Music videos like that of “I’m Not The Only One” symbolize the subjugation brought about by infidelity. It creates a conflict between men and women, and creates a condition wherein women are victimized by the vicious problem of extra-marital relationships. In “I’m Not The Only One,” Sam Smith delivers a distressing video of how infidelity creates a gender divide. Unfortunately, the gender divide is not between men and women. Rather, it is a divide between two females: the wife and the mistress.
The video features the very beautiful yet utterly depressing portrayal of Dianna Agron. She plays the problematic wife trying to figure out the affairs of her husband, Chris Messina. Another woman, on the other hand, plays the exciting lover who messes with Dianna Agron’s aspirations of happily ever after. The two women in the video show varying levels of womanhood and the accompanying happiness that comes with it. While Dianna is the wife portraying the ideal setup of a happy marriage, the other woman shows that life is not perfect after all.
As the video progresses, Dianna was shown burning possessions presumably that of Chris’. At the end of the video, Dianna embraces her husband as an act of taking him back inspite of his infidelity. What happened to the burning of clothes? After all, it is just an act of protest from the part of Dianna. It is not an act of striving for freedom from the cause of her pain. Now, we ask. Why do women have to fight in order to win a man? It’s a double standard in the society, because women can never do the same, as they will be cursed if they do. In the video, it was shown that winning love could be achieved after a tough fight. An internal fight, that is. The woman must overcome her pain alone. She weeps because of her heartbreak. But she must move on because she loses if she does not. It must not be the case, though. Both sexes have to work for a relationship to succeed.
“I’m Not The Only One” shows how society normalizes cases of infidelity by men. No matter how much pain it has inflicted the woman; it should not matter because the man will return home. While the video can be seen as a critique to the mistress phenomenon, it can likewise be perceived as apathy towards male infidelity. Why does Dianna have to accept the man in the end? In a critical world, she should not be a martyr. She should have been a scorned wife ready for battle. What the world needs right now are not subjugated women, but progressive women who are liberators of the oppressed.
The video evokes so much feeling. Sam Smith’s delivery of the song matches the emotions the video requires. While the video does not show any resolution to infidelity, it shows how brutally cruel the world can be especially for women who experience the same fate as that of Dianna’s character. At the same time, it shows how convenient it is for men to fool their women and do as they please.
Empowerment is the key. While Sam Smith’s video does not project empowerment straightforwardly, it provokes the world to find empowerment within their humanity. Similarly, it suggests finding solutions from the collective aspirations of people for a just world both for men and women. In the end, no two women should fight for love. Real love, underneath it all, is true and will stay true even in the sea of temptations floating around.