Little Game

Ben J. Pierce is a 16 year old Youtube star, who runs the Youtube channel “KidPOV” (Kid Point of View) which he started on August 28, 2011.  Pierce also runs a second channel for his music called “BENNY”, which is where he released his debut single “Little Game”. This music video focuses on how harmful gender roles can be to kids. Pierce has also released two other videos questioning gender roles on KidPOV, “Why Boys Can’t Wear Pink” and “Why Double Standards Are Great”. In the first video, Pierce relays to his audience the three negative reactions he got for going trick or treating as a pink loofah; in the second, he discusses the double standards in the reactions between a photo shoot Nick Jonas did and Miley Cyrus did. Pierce released “Little Game” on October 25, 2014, which soon went viral and currently has a million and a half views.

The music video uses color and gendered toys and clothes to visually contrast the two gender roles society forces children into from a young age. The video revolves around two main characters, a boy and a girl, who question the roles they are forced into. The boy tries to pick up and play with a pink doll while the girl opens a book instead of balancing it on her head like the other 3 girls, at 0:37 and 1:21 respectively. As the video progresses, we see how both children’s peers react threateningly to these displays of independence. The boy and the girl then get thrown into a room for “broken toys” where it seems that other children who have also broken from their gender roles were sent. The other kids in this room are still trying to conform to the gender norms despite already being ostracized from the group. Our two main kids find some blue and pink powder and shake hands after touching it at 3:02. This mixes the colors that represent the two genders and breaks the other kids from the “game” of gender, allowing everyone to be themselves. More colored powder is added to visually represent the mixing of the two “genders” and the children end up putting the opposite gender’s color on their faces to show that everyone is done playing the “little game” of gender.

The video visually represents Judith Butler’s idea that when the minority in the population queers gender or sexuality, they pave the way for the majority of the population to have more freedom. The two main kids break from their gender performativity, and stop performing as their assigned gender even though they are shunned for it. By breaking this performativity, they end up showing their own peers that it is okay to be themselves. At the end of the video, the boys and girls are interacting and sharing their genders with each other, visually represented with blue and pink powder being blown around. There is also a visual representation of the breaking of the genders through the breaking of blue and pink objects, which then mix together at 3:05. The minority group (the boy and girl) queer gender and allow for the majority group (the other kids) to explore their genders farther.

The lyrics of the song further the idea of Judith Butler’s Gender Performativity. The song starts out saying that the people are played “like pawns” with “absent minds”; the kids are dolls who have to perform to the expectations of their society based on what they were assigned at birth. The song goes on to say, “You’re raising suicidal with your predetermined titles” and “Gender roles impose control and deceive progressive time”. These lyrics show how gender is predetermined without the person’s say and how it serves more to control those people. It also stressed that, despite the idea that society should be progressive, this is not actually the case. The song ends with a repeat of, “Play our little game” and a question, “Won’t you play with me?” Society wants everyone to play the game of gender and perform their gender correctly, but each person has the ability to say no and reject their gender roles or performance, thereby queering gender.