In 1999, “Thong Song” was a landmark hit, not just for hip-hop artist Sisqo, but for the lingerie industry as a whole. The man who brought us “dumps like a truck” was responsible for putting G-strings back on the map. But while “Thong Song” remains a rousing power anthem, its butt-in-your-face music video actually gets a lot wrong about women in general.
Let’s start at the prologue. Sisqo’s precocious young daughter finds a red thong, which prompts Sisqo to hurry to the beach, where an army of women are disembarking from buses arriving from around the nation. Um, excuse me? Sorry, Sisqo, but even in 1999, women were allowed to ride buses with men, according to my sources at the Department of Transportation. Additionally, none of the women seem to have brought any bags, despite coming from as far away as Chicago and New York. According to Betsy Gilbert, a retail associate at a Brookstone, “Women will generally pack at least one bag for a cross-country trip.”
As the song progresses, Sisqo dances by a long row of bikini-clad women sunning on beach towels. But contrary to what this music video director may believe, women are highly unlikely to organize in such an isolating formation. “Women are social creatures,” says Dr. Frank Antin, an anthropologist at NYU. “Their tendency toward prolonged interaction would compel them to cluster their beach towels, as opposed to laying them out in one sexy line.”
As Sisqo’s dance routine evolves into a pyramid, he leaps several feet into the air, running across the outstretched hands of the women below him. “It’s unlikely that the women would hold up their hands under the weight of a grown man in such a manner that would invariably result in injury.”
As the chorus kicks in, then repeats as Sisqo “think[s] I’ll sing it again,” it’s suddenly nighttime and a stage has appeared before the women, now all on their feet, hips gyrating. Not one of them seems unnerved by this. Sisqo and his friends, dressed in matching white tops and cargo shorts, manage to woo several of the dancing women despite looking like hype men at a poolside bar-mitzvah. Additionally, all of the bathing suits glow in the dark. But according to Denise Marks, who’s been to the beach in Miami before, that “doesn’t really happen.”
Although the hit song has been perceived as a booty-poppin’ fun-fest for the past fifteen years, “Thong Song” is finally starting to show its cracks – and we’re not just talking about a woman’s buttocks. From the outfit choices, to the unrealistic dance routines, to the use of cowboy hats at night, “Thong Song” just gets it all “wrong, wr-wrong-wrong-wrong” about women.