figure out what it means.

    But seriously, no excuse for Party in the USA. NONE. Well, I guess she made a ton of money, so she’s excused, but only 50% excused. FIFTY PERCENT.

  34. to be honest i love this video? i think the dancers are hot and i think it’s subversive but maybe i’m easy to please — i was expecting a lot more angry queer feminist vadge-rage from y’all, but i think we can have a dance party now

    • Preeeetty much my thoughts after watching it a few times. I was like..really Stars, it’s ok to like this. She’s overall pretty fucking awesome and

      Let’s dance it out people! I’ll bring the smoke machine.

    • I’ve been watching this on repeat forever since i downloaded it on November 23rd, 2010 at 10:03 PM. BIG fan of the girl with her hand down her pants. Jus’ sayin.
      Also, I thought the whole idea of the video was “Yeah, we’re girls, but we CAN do the same things as men do, and we’ll DO them.” Less of an “I can be as good as a man” theme, and more “We can all look tough-as-nails and dance weird and fuck whoever we want, penis or not.”

      But that’s only if you can get past the superhot girls and Jessie’s really crazy eyes.

    • I also love this video, in a hilarious/ infectious/ can’t-get-it-out-of-my-head-and-not-just-because-of-the-crazy-lips sort of way.

  35. Ignoring that Hannah-Montana-song-that-shall-not-be-named, Jesse J seems like a genuinely talented artist – both with songwriting and vocally. At least this song gets her name out there. It’s catchy and already has people talking about it.

    I first heard Jesse J sing an unforgettable acoustic cover. And while it was an INCREDIBLE version, in today’s music industry, unless you have some trendy hypersexualized music video to go with a cohesive image, the majority of the audience won’t care enough to become fans. And who am I to complain about a bunch of sexy women.

  36. I say, yes! “bitch on my dick” sounds way better to me coming from a woman. I love the song, and I think its popularity would do more good than harm for society’s treatment of gender. I also agree with owls that I hear not “I can be as powerful as a man” but rather “I can be as ridiculous as a dude.” Nice analysis, Riese.

  37. I’m a little upset at Riese and Autostraddle for posting this before there’s even a DATE for Jessie J’s album release. I can’t tell yet if I like her or not; but, if her album comes out after Gaga’s, I probably won’t.

    Thanks for bringing this interesting creature to my attention.

  38. Okay, so I have been cracked out watching her youtubes ever since you posted this. And I jsut have to say OMG watch her acoustic shit. She is thebombdotcom. I want to have her children or something.
    I submit for your review:
    The acoustic cover of the aforementioned song/vid contain herein this article:
    a song called Pricetag:
    and humbly suggest that you explore the beautiful world that is Jessie J. Thanks.

  39. Wow, okay, long thread definitely a little intimidating for a first timer like me, but honestly I liked the video. The song and the video turns the stereotype of a macho man getting all the chicks with his swagger up on its ass. I mean, nobody is perfect, and for this being such a controversial issue (especially in music videos) I think she did this pretty well.

  40. Maybe I’m just old. I thought it was crap. I don’t really have any deeper thoughts on it than that.

  41. After a couple days of watching and deciding, I think I’m down with this. I’m a classical musician and don’t often listen to this type of hyper-stylized autotuned pop, but I’d rather hear a genderfucking tune like this than most of the absolutely unintelligible trashbag pop out there. To me this feels like flexing way more than anything else. Aggro butches YAY for sure. But I definitely love a really beautiful femme-y woman who can rock sort of an underlying masculine vibe. Maybe that’s just me.
    Also, that acoustic version is rad–all oddities about flexing with jazz suspensions aside. Really sexy timbre to her voice and bitchin’ control.

  42. You know what? I officially LOVE the vid now. lol.

    I’m learning I can’t take everything so seriously and give someone such a heavy duty such as representing me and/or the entire lesbian community.

    In music, in language, sometimes you have to appropriate that language to reach that audience. Use common societal references to get your point across. Besides that, there have been plenty of times when I just can’t take the idea of my normative role based on my gender/sex anymore and want to break into a ball bustin’, gangsta-ass dyke that doesn’t give a hell.

    I feel like it’s not a challenge thrown out to dudes to show we can do it but but a statement that we already do and do it well. We are in the throes transforming and creating new meanings and I hope that this is one in the line of many to come that will help transform thinking from sexuality or gender to just humanity as a whole.

    PLUS: I’m so glad to finally see ball bustin, gangsta-ass dykes in a video who aren’t too corny. #eyecandy

  43. Ok, the lyrics are absurd.
    But, I was not expecting that sound/flavor to come out of that girls pipes.

    Weird, but she reminds me of a mix between lady gaga (with the weird costumage and such) and Rhianna (with that wonderful powerful voice).

    Thumbs up for possibly a great new sound emerging. Thumbs down for these crappy lyrics.

  44. All I can think is….throw her back over the fence, we deserve better music….

    But that’s just the snob in me…

  45. Question: how does someone “ping”?

    (asked because I hardly ever seem to ping anyone no matter what I do)

    • Good question. I can’t answer it, because I don’t know how the inner mechanisms of it work. I ping if I am read as a woman, but not if I am read as a man. That’s all the info I have.

  46. The video is, well, interesting. However, the song is terrible. Earplugs will be required at Pride this summer.

  47. My friend photographed her the other day (Jan 10th 2011) and I quote what he said when he asked her ‘She said she ‘wasnt sure’ I seem to remember’ So who knows. Lol

  48. update: I just listened to some of her other stuff. And, I gotta say, her other stuff is awesome.

  49. Ok so I have to agree I lust the dancers…. Hey you guys should check out the Rihanna video “Ti Amo”

  50. from Lindsay Lohan’s twitter: “lindsaylohan: MUST HAVE DOWNLOAD! Jessie J “Do It Like A Dude” love her!”

  51. Ironic given your analysis that you use the abhorrent term “wifebeater” without comment. STOP USING IT. There are enough terms for articles of clothing without using this term which diminishes and trivalizes domestic violence.

  52. The person that rote this was clearly homophobic and is very rude.
    No i does not matter if jessie j is gay or not it doesn’t change her music or personality. It’s her choice and nothing to do with anyone else.

  53. “See love doesn’t choose a boy or a girl, nope
    When I met you, you hugged my heart and filled my world
    So you can stare – I don’t care
    You’re the one ain’t going nowhere
    So fuck it Im’a be honest with you”

    Lyrics from the song L.O.V.E on her album. YOU KNOW IT.

  54. she clearly states on youtube that love doesnt choose a boy or a girl….. so my opinion she is bisexual i dont see why theres always a massive spectical over her sexuality…. yeah shes got a girlfriend if you type in jessica cornishes girlfriend there are two pictures on there with her and jess x

  55. You can see Kira, her gf/ex, alot more on Jessie J’s Dare Episodes, but only second’s at a time :(

  56. not sure how I feel about the song or the video, but I do know Jessie J is hot!! omg, the black hair gets me every time!

  57. Who gives a fuck if she’s bi, gay, straight, whatever? She is who she is and she loves who she is I don’t blame her. I would love myself for who I and no matter how hard, no one could ever change that. So who cares? The women if great and she’s great at what she does. I’m lesbian. Hell I’d take her any day. She has an amazing voice and she’s beautiful.

  58. First thought in my head when I saw it (aside from holy shit! Those lips! and, Can I touch the shaved part of your head?) was that this thing is queering the hell out of an established scene of guys posturing like, well, I’ll let ya’ll decide for yourselves what to compare it to…

    PS read the first harry potter book today

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  63. Timely piece . I was fascinated by the insight . Does someone know where I would be able to locate a blank Pimp My Ride International Application Form version to type on ?

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  65. The idea of domesticated people makes me think of The Time Machine, where humanity had diverged into two groups, a society of effeminate idle people, and the cannibalistic under-dwellers who feed on them and provide them with material goods. Except in such an extreme sense I can’t see “domesticated people” being applicable in the sense you’re using it.

  66. The idea of domesticated people makes me think of The Time Machine, where humanity had diverged into two groups, a society of effeminate idle people, and the cannibalistic under-dwellers who feed on them and provide them with material goods. Except in such an extreme sense I can’t see “domesticated people” being applicable in the sense you’re using it.

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