I’ve always kind of liked her. She’s funny, she sings well, she’s made some good music. She used to be curvy (not so much now). I don’t remember any scandal involving her. And then a friend alerted me to the video clip of her new single, “Crazy”.
Oh my goodness.
In case you can’t see the clip, I will describe it for you. Ricki-lee plays a sexy patient / nurse / psychiatrist in a psychiatric hospital. in various states of undress, including a very interesting take on a straight jacket, she (and other female dancers – no guys) undulates to the track in that quasi-sex way seen very often in music videos today. Sometimes she is restrained (straps tying her to the ground). And once she tries to make a run for it. All the while, she seems to be having fun – because, after all, “it’s a party going on” . Ricki-lee, or whoever decided that this would be a good idea for video clip – you are wrong.
I’m disgusted. Hurt. Outraged.
Let’s forget, for the minute, that the lyrics and the performance in the clip have absolutely nothing to do with each other – a travesty in and off itself – or that the dance moves and costuming are completely unoriginal (skimpy and sexy have been done. A LOT.). No, the real problem here is how the clip effects the view of mental ill-health and psychiatric hospitalisation in the wider community.
I have been hospitalised twice for my mental ill-health. The first time, in 2006, was in a locked ward much like the one portrayed in the video clip. It wasn’t fun, in fact it was pretty much the opposite. I was scared – of myself, of others, of the endless screaming and crying. It was horrific, but it kept me safe at time when logical thought was not a very big part of my day. The nurses were actually pretty friendly – they tried to help us understand what was happening and how we were going to get well from this point. Straight jackets and forcible restraint was never used, although seclusion for the immediate physical protection of self and other did occur.
I say this because mental ill-health and hospitalisation is not fun. It’s not a party. It’s most definitely not sexy. And to portray it as such is grossly misleading and ludicrous. To add in restraints like straight jackets further fuels stigma – it says that people with mental health disorders are dangerous and must be restrained, like wild animals. It’s just not right, it’s not fair, it’s not who I am and I don’t want that message being spread about me and other people like me.
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