The Knife and Female Dominance

A friend of mine recently showed me this video by The Knife for their song “A Tooth For an Eye,” and pointed out the interesting gender dynamics that the music video displays.

What’s cool about it is that the a small girl, dressed as a referee, conducts a group of older men in a gymnasium. The fact that the girl is leading the men subverts traditional gender roles of teacher and student, especially in a masculinized setting like a gymnasium. Part of why this is interesting is age and size, two factors that frequently hinder women in public settings and are physically interpreted as signs of submission. So when the control goes to the small girl (especially a small girl of color), it subverts that traditional dynamic that dictates that older white men are the leaders.

Another noteworthy aspect of the video is that the girl is leading the men in what appears to be a dance. She’s not dominating in the traditional sense of strength and power, but is leading them through a series of feminine movements.

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