There are a number of ways you could interpret the meaning of Katy Perry's new music video for "Part of Me." Maybe it's a message about giving yourself over to something bigger than yourself, and how the journey is yours and no one can take that away from you. Maybe it's a coming of age metaphor that symbolizes how you can become a stronger, more independent woman on the heels of emotional devastation. Maybe it's a thinly-veiled recruitment video designed to capitalize off of patriotism. Or maybe it's just a big old raised middle finger to Russell Brand.
However Perry meant for it to be received, she certainly went all-out in her performance: she reportedly "put herself through boot camp" to train for the video, which was filmed at Camp Pendleton and features real Marines.
I can't help wondering, though … despite the authenticity and appreciation shown for our troops, is it really that respectful to depict a woman joining the Marines because of a MAN?
Basically, the video shows Perry catching her sleazebag boyfriend cheating on her, so she chops off her hair, scrubs off her makeup, and runs off to join the military. Take a look:
Whew, good thing she saw that "all women are created equal, then some become marines" sticker, or who knows what she might have done? Sat around eating ice cream and crying to Adele songs, probably. Women: so predictable.
I'm kidding, but really, while I want to appreciate the badassery and personal growth she shows as she flips Marines and wrestles underwater and all that, I'm stuck on the notion that while she's singing "This is the part of me that you're never gonna ever take away from me," she's only there in the first place because of a man. When you think about how rarely women in the military are actually depicted, it's kind of a bummer that the character in this video joins the service because of a cheating boyfriend.
Okay, okay … so maybe I'm reading too much into this. Perry herself told MTV that the video is intended to show strength, and she learned a lot while filming it:
It’s an affirmation of strength. So I wanted to go the strongest route I ever could. Literally, I was like, ‘I’m gonna join the service. I’m gonna join the Marines.’ We used only Marines. . . . For three days, I was a wannabe Marine, which was so difficult. (…) This music video, as much as I was sore and exhausted, I was so educated on people in the service who I've always respected, but this time the respect goes beyond and above anything I could've imagined.
As for whether or not she's dissing Russell Brand in the video, it seems like a gimme, but Perry says she wrote the song two years ago.
(…) some people that I work with were like ‘You should just say you wrote it a couple of weeks ago. I’m like ‘I’m not a douchebag, I’m going to tell the truth.’ I wrote it two years ago when I was writing and recording Teenage Dream, but it didn’t feel right on the record. I would’ve had to take out one of my other songs that made the album a nice, complete package.
I believe her, but if you notice at the start of the video, she's listening to a girl on the radio saying, "He says that one day he wants to have kids with me and he hates traveling and being away from me." Sounds a little familiar, doesn't it? In this case, semper fi may not extend to marriage.
What do you think of Perry's video? Is it a respectful homage to our military, or a lame depiction of why a woman might join? (Or, you know, is it just a video?)
Image via YouTube