There’s been a considerable amount of backlash about Mastodon’s video for “The Motherload” that was released on Monday. The Guardian called it mysogynistic, some internet warriors agreed, and before you knew it, Brann Dailor found himself in the position of having to defend the video, which features a number of dancers and strippers twerking in it. In a Tumblr post titled “Mastodon ‘The Motherload’ and the Only Opinion that Counts,” one of the dancers in the video weighed in on the experience. In short, “Jade” said that the whole experience was great, and that they all understood the video and their role in it for what it was – a shout-out to Atlanta:
We came across from different walks of life. Real deal ATL strippers joked with me—I’m a pole dance student with a background in African American literature and cultural theory, while my ballet dancer friend laughed with the other ladies, doing pirouettes in between takes. If you read the interview in which the band says that we were having fun with each other and not for the male gaze, you should know he was totally right. My other friend who is the best conglomeration of every dancer there—pole dancer, stripper, PhD in women’s lit and African American lit focus, and a dance instructor—could be the poster child of what this was. Women having fun with each other. Praising each other. A glimpse into what we do and that we are bigger than what we do.
“These guys are ATL homegrown,” she continues. “As much as metal is in their bones, so is trap music, so if Old Fourth Ward, so is Magic City. They repped Georgia not out of exploitation, but because it resonates with them and is a part of them.” She said the girls bonded with the band and each other so much that when they were offered to dance to hip hop instead of the song, they declined and wanted to hear the song. And they had so much fun filming it that they went home and bought the track themselves. In short, it doesn’t seem from this account that the girls in the video feel exploited. They’re proud of their work, and they should be.