There are a handful of phrases that women unfortunately know all too well: "smile," "asking for it," "your biological clock is ticking." These small but grating moments add up and, if you could, you'd see them weighing on every woman as she tries to live her daily life — actually, in Ella Vos' new music video "You Don't Know About Me," you can. Premiering exclusively on Refinery29, "You Don't Know About Me" projects these words and phrases directly onto the bare skin of women who have heard them, underneath lyrics that perfectly articulate the frustration of this struggle.
"The song itself I wrote about a combination of different experiences and stories," Vos told Refinery29. "My own experiences and stories that I’ve heard from other people just about how women are perceived in our societies, from men to women and even women to women."
The phrases in the video include things like "calm down," "you're too young to have a baby,"and "your body is distracting." To come up with these words, Vos made a list of phrases that were familiar to her, and then asked around. When it was time to shoot, even the women in the video — most of whom were friends — contributed their own personal gripes. Because of this, there's not a woman around who won't find something to relate to in these shots, which is exactly why Ella Vos wanted to make the video in the first place.
"I’ve had a lot of experience where people make these judgments about another person without even really considering their position," she explained. "So my goal is to bring that to the surface so that it’s something we can talk about."
While sexism spans a range of issues, women's sexuality in particular was something Vos was keen to focus on in the video. The women on screen are partially clothed, and the words call physical attention to how society polices their bodies.
"The words like 'slut' and 'prude' are on these beautiful parts of our body that we shouldn't feel ashamed for," she said. "I feel like that’s something that happens so often, this negativity towards women’s sexuality. I want to bring that to light in a more positive way and embrace it."
This is just one of many causes that's important to the singer, who is also using the popularity of the new video to raise money for the ACLU. A line of "You Don't Know About Me" merch just dropped along with the video, and all money made from sales goes straight to the organization.
Next, Ella Vos is taking her music on tour. Starting in June you can catch the singer at Bonnaroo, then in DC, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, San Fransisco, and LA. Until then, we'll be watching "You Don't Know About Me" any time we need some extra confidence before heading out the door into our daily lives — and maybe donning a shirt or hat to keep it going throughout the day.