Charli XCX's documentary for BBC 3, The 'F' Word And Me, (the 'f' word meaning 'feminism') is exactly what you would expect from a BBC documentary starring Charli XCX. She narrates the film, talks to her famous female friends in the industry, and takes us through her pop music upbringing.
At the moment, there is likely no better candidate for such a film. As she points out in the beginning of the documentary, Charli is a 23 year old singer who also writes music for other artists. She basically embodies what it means to be a young, female artist in music.
Whether Charli realises it or not, in the film, she perfectly voices how a lot of young women her age view feminism. Many of us didn't grow up reading The Feminine Mystique but we did have Britney Spears and The Spice Girls to teach us about "girl power". "Girl power" being a slightly vague, yet super important tenant of modern feminism.
I think Girl Power was my generation’s introduction to feminism.Charli XCX
Charli's views on feminism and her peers are also clearly intersectional--which is key. Intersectional feminism is the idea that feminist issues stretch beyond the needs and concerns of straight, white women. It's the belief that feminism must extend to queer folks and people of colour, as well. When she discusses the media reaction to Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money", it's clear that Charli is not here for the racist, sexist, bullsh*t that came along with the video's debut.
I think this film speaks to a bigger story. Rihanna is dismantling the idea of what a pop star should be, i.e. perfect, polished and usually white. She plays a Tarantino-esque hit woman with her very own girl gang. It’s a revenge fantasy. It’s a beautiful piece of art, but it’s also a powerful statement of intent. You can’t push me around and you can’t make me be what I’m not.Charli XCX
For a lot of girls who struggle with reconciling previously held beliefs and ideologies incompatible with intersectional feminism, Charli acknowledging that feminism (especially in the music industry) is super complex is so important.
i feel like the question 'whats it like to be a woman in the music industry' is annoying/complex but still necessary. this doc explores that— CHARLI XCX (@charli_xcx) November 20, 2015
Charli teamed up with the BBC to make sure an issue that is rarely talked about from the perspective of actual women in the industry gets air time on mainstream television. If that doesn't scream super rad feminist trailblazer, then I don't know what does.
If you want to see the full documentary, you can either watch it on the BBC website or on YouTube.