Hayley Kiyoko on 'For the Girls' and the Importance of Mainstream Queer Representation

hayley kiyoko for the girls music video
credit: @hayleykiyoko/Instagram

Musician Hayley Kiyoko recently broke the internet with her Bachelorette-inspired music video “For the Girls.”

But not only was the video for her hit song super fun and campy, but it also carried an important message about queer representation.

Speaking to Nylon, she explained,

“I’m a big fan of The Bachelor franchise and reality TV in general, but there are so few real representations of queer experiences in a lot of these shows, especially on mainstream networks.”

She continued,

“The idea for this video was born out of imagining what it would mean to push the boundaries of representation for queer women, specifically in this realm of TV.”

As such, she made it a point to hire an entirely queer cast (with the exception of her dad, who played the limo driver) and a majority queer crew behind the scenes.

Hayley is certainly right — romance reality TV shows almost exclusively focus on heterosexual relationships, with a few notable exceptions.

In 2019, MTV’s show Are You the One? season 8 had an entirely sexually fluid cast and was hailed as one of the best seasons of reality television.

That same year, Bachelor in Paradise (a Bachelor spinoff) made history with the first queer relationship between Demi Burnett and Kristian Haggerty in season 6. Although it’s worth noting that the entire situation was a setup since Demi and Kristian had actually begun dating before the show even started filming.

In 2022, Netflix announced its series The Ultimatum‘s second season would feature mostly queer women.

And that’s about it. In more than 20 years of dating reality TV shows, there are less than a handful that even acknowledges queer relationships exist.

 

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Even though Hayley’s queer romance reality show might have been a fantasy, that doesn’t make it any less meaningful. In a statement she released along with the song, she said,

“Being surrounded by queer people of many different gender identities and making art that feels relevant to us was the greatest gift. It was a reminder of how resilient this community is and how strong and confident we feel being our authentic selves together. No matter how you identify or who you love, I hope this summer bop makes you feel sexy and empowered.”

If one thing’s for sure, the song certainly empowered Hayley. After the music video dropped, she and girlfriend Becca Tilley (a Bachelor alum herself) confirmed their four-year relationship. Although the two had kept their relationship private up until now, they decided the music video was the perfect opportunity to go public and both subsequently celebrated their love on social media.

Hayley Kiyoko’s second album Panorama is set to drop on July 29, 2022. In the meantime, you can listen to “For the Girls” on Spotify.

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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.