Who Knew Sexual Freedom and Gender Identity Come in Pink?

Despite being released nearly forty years apart from one another, the music and videos of “I Want To Break Free” by Queen and “PYNK” by Janelle Monáe criticize the cultural norms of heterosexuality and traditional perceptions of gender in each artists’ respective decade with the use of a hollow sonic space created by thin vocal and instrumental timbres, and sexualized campy visuals. Additionally, the homogenous representation of gender displays non-heterosexual power in rock and pop, using camp and nudity in a same-gender group to challenge notions of sexuality and gender in both the 1980s and the late 2010s.

Image of “pussy pants” in “PYNK.” Screenshot from “PYNK” by Janelle Monáe music video.