In the pursuit of women’s rights, animal rights, and just, you know, not being a total psychopath, Maroon 5 could not have taken a bigger step backwards. All eyes are on their disturbing new music video today, which has put a lot of viewers at a Blurred Lines level of disgust.
In the video for “Animals,” directed by Samuel Bayer (Nirvana, Justin Timberlake, Marilyn Manson), Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsesses over one of his customers. This unsuspecting female is played by Levine’s real life wife and Victoria’s Secret Model, Behati Prinsloo. After she comes into his shop to pick up a cut of meat, he begins aggressively stalking her. Crouching in the shadows, taking invasive photographs, watching her get undressed – it gets worse.
Levine strips down in a freezer and begins showering in blood as he fantasizes about her, all while wielding a meat hook and caressing big slabs of butchered livestock. The lyrics include lines like “Baby, I’m preying on you tonight / Hunt you down eat you alive” and “Maybe you think that you can hide / I can smell your scent from miles.” For some reason, the video does not include a scene of her going to the police and promptly getting a restraining order. She actually seems flattered when she starts to realize he is following her.
Here’s why it’s not okay. For now I will set aside the repulsively glamorous portrayal of animal harm and leave that to the experts. But I can definitely tell you that romanticizing the stalking, hunting, and murdering of women is not cute. I don’t care how much you are trying to “branch out” or “make a metaphor.” Everything about this is wrong.
How are they romanticizing it? With Levine’s washboard abs and a style of editing that is explicitly intended to be erotic. To put it bluntly, this video would be a lot less sexy if the person stalking her was unattractive. In fact, it would be really, really horrific.
Another huge problem here is the fact that Prinsloo’s character does not seem to take issue with his actions when she starts catching on. This detail, though small, is just another way of enforcing the same culture that says women should be flattered by catcalls, and sexual assault is actually a compliment.
While some fans have asserted the video is supposed to portray how creepy and bad stalking is to encourage people not to do it, I just can’t let that reasoning slide. First of all, we already know that stalking is creepy and bad. Second of all, that’s like eating a bunch of deep-fried Twinkies to encourage yourself to go on a diet. This video is horrible no matter how you slice it. Maroon 5, I am very disappointed.