By Bernard Dayo
First, Katy Perry’s Bon Appétit is a catchy, dance-pop track. She uses low breathy vocals on steady thumping drums in the verses and, when Migos are introduced, they completely kill it with monster rap flows, goofily playing around with food-related sexual innuendoes. And the video, only released yesterday and Hannibal-esque in its execution, is eerily literal. Perry is sealed to a bed in a plastic wrap, like some frozen chicken, and then a group of chefs approach her as they sharpen knife against knife. They peel away the wrap and Perry is awakened but not frightened.
She is competently carried to a different room where she is rubbed with flour on a table, capable hands pressing and kneading her limbs. She wears a comfortable smile even as she’s boiling in a huge pot with carrots and onions and greens because, after all, it’s her desire to be prepped as a meal, to fulfill her lover’s sexual appetites. “You could use some sugar/ ‘Cause your levels ain’t right,” she sings, “I’m a five-star Michelin, A Kobe flown in /You want what I’m cooking, boy.”
Lovely string of words there, but this just mirrors the unfavourable dynamic in romantic/sexual relationships in which women, right from a young age, are socialised into the compulsory obligation that they have to please men. From orgasm inequality, where a woman machines herself until the man is sexually satisfied and she gets nothing in return, to the everyday society-sanctioned subservience that a woman must display. Women do not exist in this world to make men happy, and although there’s nothing wrong in doing something for your partner, it’s worth mentioning that women shouldn’t be expected to do things because they are “women.”
Perry’s Bon Appétit is situated in a sexual context that panders to patriarchal expectations of womanhood. How nice it will be if the social script was thrown out the window, and Perry is the one feasting and getting her own sexual appetite sated. Conversations like this have to be brought up in the bedroom, where the sexual desires of women are not only heard, but met. This, though, isn’t as easy as it sounds, because men have a lot of deconditioning to do—same as women. Beyond this, Perry’s Bon Appétit video is a visually stunning work; and huge credits to the cartoon clam who pops up and yells “Offset!” just as Offset starts his rap verse.
Watch the video below: