It’s not news to most that it’s been shittier than usual to be a woman and/or to have a uterus in America in the last few months. Learning how to navigate the post-Roe world has been an endlessly frustrating and heartbreaking prospect. Like many artists, Dove Cameron is standing up and using her platform to push for change. Her latest music video for “Breakfast,” directed by Lauren Dunn, is a scathing rebuke of the patriarchy.
We enter into the world of a Mad Men era ad executive, only in this universe, men are under the thumb of women. Dove’s character barely even deigns to cast a condescending glance at her devoted house husband when he drops her breakfast. At work, male subordinates nervously avoid the gaze of Dove and her fellow female superiors, who cavalierly toss about headless photos of men while men serve them coffee. Dove’s character seduces an employee while an ad for whiskey (for “women who can handle their liquor”) plays. Later, the subordinate visits the doctor, who advises him to dress appropriately and watch his alcohol intake in the future.
The video poses a simple question – what if women operated themselves and ran the world the same way that men did? What if men were subjected to the same constant criticism and objectification and general gender role policing? How would they react if their feelings and indeed their life meant nothing to those in power? What the video presents as an oppressive dystopia for men already exists for women. The surreal aspects quickly dissipate into a clammy, nauseating reality as Dove settles in with her evening whiskey, only to recognize herself inside the television as a robotic Stepford ad girl, begging for escape as the overturning of Roe v. Wade is announced.
This is the reality for far too many people forced to hand over their reproductive autonomy to a government that too often ignores or flat out does not care about the lives of women, trans people, and non-binary folks. Not to mention the lives of the very children that this state instituted policy of forced pregnancy would produce. Dove is a fearless archer and this video is an aptly timed political crossbow. More artists should be as boldly unafraid to bare their teeth at social injustice. As the end credits state that this is “not the end,“ we are all reminded that in our deepest despair, we can unite together to create the greatest and most impactful change. Get involved with the National Network of Abortion Funds, Supermajority, EMILY’s List, and HeadCount.
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Dove Cameron Brings the Patriarchy to Its Knees in “Breakfast” Music Video.