How woke is Katy Perry’s ‘Bon Appétit’ video?

By Alex

First things first, I like the new Katy Perry track. Yeah the lyrics are dire, the featured artist is problematic as shit and it’s about as interesting as Owen Jones’s taste in jumpers, but it is, as certain Twitter homosexuals would say, a bop. I summed up all of this in an initial review, but with the subsequent release of the track’s video, I feel there’s more that needs addressing. Namely, just how woke is this video?

Towards the beginning of the year, Katy Perry underwent a very mild woke reinvention, harping on about ‘purposeful pop’, hinting at a new, socially-aware era. Not bad for the woman who once released a song called ‘Ur So Gay’. But then she released ‘Bon Appétit’ featuring notorious gay haters Migos, thus bringing her woke score back down to zero. But has Perry been redeemed by her new video? We decided to find out.

Vacuum-packed Perry: 5 Woke Points

wrapped

The video begins with a nude Perry encased in plastic wrap. You know, like meat or something. Notably, her make-up is impeccable and she’s also wearing a vaguely content smile. As the camera zooms in, Perry embodies a patriarchal society’s ideal woman: elegant, beautiful and completely free of agency. Here, Perry is something to be looked at, devoured by the spectator, without possessing any free will of her own. Way to highlight unfair gender roles K-Pez, five woke points for you.

Pulled apart Perry: 3 Woke Points

dough

Lying face down, Perry is pulled apart by a sinister team of chefs who knead at her thighs and ass until it is dough. Actual dough, though. Perry is groped and squeezed while she remains mostly lifeless, still devoid of free will, although her facial expressions betray some enjoyment of this rather brutal massaging. Enjoying being dismantled by The Man? Only three Woke Points for you K-Piddy.

Being boiled alive Perry: 3 Woke Points

boiled.JPG

On the surface, this looks like an excuse to get close-ups of a very slippery Katy Perry’s cleavage. And in some ways it is. But Perry subverts the typical busty-woman-in-a-Jacuzzi trope by instead simmering in a boiling pot of her own juices while being gradually marinaded. Funny and right-on, you go Kay Pee.

Haircut Perry: 1 Woke Point

hair

It’s a known fact short hair is more woke than long hair. Fight the power, Kate Piddleton.

Migos-promoting Perry: -10 Woke Points

migos.JPG

Although Perry made the mistake of letting these clowns on her song, she didn’t necessarily have to grant them airtime in her video. So obviously she loses a ton of points for that. Also, it feels kind of lazy to take a rap group and give them little but wads of cash for props. I get there’s not much else they could do, but the hefty wedges of bills Migos awkwardly clutch at still feel superfluous. Not taking the chance to butcher some homophobes? You can do better, Kety Perr.

Pole-dancing Perry: -5 Woke Points

pole

So it turns out KP was alive after all. I guess, anyway. Springing from the chopping board, Perry utilises a handily placed pole for a quick bit of writhing while her would-be murderers are blindfolded and gagged. Suddenly the restaurant becomes a gruesome strip club with Perry as the main attraction. While we could argue that this is some sort of triumph over the powers that wanted to suppress her, and by extension all women, this doesn’t really add up. Because not only is KP still in a somewhat submissive role here – pole dancing, we presume, for the male gaze – the accompanying shots fetishise the powerless female body, as female spectators are shown with their blouses ripped, being manhandled by the male chefs. Perry has turned the situation around by refusing to play victim, sure, but in doing so has only shifted her oppression onto other women whose vulnerable bodies are sexualised for the camera. Selling out your gender? Try harder next time Pezza.

Actual cannibal Perry: 0 Woke Points

cannibal

So then Katy Perry goes full cannibal. Naturally. On one hand, she’s escaped being hacked to bits but, on the other, her chief oppressors, the chefs, get away scot-free. Instead, she feasts on the remnants of her would-be spectators. Which is great, sure, but why not the chefs? Or is the implication that they were working for her all along? In which case, then like yeah, lots of woke points, kind of, but if not then, like, negative woke points, I guess. And come to think of it, even if the chefs were working for her, surely that doesn’t make it OK for her to eat all these punters? But then again, the punters were there to see her get carved up into tiny pop star pieces. So it’s fine? Or is it fine? Or maybe it doesn’t matter.

There’s definitely at least a semi-woke sentiment at the heart of ‘Bon Appétit’, a story about oppression and cannibal pop singers, but it’s made blurry by some dodgy directing decisions. Migos laughing their asses off? KP on a pole? That blouse shot? For all her good intentions, Katy Perry still has some work to do in Woke 101 before she can really make some ‘purposeful pop’.

@alexsnorris

 

 

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