Capitol Records

The Feminist Moment In ‘Bon Appétit’ You Might Have Missed

Revenge is best served cold

Katy Perry has recently given her fans a lot to chew on. The singer released the video for "Bon Appétit," which then broke the pop diva's own record for most YouTube views in a day, scoring 16.8 million hits in just 24 hours.

The video for "Bon Appétit," the second single off her upcoming fifth studio album, Witness, is itself a bold, fantastical culinary scenario in which Perry is on the menu. But what seems like a purely sexy seduction song is turned on its head by the end of the video, when the singer decides that, in fact, she won't be the evening's meal.

The video is classic Perry — a more blatant sex-in-the-club jam, perhaps, than her previous sultry hits, but still showcasing her uncanny ability to mix sensuality and humor. Like her famous whipped cream–shooting bra in "California Girls" and the sexy baking puns in "Birthday," the over-the-top premise for "Bon Appétit" verges on satire. Chefs knead and twist Perry's limbs like bread, boil her in a Jacuzzi-size pot, and serve her with a vegetable garnish to a group of hungry customers.

Capitol Records

Chefs prepare to boil Katy Perry in a scene from "Bon Appétit."

But this isn't 2010 Katy Perry, or even 2014 Katy Perry. This is 2017, post-election Katy Perry. And as previous single "Chained to the Rhythm" taught us, her songs are more than meets the ear.

On first listen, many dubbed "Chained to the Rhythm" another signature Perry dance-pop staple. But what the music video revealed — as Perry and similarly doe-eyed groups of people played in an amusement park named "Oblivia" — was instead a playful nudge to our increasing collective numbness. This gives the lyrics "So put your rose-colored glasses on / And party on / Turn it up, it's your favorite song" a more political context. To top it off, Perry's recent Grammys performance of the song included her dancing to the beat around a white house and picket fence, sporting an armband with the word "persist" on it.

Capitol Records

Katy Perry breaks from the crowd in "Chained to the Rhythm."

"Bon Appétit" is similarly deceptive. Throughout the video, Perry completely submits to the chefs "preparing" her, letting them burn, cut and boil her body in ways that she even seems to welcome. But when she's finally served on the table, the chefs who used to be in control are now under hers, tying up and gagging the patrons as she looks on triumphantly. And after the credits, we see Perry with a fork and knife, ready to eat a pie made of those who wanted to feast on her.

Capitol Records

Having turned the tables, Katy Perry is ready to dine in "Bon Appetit."

In a time when many women feel that their bodies are slipping out of their own control, it's empowering to see Perry turn the tables on those who threaten her agency.

The singles on "Witness" thus far seem to carry notes and reminders of Perry's recent political activism (most notably with Hillary Clinton's campaign) and open support of feminism. Even the album's title, Witness, seems to embody an idea of social and political awareness. In the case of "Bon Appétit," the message is subtle but clear — if you plan to mess with Katy Perry, she's ready to serve it right back.