Sitting in her car, she looks at the locket her boyfriend gave her one anniversary with tears in her eyes. On the radio’s station morning show, a young woman talks about why she stays with her boyfriend, even though he ignores her. Perry can’t snark like she used to at the callers. As she looks into the office window, she sees her boyfriend kiss his female co-worker on the cheek and thinks she is now that young woman on the radio.
She gets out of the car and heads into the building. She storms inside and confronts him, telling him he’s “such a liar.” He responds sorry in an annoyed tone and she puts the locket on the table. As she walks out, she throws some papers at him. However, he catches up to her and tries to stop her. She tells him not to touch her. He asks her to listen and shouts that it wasn’t what she thought. She calls him out on it, saying “Really?” He puts his arms out and says he wants to talk as she stomps off.
She drives, biting her lip to keep herself from falling apart. She stops at a gas station. There, she grabs an energy drink. After paying for it, a sign catches her eye: “All Women Are Created Equal. Then Some Become Marines.” She takes her duffel bag and heads to gas station bathroom. With a pair of scissors, she chops off her hair and bursts into tears. She binds her breasts with a towel and puts on some comfortable clothes.
At basic training, she is issued her uniform and listens to the sargent as she barks her orders inside the barracks. As she flies in a helicopter, she thinks of how they went to the fair. With play guns, they fired the water into the clown’s mouth. Her boyfriend teased her, saying she wasn’t going to beat him. But she did. The memory runs through her mind as she aces target practice. She scales the obstacle course and learns survival skills.
While on a break, she reads a letter from her boyfriend. He says it was a stupid mistake and that he’s the same guy she once knew. After remembering him comforting her in the bath, she lights the end of the paper on it fire with her lighter.
With her fellow soldiers, she stands underneath the flag and puts her hand over heart. She tips her hat and spins. She undergoes war simulation in the desert. She applies camouflage on her face. She fights through a thunderstorm as she crawls under wire.
Her face, fully made up in camouflage, she stands, ready to die for her country if needed.
Some pop stars pay lip service to feminism. Katy Perry embodies it. After an ending a long-term relationship, she could have broken down. But she didn’t want to be the young woman who worries about her boyfriend all the time and then is forced to spy on him to confirm her suspicions.
Instead, she decides to become someone stronger and transforms into a new person. She endures training she didn’t think she was capable of doing. She learns she has no limits to what she can do. She can make a political statement by fighting for her country by her gender alone, even though military standards imply she is the weaker sex by not allowing her in combat or dismissing any claims of rape by a male soldier. Her participation in the battle simulation may have been limited at the time, but it’s something she can do as well as any man.
Most importantly, the video is an example of patriotism and feminism as part of a whole rather than a black and white issue. Patriotism is closely held on the right, associated with older male veterans in Facebook memes, wanting an explanation for them not receiving the benefits they earned. Meanwhile, feminism is the taboo word women have to walk back when it’s said. Since the video’s release, the word has become more prominent, with Teen Vogue proclaiming the word in its headline. Back in 2012, Perry wasn’t saying the word, she was acting on it, starting the conversation and easing it into the mainstream.
Director: Ben Mor Year: 2012