Janelle Monae has been inescapable over the last few weeks. With her new album Dirty Computer recently released to positive reviews and her coming out as pansexual, fans can’t get enough of the singer.
But in the video for her single, “Pynk,” questions rose on the video’s audience. Though the themes are an unapologetic ode to women, fans have been wondering how inclusive the singer’s definition of women is; was the singer intentionally leaving out trans women and feminine people in her definition of who was a woman?
As Janelle clarified to People, her definition of “women” could be explained through the message behind her infamous “vagina pants” from the “Pynk” video. As she says:
“Sometimes I think people interpret those as vagina pants, they call them vulva pants, they call them flowers, but it just represents some parts of some women. There are some women in the video that do not have on the pants, because I don’t believe that all women need to possess a vagina to be a woman,” she says. “I have one I’m proud of it, but there’s a lot of policing and controlling that people are trying to have over our vaginas and when you think about female genital mutilation, when you think about all these women’s issues, I wanted to make sure we were discussing these issues but we were also celebrating each other. I wanted Pynk to be a celebration of women who are unique, distinct, different, may be different from one another but when they come together they create something magical and special.”
“Pynk” also has allusions to gender non-conformity within the video. Video co-star and actress Tessa Thompson even posted on Twitter to support Janelle’s message of gender inclusivity:
to all the black girls that need a monologue that don’t have Vaginas, I’m listening https://t.co/pyjStgkDKu
— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) April 10, 2018
Janelle has also confirmed that she plans on mass producing the “Pynk” video pants — great news if you were wishing for your own pair. “I’m so tickled and honored that people are talking about the ’Pynk’ pants,” she said. “I think that it’s so cool to have discussions around women’s issues and women’s bodies, I think it’s amazing.”