20 Music Videos with Girl/Girl Imagery from Sweetest to Most Exploitative

Preston Max Allen

It's time to talk about Halsey. The 20-year-old pop artist is rising to fame at record speed, and when you check out the music video for her song "Ghost," it won't be hard to see why. The video features a passionate, romantic relationship between two women set to Halsey's pulsing though lightly meloncholic beat, and Halsey herself isn't shying away from her bisexual identity. She talked candidly about her many identifiers with the New York Times earlier this month, and her openness and honesty is just as evident in her music. Halsey's debut album Badlands comes out on August 28th, and it's definitely one we'll be awaiting eagerly. Of course, "Ghost" is one of many fantastic videos featuring lesbian/bisexual imagery and we'd like to take a moment to applaud the collection, as well as side-eye those who use queer female imagery for seemingly exploitive purposes. But hey, at a certain point representation is representation, right? There's truly a lot to love here, a lot to question, and a lot to sing along to loudly regardless of our feelings. There are certainly some interesting videos in the world with some narratives (and lesbians) you may have never expected your favorite songs to have. Enjoy! 

 

1. "Ghost" - Halsey

Bright colors, swelling pop beats, and genuine sensuality. "Ghost" is doing all the right things. 

 

2.  "Girls Like Girls" - Hayley Kiyoko  

Hayley Kiyoko, another new young artist on the music scene, won us over with this beautiful and tear-jerking portrayal of young love going through tough times. This one was definitely a winner. 

 

3. "She Keeps Me Warm" - Mary Lambert

Oh, who doesn't love Mary Lambert? And who can stop themselves from singing that chorus right along with her? "She Keeps Me Warm" is pretty much a classic, and this video did it all sorts of justice.

 

 

4. "Another Story" - The Head and the Heart

Why do good music videos make us cry so often? In "Another Story," Pretty Little Liars' Troian Bellasario plays one half of a young couple in the '50s/'60s-ish that suffers a terrible tragedy and leaves us with many emotions. Maybe make sure a tissue's available before pressing play on this one. 

 

5. "Timebomb" - Tove Lo

Tove Lo's already great song got even better when the video showcased several couples, including a lesbian one, experiencing all sorts of intense feelings on a beach. We didn't expect to be so blown away by this video when it was released, yet here we are watching it over and over again. 

 

6. "Cool for the Summer" - Demi Lovato

Once again, like in Timebomb, all sorts of couples are shining equally. Everyone's living their best life in this rockin' video for Demi's summer single, and that's totally cool with us. 

 

7. "I Want to Be In Love" - Melissa Ethridge

Did you think this list would happen without Melissa Ethridge? Of course not. This video mostly ends up being about Jennifer Aniston and her eyeliner's quest to find the right man, but on the journey she meets many adorable gay girls who dance and party it up happily together. Did you really need to find that man, Jennifer? Everything seemed pretty great where you were already!

 

 

8. "I Don't Do Boys" - Ellektra

This video is hysterical for a few reasons. A) subtlety is dead and buried in this song and B) the narrative seems to be that those 'crazy lesbians' bring beer and corrupt all the innocent women. However, this video is nothing if not blunt and honest, not to mention wildly riddled with lesbian imagery. Trust her, she does not do boys. Ellektra also seems to make these kinds of videos a lot, so hey, we'll take them. 

 

9. "Summertime Sadness" - Lana Del Rey

Good lord, what is with these sad videos where cute couples take pictures/videos of each other and then one of them dies? Can this trend stop being a thing, because these music videos are just getting us too emotional. Who knew this was part of the narrative behind Lana Del Rey's 2013 single either? That might not have been her original intention with the song but it's working here, even if it's crushing us. 

 

10. "Le Disko" - Shiny Toy Guns

This is a pretty weird video, but at the core of it seems to be the story of a young woman in a dystopian future just trying to find her place in the world, or at least in this futuristic mostly-lesbian sex club. She gets close to romance, but then ultimately the night is ruined by people rejecting her and, worst of all, a sexy arachnid-woman who may or may not eat the men in the club. Either way, the protagonist is adorable and we really we were pulling for her, until we got distracted by the crazy arachnid-woman. But what actually might be the weirdest thing about this video is the need to censor the phrase "loaded guns." Mmkay, youtube censorship, you do you.  

 

 

11. "All is Full of Love" - Bjork

If the option exists to include a video of lesbian robots making out to Bjork, then it has to be included. Obviously. This is actually an oddly captivating video and maybe even a bit romantic. These robot ladies are having a pretty sensual experience, and Bjork's making things seem pretty lovely all around. Who knew the future was so bright for queer robots? 

 

12. "Te Amo" - Rihanna

It's hard to tell what this song is about more; Rihanna realizing she may have feelings for this woman, or Rihanna realizing she really needs to brush up on well known Spanish phrases. Either way, it's actually quite a sexy video, even if Rihanna's doubt about what "Te Amo" means becomes a little distracting. But it's more about the confusion these advances are bringing than annoyance or disgust that they're happening. We'll take it. 

 

13. "Telephone" - Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce
Even openly bisexual Lady Gaga herself would have to admit that the extensive kiss with another woman in her "Telephone" video had nefarious intentions. After getting wildly catcalled in prison by all of the scantily clad inmates, she eventually (or really, immediately) gives into one of them in order to steal her phone and call Beyonce (which is really the only acceptable reason to steal someone's phone). This video does get kudos for being wildly amusing, and it was pretty much the epitome of Gaga's crazy, flashy image at the time. Also, those dance moves really are pretty rad. 

 

14. "Me Against The Music" - Britney Spears ft. Madonna

It's hard to tell what's most awkward about this video. Is it the underground bar they're in that seems like a massive splinter hazzard? Is it the glaring lack of chemistry between Britney and Madonna?  Is it everything Madonna is doing with that cane? If there was supposed to be chemistry here, it's lost on us, just like Madonna was on Britney in the end. 

 

 

15. "Can't Remember to Forget You" - Shakira & Rihanna 
Seriously, what is it with these angsty pop stars writhing against walls? Just open a door and writhe against each other if you really want to! One thing we will say is these two managed a lot more chemistry and Britney and Madonna. And it is pretty impressive that apparently Shakira was playing all the instruments too. You go girl. 
 
16. "Do It Like A Dude" - Jessie J
Jessie J has claimed she wanted this song to come across as a "tongue-in-cheek...parody of the stereotypical male" that can be "empowering for girls," but it doesn't exactly end up coming off that way. It doesn't help that Jessie was in the news last year for declaring her bisexuality 'a phase.' But it at least is a catchy song with a glimmer of empowerment, or at least the intention. Also it'll probably be in your head for days now. 
 
17. "Not Myself Tonight" - Christina Aguilera
This entire song is about justifying 'unusual' behavior, including kissing and sexual acitvity with women. Christina, girl, everyone has crazy nights. You don't need to make excuses! And also, maybe don't light your closet on fire. You can sleep off a hangover but you can't sleep off an arson charge. 
 
 
18. "All the Things She Said" - t.A.T.u
We wanted this love affair to be real, but in the end there was just too much drama and we all felt pretty betrayed by t.A.T.u. Even worse than writhing against walls was that these two used sexuality as a selling point, and then didn't even hold up the act. Yikes, girls. This is not enough.
 
19. "I Kissed a Girl" - Katy Perry
A lot of things happen in this video, but not one of them is kissing a girl. Things that do happen include Katy Perry seductively petting a cat, whatever the hell she's trying to achieve with that fan, a cringe-worthy pillow fight, and Katy dancing not with but near lots of women in fishnets. And the cherry (chapstick) on top? She too writhes against a freaking wall. 
 
20. "3's & 7's" - Queens of the Stone Age
Technically, this video is wildly exploitive, but that's just within the Grindhouse style Queens of the Stone Age is obviously going for. And for real, they get the job done
 

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