If you’ve not seen the video for Dove Cameron’s Breakfast, where the hell have you been?
Released earlier this year, Breakfast is a protest song for a new generation. A direct response to the growing discontent in America, in the wake of the overturning of Roe v Wade and the continuing conversation around women’s safety in a post #MeToo era.
A cleverly subversive single, Breakfast is full of saccharine sweet vocals, which provide some camouflage to direct and confrontational lyrics. It’s a heady mix of politics and pop, wrapped up in some catchy melodies, which remind us of Billie Eilish and an early Lily Allen.
The video is set in an alternative version of 60’s America, where traditional gender roles are flipped and the matriarchy rules supreme. Cameron follows in her own Emmy award-winning footsteps by playing two roles: a perfectly manicured TV actor selling everything from floor cleaner to whiskey, and a power-suit-clad Mad Men-style ad exec; the classic “beautiful dickhead”.
However much we might want a female-run world to be a benevolent one, the world of Breakfast paints a more sinister picture of domination. At the beginning of the video, we see a pin-striped Cameron flipping through a broadsheet. Her husband is barely acknowledged as he cleans her spilt food off the floor. Then the bridge kicks in, and Breakfast’s lyrics make it clear that Cameron is going to be direct in her challenge to traditional Western gender dynamics: “so you wanna talk about power?…let me show you power.” A line which is so much more complicated than it first appears. Is it a feminist call to arms? A nod to the enduring power of the American state over women’s freedom to choose? An acknowledgement of continuing gender inequality? Or is it all three?
What is certain is that Breakfast firmly adds Cameron’s voice to the ever-growing movement of female-identifying creators. Like Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman or Suzie Miller’s Prima Facie, Breakfast confronts people with some uncomfortable realities.
One of the most uncomfortable of which happens after some booze-fuelled groping of Cameron’s secretary. Later, we see him with his feet in the stirrups at the doctor’s office. A man who has been victimised is now being blamed and we hear the dark, and somewhat familiar advice, from the person in authority: “Make sure you’re dressed appropriately so you’re not provoking women.” His safety and rights over his own body take second place to the needs of those in power and we hear Cameron’s voice sweetly singing the words “I never said it’s right, but I’m gonna keep doing it.”
‘Not the end’
The video may be set in the 1960s but the issues it covers could not be more prescient. The landmark ruling to overturn Roe v Wade has now removed the constitutional right to abortion in America, and Dove Cameron has made her views pretty clear: this shit is archaic. But even with the heavy subject matter, she leaves her fans on a hopeful note and the final frame of Breakfast is a simple message, ‘Not the end.’
We won’t lie, we love Dove Cameron at Nonchalant. A talented, queer creator who, if Breakfast is anything to go by, may add “future leader of a revolution” to her long-ass resume. The conversation around abortion and women’s rights can often be divisive. Cameron manages to be entertaining and almost playful, even whilst she is putting her opinion right in the middle of the discussion. Breakfast is a great reminder that there’s more than one way to have a conversation, and that art can often be more powerful than protest.
We know the world can be a bit intense sometimes so if you want to skip the politics and just listen to a sexy banger instead, then get on to Cameron’s latest single Boyfriend (psst, we wrote an article about this one too, check it out here). But, seriously, why the fuck would you want to skip this? You know what they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Peace and love,