To heighten the import and weight of Christina Aguilera’s pièce de résistance of feministic anthems (“Fall In Line” being a culmination of her singles “Beautiful” and “Can’t Hold Us Down”), her latest video with Demi Lovato pays homage to uncertain V For Vendetta theme. Starting from the picturesque opening with Aguilera and Lovato frolicking about in a meadow filled with springtime air just before two men dressed all in black attire with black, gas mask-like helmets close in for the capture, we get the same sense we did during V For Vendetta when Valerie (Natasha Wightman) and her girlfriend, Ruth (Mary Stockley), are in the initial phases of their relationship, all awash with vibrant cinematography that soon turns gray with the invasion of “America’s war” in London (at the time, The Wachowski Brothers, who wrote the screenplay V For Vendetta, seemed to think it would be Bush’s policies that would cause the extremism of making lesbianism a crime punishable by law). Like Christina and Demi, the two are ripped apart by the men in boots that want them to fall in line. And though this is not the dynamic between the duo in the video, that same sense of being plucked from someone you love as a result of a erratic government dictates is most definitely present.
What’s more, Aguilera’s reminiscences from her prison cell to that carefree time in the meadow are tantamount to both Evey (Natalie Portman) and Valerie’s grim imprisonment as they both reflect back on a time when things in their life weren’t quite so bleak or oppressive. The heart of the matter about being a woman, however, is that there was never a time when it was not bleak or oppressive. It is, in fact, only just now that we’re mildly starting to see some light at the end of the centuries-long pitch black tunnel, at least in terms of feeling that unbridled freedom of expression is no longer something that can simply be quashed away by a man’s boots.
After her captors prop her up and hand her a microphone, Aguilera, dressed in a vinyl jacket and knee-high boots cautions women, “All the truth in a girl is too precious to be stolen from her.” As though participating in some more sadistic form of The Voice, Xtina and Demi obey as they’re told to literally sing for their supper in front of these cameras, more overt in their surveillance than the ones simply monitoring clandestinely while they sit in their separate cells. And even though Evey’s trials and tribulations of torture were all part of “V’s” cosplay for eliminating fear, there was truth in every moment of suffering in that cell, a place that doesn’t have to be literal most of the time, especially in this epoch.
In a more empowered ending to her imprisonment than Evey’s, Aguilera is the one to free herself from the cage after choking one of the guards and joining Lovato in the hallway to take out the guard escorting her as they calmly climb out of the underground and into the light (kind of like the mole women in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). Amazed and relieved at the glory of their freedom, crosscuts to the two of them as youths again nod to the fact that a girl’s belief in her power starts early, which is why, as so often is the case, females are told to be and act a specific way during the easy indoctrination of their youth. For those who hear and see the video for “Fall In Line,” maybe it will be just a little bit more facile to recognize that power sooner, and not give it away so easily.