Katy Perry is silly, Naomi Wolf Is Completely Insane

Posted on by TheLastPsychiatrist and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

This video is silly. Katy watches her boyfriend flirt with a woman, so Katy strokes out and joins the Marines. The rest of the video is her doing Marine stuff.

Enter a crazy person named Naomi Wolf:

Have you all seen the Katy Perry Marines video? It is a total piece of propaganda for the Marines…I really want to find out if she was paid by them for making it…it is truly shameful. I would suggest a boycott of this singer whom I really liked — if you are as offended at this glorification of violence as I am .

Naomi Wolf missed the feminist subtext because she was looking too hard.

The feminist commentary to be made is that when Katy is emotionally hurt, the only way she can reclaim her strength is through a societally approved symbol of male strength: the military.

Observe at 1:01, she sees the Marine logo and impulsively signs up. Like a girl. But before she signs up, she cuts off her own hair and tapes her breasts. Why would she do this? The Marines are ok with women enlisting. They’ll give you a free haircut, too. But the transformation before she enlists is about denying her femininity. “That guy thinks he can push me around? I’ll show him how tough I am– I’ll beat him on his terms. I’ll become more masculine than he is.” NB: Naomi did not notice Katy Perry binding her breasts, she noticed a gun somewhere.

Note also that the entire purpose of enlisting in the Marines was a guy. The driving force in her decision making, in this case life changing decision making, isn’t love of a higher cause or duty or service, but a reaction to a man.  That’s why scenes from her relationship are interspersed with the Marining; and why she takes time out to read, and then burn, a letter from him. A letter? Burn it?  You’re in the Marines, shouldn’t you sorta… move on to more important things?

This woman is merely playing at being a Marine– it’s all during training. The look of accomplishment on her face after she flips over the other (female) Marine in a hand to hand exercise (2:30) is symbolic of her mindset (“look how tough I am”), but no man would even count that as an accomplishment because it is insignificant. But to hyperfemale, hypersexual Katy Perry(‘s audience), flipping a Marine is hard core.  What Wolf should have said at that scene is, “why does flipping another woman make a woman feel better about herself when a man hurts her?  Because we deflect our rage, take it out on each other or ourselves, because we are terrified that if we take it out on the real target we may wind up alone.”  That’s what she should have said.  What she did say, however, is nothing.

Let me be clear: this isn’t to say female Marines deny their femininity– this is to say Katy Perry’s audience thinks that female Marines deny their femininity.

The point here is that Naomi Wolf should have noticed this nod to male superiority.  But Naomi failed to detect this because, and you should all meditate on this, Naomi Wolf was allowed to rise to prominence as a feminist thinker precisely because she is not good at it.

If this doesn’t make sense to you, it worked. 

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43 Responses to Katy Perry is silly, Naomi Wolf Is Completely Insane

  1. Guy Fox says:

    She’s also training in the generally non-coed marines. They’re almost all women. At the beginning of the video, she sees her boyfriend getting fresh with a girl at work. Her angst: she’s not special, not unique. In his eyes, she’s interchangeable with other women. Instead of going and proving herself against all comers, man or woman, she just goes and kicks some other female asses. The point doesn’t seem to be to reclaim her sense of self-worth, but just to show that she’s better than the competition. She doesn’t want to show her goodness, just that she’s good enough for him.

    This is the part of me
    That you’re never gonna ever take away from me
    [But I'll always save it for you just in case]

    As for Wolf, “I would suggest a boycott of this singer whom I really liked”. Why would Wolf ‘really like’ Katy Perry? I’m guessing it would go back to Ms. Perry’s original kissing a girl and liking it. If that’s accurate, your last point about Wolf’s prominence would be spot on (probably was anyway).

  2. Elisabeth says:

    Actually, I’d dispute that this reflects Perry’s views on the Marines – she wouldn’t have much control over what the director wants to do with the video.

    I actually really like Katy Perry and most of her songs. Granted, her music isn’t amazing, but that’s fine. Not everything has to echo through the ages. Sometimes you just want something to bop along to.

    But the video was kind of puzzling. It would probably have been better minus the love-betrayal-being-an-idiot-story; the bits purely about the Marines aren’t that bad. Maybe on the a different song, where she just, y’know, joins the armed forces.

    The funniest bit, for me, is that everyone except Klein understands perfectly how silly this video is. Before the top rated comments function was removed from the video, they were something along the lines of “you joined the marines because some douche dumped you?!?!?!? even i’m not that stupid” and “why did you cut your hair and tape your boobs? women are allowed in the marines!”. (I’m quoting from memory, obviously.) They were followed by ever increasing numbers of thumbs up.

    I think that Klein’s real target are the female “masses”, who she thinks are so stupid that they’ll actually think that the Marines are like this, and try to join because their boyfriend kissed another girl. And that they’ll actually be let in.

    All Klein is doing is showing (one again) that she’s nowhere near as smart as she thinks she is, and ordinary people understand this video far better than any self styled intellectuals.

    • Elisabeth says:

      Er, read “Wolf” for “Klein”. My only defense is that I make no claims to being an intellectual.

    • Guy Fox says:

      “I think that Klein’s real target are the female “masses”, who she thinks are so stupid that they’ll actually think that the Marines are like this, and try to join because their boyfriend kissed another girl. And that they’ll actually be let in.”

      Such people exist? Yikes. Sounds like a good time to repent.

    • Napsterbater says:

      ” she wouldn’t have much control over what the director wants to do with the video.”
      Music videos aren’t like regular productions. Especially those done by megastars like Katy Perry. The director doesn’t have as much power to dictate the vision as he would in a television production. You bet your taped up titties she got her way in every aspect of that vid.

  3. watwatwat says:

    “If this doesn’t make sense to you, it worked. ” … this encouraged me to think about this “But Naomi failed to detect this because, and you should all meditate on this, Naomi Wolf was allowed to rise to prominence as a feminist thinker precisely because she is not good at it.” ….. and it still doesn’t make sense to me. Could someone explain it?

    • CubaLibre says:

      Because the patriarchy is real – more as a self-imposed, socially learned limitation rather than an actual cabal of ruling males (although this also continues to exist to an extent) – it controls who speaks with public authority on every topic, including feminism. Wolf is allowed to be a public expert on feminism because she is bad at it, and therefore will never actually threaten patriarchy. In trial practice we call this “drawing the sting.”

  4. Keath says:

    So what, then, would be the ideal strong female response? Maybe Katy Perry goes in, talks to the girl and says “This hurts but know I’m not here to compete but to cooperate – here is what he is, pros and cons. Now I’m done with him?”

    • thestage says:

      the “strong female response” would be for the video to not exist in the first place.

    • Guy Fox says:

      “So what, then, would be the ideal strong female response?”

      Ideal according to whom? Start with devising a good response, but to do that you’d have to know the people involved, have some idea why they’re doing what they’re doing, what they’re hoping to get out of the interaction, what they fear and what they desire, etc. What might be a good response in one situation might be disastrous in a slightly different one.

      And who is this ‘strong female’ of whom you speak, as if she were someone we all could relate to and knew in our daily lives – just as if she were, say, our own personal Mary Poppins of gender relations? Oh, we do know her and relate to her, but she doesn’t exist. She’s a brand. She’s the leading product in Jezebel’s line, in fact. If you’re comparing your/someone else’s reactions to what some ideal, strong female would do – an ideal, strong female whose actions you don’t even know – you’ve bought into the brand. You’re in the Matrix.

      To thine own self be true and f*ck the ideal strong female (at least until she begs you to stop).

      • Keath says:

        I wish that had been my first reaction – makes perfect sense. Thanks for the insight!

      • Keath says:

        Thinking this through, the invitation a choice of To Thine Onself Be True gives to moral relativism is astounding. It helps to make the allure of The Matrix more understandable – the amount of responsibility heaped onto the individual to not only discern and understand what principles truly make up “themselves” and then act accordingly is intimidating. Having a premade ethos available to you, be it religious or cultural, for no work on your own part would be understandably tempting. So you buy in.

  5. AdamSaleh1987 says:

    Feminism is about the shaming and curbing male desire while defining their urges as a pathology while glorifying everything women do or say against men regardless of the truth. Naomi Wolf doesn’t understand that it’s violence that provided the world we have today for better or worse, and doesn’t know what the word even means. Katy is seen training, there is no one getting maimed or killed in this video.

    • thestage says:

      no, the feminism you’re allowed to look at is about that. just like the music videos you’re allowed to look at are katy perry ones. #trendingworldwide

      • CubaLibre says:

        That’s not really true. He’s allowed to look at all kinds of feminism. He just doesn’t, for the same reason I don’t look at John Grisham novels or reality shows.

        • thestage says:

          But you know who John Grisham is, and he does not know who Judith Butler is.

          • AdamSaleh1987 says:

            How do you know that? Do you know me personally? OK, well mainstream feminism and the kind that is practiced openly is literally what I have said. QED.

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  7. AnonymousAtLarge says:

    Having watched the video I would agree that this is marines propaganda.

    She empowers herself…by joining the marines? There is a clear shift in the video where she sees the marine advertisement and it’s like “THIS IS THE SOLUTION!” Do you know how many girls going through similar mundane adolescent angst are watching this video and now have this seed planted in their brain?

    Of course you are also correct that it’s sexist she does all of this for her boyfriend / to be better than other girls… but in the heirarchy of offensiveness and horrificness, the military propaganda is tops. The competition with girls/boyfriend jealosy is more of a launch pad to make the marines attractive to young girls (as so many young girls, being immature and insecure, think in a similar way like “how can I keep my boyfriend// am I as good ast he other girls???”)

    I would also disagree that the video suggests she gains male strength via the military. Certainly the military is masculine, but the video depicts her as being strong ALONE. The contrast is her being strong by herself in the marines vs being weak/dependent in the arms of her shitty boyfriend.

    Message: join the marines and you don’t need men for strength, because you are now strong independently.

    I would assume they selected katy perry for this propaganda specifically because of her “I kissed a girl song” so this is really just a second, US military approved version of it.

    • TheCoconutChef says:

      Just look at the sequence starting 2:25.

      They literally become men.

      • Elisabeth says:

        “They literally become men.”

        FFS. No, they don’t. Unless you honestly think that women who become active and strong “literally become men”. In which case, write that in the comments, so I can rip it to shreds.

        • Old Mike says:

          Yes they do. Go to 2:25. There is a sequence where men are shown holding a log, then women are shown holding it. Then men are shown holding the log with the exact same expressions on their faces as the women and their heads in the exact same places. TheCoconutChef is just telling you what the video shows.

    • Elisabeth says:

      This is both the one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read, and a proof of the point I wrote above.

      The entire rationale behind this is not aimed at Katy Perry, but at her fans. Or, more likely, the image of her fans you have built in your head. Your thought process is that You/We are smart enough to see it, but They are not and will be fooled. The fact remains that, before the top comment section was disabled, her fans were ripping the piss out of the video. *They* were smart enough to realise that it’s ridiculous. *You* are so stupid that you, well, write like this.

      If nothing else, tell me about these teenage girls who will try to join the Marines because of Katy Perry. Or “have the seed planted in their brains”? You remind me of the morons who claim that sex in films turns us into whores.

      This is the problem with reading into meeja culture. So often, it becomes an excuse to belittle Them, the faceless masses who apparently Just Don’t Get It, like We do. So often, it’s just prejudice and snobbery.

      • AnonymousAtLarge says:

        You know what, you are so enraptured with making your point (that we cannot decipher anything about anyone at any time via analysis of major media, and those of us who try are prejudicial self important assholes), you purposely seem to cruise right over the point I WAS MAKING.

        The point I was making was that this video is marines propaganda. That, it is highly likely the US military somehow paid or compensated either the company or Katy Perry herself to make this video. Or, that Katy Perry or someone in the corporate side of things has a personal vested interest in promoting the military machine.

        Even if 70% of Katy Perry’s fans think it’s ew gross that she ditched her candy colored hair, or that the video blows in general, if 10% of the girls have a radically opposite opinion and think to themselves “the marines are a good option for my future” then the video is a SMASHING MIND BLOWING SUCCESS as far as being marine’s propaganda.

        The funny thing is, I kind of agree with your argument… indeed it seems true people sit around loner-like and loser-like and isolated-like and generalize, failing all the while to make valid points. However, your argument really doesn’t have any relationship to my argument, which is that the point of the video seems to be a vehicle to reach disenfranchised young teen girls so that they might in the future consider a career in the marines. If most of katy perry’s teen girls hate the video in the end it really doesn’t matter (and i would expect that, as most girls, particularly katy perry fans, like to be hyperfeminine, and this video is as appealing to them as fashion shows are to average teenage boys).

        • Old Mike says:

          While I don’t agree with Napsterbater a few comments down the page I think his take on it being propaganda makes a lot more sense than yours. He thinks the idea is to “make military service sexier”. While I don’t agree with him either, it would be much more the kind of thing that armed forces actually do.

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  9. Old Mike says:

    What makes you think the Marine Corps wants women so badly, anyway? Seriously, that’s something that a lot of people seem to take as a given, that the Marines are all about hiring more women. The armed forces are not hurting for enlistments in the least thanks to the bad economy.

    This is what the armed forces put out when they want more people:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgV6VUinDEA

    See that? Football, lens flairs, fires, helicopters, tanks, insipid statements floating around in the air, faceless redcoats advancing in lockstep… it makes a fella want to kill something. Further, notice how at the end it puts NATIONAL GUARD in the bottom left of the screen? When you see that, it’s propaganda. When you don’t, it just might be a stupid music video put out by a hack performer who doesn’t give much of a damn about the USMC one way or another.

  10. Napsterbater says:

    Any criticism of this song needs to bear in mind that this is the seventh single off an album that came out two years ago. And it’s a song that didn’t even make the first cut. Say what you want about Katy, she’s effing huge. I love her because she manages to appeal to so many different types of people. Pre-teens with Firework, college age girls with Last Friday Night and this song, 20-somethings with California Gurls and the over-30 set with The One that Got Away and Teenage Dream. She was on my list of artists to write about when I still wanted to write. She’s anything but silly.

    • Guy Fox says:

      Why don’t you want to write anymore? I’m curious because your reasons might overlap with mine, and I’m just wondering if it’s a broader phenomenon. If you want to go to a less public medium, feel free to use [nine]uyf[zero]x@gmail.com (just use the digits, don’t spell them and drop the brackets).

      BTW “You’re all a bunch of douches” is a legitimate answer. :)

      • Napsterbater says:

        A few reasons. The first and more important reasing is that the muse is a fickle bitch. If I don’t feel on, I write crap. I really wasn’t meant to write. It’s too much goddamn work, and as much as I like the finished product, I just don’t like the grind as much as I thought I did. Instead I’m taking acting classes and want to be in all those commercials you guys hate on so much. You get a very different perspective on this stuff when you’re the one making it. It’s a fuck-ton of fun saying stupid shit on camera. Commercials are the more difficult things to do convincingly.

        Second, the subject matter isn’t as interesting to me as it once was. I don’t care as much for deconstruction as I did when I first came across TLP. It seems to be an unavoidably negative form of critique.

        And the “you’re all a bunch of douches” bit does have a little merit. It does get a little bit sanctimonious in here at times. Always complaining about, not what the subject matter does to you, but to what the poor downtrodden stupid folks are gonna think when they see this stuff.

        That’s my take on feminism. It’s a movement that exerts even more social pressure on already-overwhelmed young girls to make them make “better” decisions. I actually was in the military, and I’ll be damned if I could say with a straight face that mine or any of the other guys I met there had better reasons to join than Katy’s character. Life kicks you in the ass and you want to do something big and dramatic to get back at the world and prove you’re a worthy person. That’s the basic story.

        Everybody’s dumb at that age, but society will never get that kids are supposed to be that way, designed by God (or evolution, pick your poison) to be that way, instead dreaming up lofty theories like feminism out of guilt and idealism every bit as misguided as what drove Katy to trade her gorgeous hair for an M-16. (the hair’s a far more effective weapon, but she already knew that, after all, she didn’t really join, and her boy cut is probably even sexier)

        I don’t want to write anymore because I realized that we are going to endlessly play out the same moral dilemmas over and over and over again. The aesthetes were right, didacticism is pretty much useless, except as a vehicle for making better art. You can either get with it and have your shot at fame and fortune, or, well, devote all your creative efforts here.

    • Old Mike says:

      You’re probably familiar with The Archies. They were a band based on those Archie comics that had the hit single of 1969. Thankfully they eventually dropped into oblivion and took their awful music with them. I don’t know who we’ll consider to be the driving musical forces of this generation forty years down the road but it won’t be Katy Perry any more than anyone considers The Archies to be the voice of the 60s.

      • Napsterbater says:

        You really aren’t understanding just how huge she is. Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream album is the most popular album this side of Michael Jackson. It is already the 79th best selling album of all time, in this space she’s competing with Elvis, The Beatles, and anybody else you can name, whose had decades headstart. She is the second artist in Billboard’s history to have five #1 singles off one album. The first was Michael Jackson’s Bad.

        They will still be talking about Katy a century from now when she’s dead and gone.

        • Minerva says:

          Don’t be too hard on Old Mike, I’m the same way and I’m far from being officially old yet. While I’ve read about Kate Perry in the tabloids, I’ve no idea of her music or her impact simply because I stopped being in touch with what’s currently hot a long time ago.

          • Napsterbater says:

            Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound harsh. I find pop culture fascinating and consider myself somewhat of a lay expert on the subject. I don’t like oversimplifications.

            If you’re interested, I have written a bunch of articles here on music videos and what goes into them. There’s a list here.

        • Old Mike says:

          For what it’s worth, Napsterbater didn’t come off as harsh to me. He’s just making his case. But thanks for sticking up for an old codger, Minerva.

          Anyhow, if we want to talk “best-selling” albums that’s one thing. But how about filesharing? Do you think for a second that anywhere near as many people have pirated Perry songs as they have Beatles songs?

          Yes, Katy Perry is selling well. However, all that really means is that she has very good marketers. She is constructed to go after a specific demographic that is not known for discerning tastes in music and has a lot of disposable income via their parents. For an analogy, this is like saying that Patton was a better general than Hannibal Barca because he had tanks. You’re not comparing the people, you’re comparing the times of their activity. I won’t bend your ears with all the ways things are different but I will give one example: foreign markets. Compare how many people spoke English back in the 80s to how many do now. India, for example, has over a hundred million English speakers and they love this pop stuff over there. Yes, they buy Michael Jackson and Beatles music in India too but those guys aren’t over there performing at their Cricket games and otherwise actively promoting their records. If I were to get into another way things are different, I’d get into social media but I think almost no one will read this far anyway.

  11. Napsterbater says:

    That said, the fact that this is Marine Corps propaganda is pretty undeniable. It was filmed at Camp Pendleton, and probably got quite a funding chunk from the USMC, which is always looking for ways to make military service sexier. It seems like an incredible perversion of the integrity the military is always going on about to have a ton of marines sitting there holding the blue tent under which she sings. Don’t they have anything more useful to do? The show-biz aspects of the military are particularly galling.

    It says something about our society that joining the service is an acceptable response to a bad breakup. All of the best efforts of these young people going to defending the nationcorporate interests. Does it matter to them who’s getting the fruits of their willingness to die?

    • Old Mike says:

      Again, I don’t see how this is propaganda. I have not seen anything that indicates Perry was payed by the Marine Corp and I would not be surprised if her people payed for the use of the camp and the services of the Marines. Big budget music videos are made all the time. There’s no way it would be more expensive to hire a pack of Marines than it would to get the usual support crew.

      As for them “going on” about integrity have you ever met someone who actually had integrity who went on about it? Here’s what the most decorated Marine in history had to say about his service, “War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” Quite frankly, I’m just happy they’re not off blowing up weddings like the Air Force.

      reference: http://www.alternet.org/world/91457/

      • Napsterbater says:

        I guess it all depends on how you define propaganda. The way I think it should be used, absolutely, the video qualifies. This isn’t WW2 anymore, the Cold War is over. So the meanings of these words have to change along with the times. Would we have called this propaganda back in the sixties. No. Now? Absolutely.

      • Napsterbater says:

        I honestly don’t think it matters whether the video was partially financed by the USMC or not. I do know for certain that Katy did not have to pay the Marines to use the base. They simply didn’t have had to. They could have just as easily built a set and used actors and made it look almost as realistic.

        • Old Mike says:

          Having just gone to Google to find some more exact definitions of the word propaganda, I found that it was originally without the negative connotations. Interesting. While the meanings of words change over time, I’m not sure if this meaning has changed to mean what you use it to mean. But that conversation is one I never mean to have unless I want to kill time in a prison.

          More to the point, why use real marines? How “real” are they? We get almost two minutes in to a four minute video before we see hide or hair of them. And when we do see them, they are attractive, multi-ethnic (always at least one darker person mixed in with the gringos in any given shot), and perfectly made up. 2:36 in particular strikes me as surreal, a bunch of girls in makeup sticking their heads into the ocean and then later standing in it. The marines are real but their actions on camera seem more like a kid’s perceptions of the Marines than anything else. I mean, wrestling underwater? Maybe the Marines actually do that but it looks ridiculous to see Katy Perry do it.

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