If you rolled your eyes at the idealized, empowered depiction of war in Katy Perry‘s “Part Of Me” video, you’re not alone; voices as diverse as feminist writer Naomi Wolf and Fucked Up front man Damian Abraham agree with you. But for anyone who’s not yet convinced this was a dumb fucking theme for a music video (especially coming from someone who claims to be a progressive), here’s something to drive the point home.
Created by Youtube user daniellemarieleduc, this “jammed video” inter-cuts Perry’s slick recruitment video with real images of the horrors of war. For every romanticized “army of one” there’s an image of atrocities carried out by the US military, like the sadistic torture that took place at Abu Ghraib, or the massacre of civilians by Blackwater military contractors. Smartly, she also included more common scenes like dead children, grieving widows, and military suicide rates, because those cannot simply be written off as freak anomalies; they’re endemic to the very concept of war.
If I had made this video, I might also have included some statistics on the problem of rape within the military, as the video deals solely with female marines. Of the thousands of sexual assault reports filed each year, only a tiny fraction are ever prosecuted, and an even smaller fraction are punished. Women currently serving in Iraq are more likely to be raped by a fellow service member than killed by enemy fire.
But that’s not as nice to think about as cool haircuts, American flags and getting over your ex-boyfriend!