Anyone who's been in our store has seen and reveled in the message of girl power- both explicit and implicit. On the wall behind the cash wrap, the prolific saying “Women of The World Unite" frames the shop in its power. The concepts of girl power, femininity and feminism itself are forever growing, forever changing, and forever dynamic. It's always a little difficult to find yourself in the hurricane of rhetoric surrounding these concepts. Girl power, femininity, and feminism have intersections, as well as being separate things on their own. Through art and media, it can be overwhelming to find a voice or see a vision, that resonates with you and the issues you hold dear. When it comes to music, this gets much more complicated.

I have seen music video after music video this summer from the impressive womxn killing the craft. From SZA to Kesha, this has been a great season for the necessary affirmation the international femme population needs. But there's a name on this list that you may not have heard of- Dua Lipa. British pop star, international cutie, and a definite woman on a mission; her recent video release for the song New Rules is a show stopper. The song alone is great, but once the video dropped, it became apparent that Lipa is doing work worthy of some serious analysis.

You can call New Rules just another catchy pop song, but I think that would just be very reductive. What Lipa and her team were able to create functions much more as a call to community, to femme-friendship, and collective power. It's easy to argue that the lyrical trope of an unreciprocated love is both cliche and overdone, but the point of this music video goes beyond that initial criticism. Lipa is able to show, in a broader context, why lamenting about such romantic strife is important to both her, as well as her community of girls.

A song that could very easily be an ego trip about a lost love actually becomes a song about womxn helping womxn. Even more fascinating, it also insinuates that the best way, maybe the only way, to get over something like a heart break is through the emotional and physical help of a diverse group of womxn: a very different message than the common ones perpetuated in our love culture- which often idealize loneliness, abusive behavior, and martyrdom in the name of love.

The video presents a broader range of womxn than we are used to seeing in the music industry. On top of the diversity, the girl gang doesn't function as side dancers or props, they are not objectified into being viewed as less than Lipa. They are crucial to the storyline of the video, helping fulfill its overall message of friendship and accountability. This is showcased through the fact that Lipa shifts from protagonist to side dancer by the music videos end, when one of the girls learns to deal with the same unreciprocated love.

The progressive contextual elements, coupled with the fantastic production value and fresh art direction, prove Lipa's artistry. There is something very eerie, yet familiar, about seeing all these young women, who may look different and face various levels of strife, physically sing the tune of overcoming an emotional obstacle. It is every giggle fest you had in your elementary school bathroom, every sleep over we had at 15, every group chat we chime into at 22, transformed into a video that shows why those social institutions matter: for every evolution of femininity, we need New Rules, it is through such social institutions that those rules get created.

I vehemently disagree with the idea that pop music is repetitive or boring, that it is shallow and intellectually dull. Dua Lipa is part of an artistic tradition that holds fast the sentiment of dancing to your liberation- emotional and physical. Lipa’s success is an indicator of the genre’s ever dynamic potential and ever challenging content. New Rules gives a voice to women not exactly sure how to navigate the hurricane of rhetoric around being a girl, allowing femme human beings to be comfortable in their collective romantic insecurity, and showing that you can make your own rules to overcome it. We take those New Rules with pride. While it's true the revolution will be televised; we should also remember it has come with and will continue to be accompanied by, thank's to artists like Lipa, some dope ass beats.

Words by: Suraiya Ali