Decoding Ariana Grande’s captivating music video “God is a Woman.’
Regardless of whether you are a fan of Ariana Grande or pop music in general, the God is a Woman music video for Grande’s newest album Sweetener will no doubt leave you a little intrigued and with more questions than answers.
For anyone who enjoys a casual trip to the art gallery, it would be difficult to get through this video without noticing the apparent symbolism that defined the song’s overall theme: the importance of women to the very fabric of humanity.
Obviously, this song has been released at a befitting time with the Me Too Movement and general feminism at the foreground of societal discussion. Ariana’s song alone may not convince you that God is a woman, but the video’s artistic director sure will. Here is a breakdown of the symbolism that can be seen throughout the video.
1. Georgia O’Keeffe
One of the first instances of symbolism in this video is shown as Ariana Grande lays ina pool of what looks like paint. However, upon closer inspection you can see the unmistakable likeness to Georgia O’Keeffe’s Black Iris (1926) with an obvious intimate reference (I’ll let you figure that out.) Georgia O’Keeffe is considered the ‘Mother of American Modernism.’ Her intriguing paintings have defined her as an icon for both artists and women alike. The use of her work in this scene insinuates the very essence of femininity.
2. Rodin’s “The Thinker”
The next visual has Grande posing on a slab of stone in a stoic fashion, looking down atminiature men picking out vitriolic words to throw toward her. This is probably one of the most visually creative parts of the video, as it was clearly designed to mimic the famous bronze sculpture of a thinking man created by French sculptor Auguste Rodin.
The utilization of this iconic image demonstrates the singer’s perception toward the negative comments she receives.
3. The Capitoline Wolf
One scene displays Grande as the iconic She-Wolf from the bronze sculpture of the Capitoline Wolf. According to Greco-Roman mythology, the she-wolf suckles infant twins Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Grande could be implying that it was due to the care and attention of a female entity in the mythos that the Empire of Rome was built. Further implying the importance of women whether in the real world or in literature.
4. Glass Ceiling
The video pauses for a short interlude that has Ariana mouthing the words of Madonna,who recites the bible verse Ezekiel 25:17, the same one Samuel L. Jackson quotes in Pulp Fiction. Ariana then throws a giant gavel toward a glass ceiling that shatters. This imagery clearly alludes to that proverbial glass ceiling that has come to define the
struggle for women’s political rights.
5. The Handmaid’s Tale
Toward the end, the singer can be seen chanting in the centre of a massive group of hooded women, alluding to the popular television show The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the work of Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. The book centers around the conceptualization of a patriarchal society from which its oppressed female subjects attempt to gain their freedom and independence.
The final shot pans out exposing a familiar image to all. The screen is immersed in the 16th century fresco “The Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo, remodeled to accommodate Ariana Grande as God and Eve as Adam. This final visual sums up the overall theme that femininity gives life to humanity. Interestingly, in the early 1990’s, an American physician published evidence that suggested the image of God surrounded by his creations in the famous painting perfectly resembled the outline of the human brain.
Moreover, other medical professionals have argued that rather than a brain, the image resembles a uterus. Some historians believe that Michelangelo purposely hid scientific findings of the period in obscured symbolism throughout many of his works. This idea was also mentioned in the popular HBO series Westworld. It can’t be confirmed that
Ariana Grande is aware of any of this, but if she is, perhaps it influenced her choice ofart for the final scene.
Ariana Grande’s upcoming fourth album Sweetener will be available later this summer on August 17, 2018.