Music video sidesteps sexist stereotypes

Published: 1 April 2015 at 13:32

Promo for debut Daisy and The Dark single is ‘sensual without being sexual’.

Cambridge filmmakers have tackled the issues surrounding gender politics and the objectification of women to produce a new music video which is “deeply sensual, without being sexual”.

The video for Daisy and The Dark’s debut single Waltzing is directed by BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker Dr Shreepali Patel, Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Production at Anglia Ruskin University, and photographed by cinematographer and former Anglia Ruskin academic Tim Sidell, who has worked with the likes of FKA Twigs, La Roux and Alt-J.

Daisy and the Dark is the new project of singer-songwriter Sarah Kayte Foster who, before going solo, spent time in the top 10 of the UK Classical Charts with the Mediaeval Baebes.

Sarah said:

“Shreepali and I began planning the Waltzing video straight after I’d filmed a live singing session with my former band. The session was for a newspaper known for their questionable portrayal of women and I turned up to our meeting still shuddering at one of the camera men telling me to ‘Look down the lens and imagine all the men watching’."

“This sparked off a discussion about the portrayal of women in music videos – and the challenge of creating something that’s deeply sensual, without being sexual – where the line between one ends and another begins, and how clearly that line can ever be drawn."

“We talked about the sensuality and claustrophobia in the lyrics of the song – which is about an experience in my early 20s – about how two people can end up stretching too far to connect over a long distance, be that geographical or emotional – and how violently vulnerable that feels.”

This theme is apparent in the dark dream-like video, the camera deftly tracing two bodies in close-up as cinematic light projections crawl under their skin. 

Shreepali said:

“I wove the story of Sarah’s song – and our interrogation into the relationship between music and gender politics – into my approach to filming. I was keen to explore projections and their mnemonic quality, particularly on the body, and this led to creating a shoot lit entirely by projections – minimalist, intimate and intense."

“There has been a great deal of discussion in the media about how female pop artists present themselves in order to sell records, but there was a clear consensus amongst everyone involved in this promo that there should be no ‘skin for skin’s sake’. "

“There is an equitable power balance between the two characters in the video and at no point is Sarah presented in a sexually submissive way. What you see is discreet and all relates back to the story of the song.”

The video was recorded in a studio at Anglia Ruskin, and the filmmakers were assisted by five students from the BA (Hons) Film and Television Production course. To view the video of Waltzing, visit