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.