I used Katy Perry’s video “Part of me” in the From around the blogroll post which went nuts over the Trayvon Martin/ George Zimmerman case. The ending picture was of Miss Perry, dressed as a Marine, in camouflage battle makeup, which inspired last week’s Rule 5 Blogging: Cover Girl Cosmetics Edition.
Well, it seems that not everyone was thrilled with Miss Perry’s video:
Writer Naomi Wolf urges boycott of Katy Perry video, calls it military propaganda
Written By Hollie McKay, Published March 29, 2012
LOS ANGELES – Katy Perry transforms herself into a U.S. Marine in her latest power-pop single, “Part of Me,” which addresses female empowerment and pays particular tribute to service women.
However, at least one media type doesn’t support Perry’s Marines shout-out.
Prominent feminist Naomi Wolf, author of “The Beauty Myth” and one of many who were arrested amid the Occupy Wall Street protests last year, is urging Americans to boycott the singer, labeling her video “a total piece of propaganda for the Marines.”
“I really want to find out if she was paid by them for making it,” Wolf wrote on her Facebook page. “It is truly shameful… I would suggest a boycott of this singer whom I really liked — if you are as offended as this glorification of violence as I am.”
More at the link; hat tip to William Teach.
Mr Teach noted that most of Miss Perry’s videos aren’t anything which he finds particularly uplifting:
I’m not a big fan of Perry: I think it is a shame that she sexualizes her video’s and lycrics, when she actually has a lot of talent. Her “Last Friday Night” video is a disgrace, since it is about high school kids having “menage a troi’s”. She’s already stated she wants to be a “teenage wet dream.” She lounges around stark naked in her California Girls video. Maybe I’m just getting older. But, come on, liberals, are you actually going to follow this idiocy by Naomi Wolf?
But he noted:
Remember, the Left went ballistic after Perry tweeted to #prayforIsrael, which she then backed down on.
Whether Miss Perry meant to “glorify violence,” as Miss Wolf wrote, what she said was:
This is one of the most aggressive videos I have ever done. It is an affirmation of strength, so I wanted to go the strongest route I could.
This is a large part of the reasoning behind our version of Rule 5 blogging. Robert Stacy McCain, who coined the term, has it as putting up pictures of Christina Hendricks or other hotties, and counting on the google searches to bring in more traffic. But at THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL, we look at it differently: the horribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put heir lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. We don’t see such women as just men with boobs, but real women, doing a hard, demanding and dangerous job. Mr Hitchcock’s daughter spent 5½ years in the United States Army, including 15 months as a military policeman in Iraq, while both of your editor’s daughters are in the United States Army Reserve. They weren’t drafted; they all volunteered. Yorkshire’s son served, in a civilian capacity, in Iraq.
The basic premise of THE BEAUTY MYTH is that forced adherence to standards of physical beauty has grown stronger for women as they gained power in other societal arenas. Wolf argues that this standard of beauty has taken over the work of social coercion formerly left to myths about motherhood, domesticity, chastity, and passivity, all of which have been used to keep women powerless. In the author’s view, “the gaunt, youthful model [has] supplanted the happy housewife as the arbiter of successful womanhood.” The myth of beauty spreads the belief that an objective measurement of beauty exists, and that woman must want to embody it, and that men must want such women.
However, Wolf contends that the beauty myth is really not about women, it is about men’s institutions and power. Beauty is about behavior, not appearance. The qualities labelled “beautiful” in women in any given time period are no more than symbols of female behavior considered desirable at that time. Besides weakening women psychologically, the beauty myth feeds a multibillion-dollar cosmetics industry, and keeps women from rising too high in the workplace by offering a way around antidiscrimination laws.
THE BEAUTY MYTH is an impassioned book. While occasionally didactic, it is carefully thought out and backed by exhaustive research. Wolf offers chapters on how the beauty myth functions at work, in the media and culture, in the religious sphere, and in sex and sexual relations; she also discusses relationship to violence against women by men and by women themselves in the form of eating disorders and cosmetic surgery. In a final chapter Wolf calls for a third wave of feminism that will dismantle the societal machinery that enforces adherence to the beauty myth.
Apparently, Miss Wolf’s statement in her book, “the choice to do whatever we want with our faces and bodies without being punished by an ideology that is using attitudes, economic pressure, and even legal judgments regarding women’s appearance to undermine us psychologically and politically,” doesn’t apply when it is Miss Wolf advocating the economic pressure of a “boycott” of Miss Parry’s music because of what Miss Perry did with her face and body in the video. At THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL, we call that hypocrisy . . . or Democrisy.
Women serving in the military are exactly what Miss Wolf thought women should be. They are working hard, in demanding jobs, and while most women do try to pay attention to their appearances, ACUs are not exactly skinny jeans or glamor clothing. When men have to do the 72-hour Victory Forge exercise to be graduated from Army Basic Combat Training, in full battle gear with 70 lb of equipment, the women have to do it right along with them. When the males have to rappel off the 40 foot tall Victory Tower during the second week of BCT, the females are right there, doing the same thing. When the men are training hard, in 100º F heat in the summer (as the Editor’s younger daughter did) or 20º F cold of the winter (as the Editor’s older daughter did), the women are right beside them, training with them. Our military is the most egalitarian branch of our society, where advancement is based on testing and merit.
That, apparently, isn’t feminist enough for Miss Wolf.
- As you can see from her picture, it was probably easy for Miss Wolf to disparage the notion of beauty, never lacking it herself. ↩
- Though the link is to Amazon.com, where you can buy the book, it is not on my recommended list, and therefore I will not receive a commission if you buy it through this link. ↩
- Your editor has not read The Beauty Myth himself. Here’s another review, which says roughly the same thing. ↩