When singer Laura Gibson set about making a video for her new single, “Domestication,” she thought of the women in the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
It’s not a compliment. Rather, it’s the latest example of the FLDS being used in media as a punchline or warning. In a news release promoting the video, Gibson refers to the church as “the FLDS cult.”
The song, she explained, is a fable, of sorts, “the story of a wolf trying and failing to live as a woman. I was thinking a lot about shape-shifting.”
“Though I’d meant ‘domestication’ in the animal sense,” Gibson said in the news release, “when it came time to make the video, I liked the idea of using the term in the homemaking sense.
“I’d been obsessed with this photo I’d found of the pastel women of the FLDS cult and wanted to build a world and a story around the aesthetic, something like the speculative societies of Margaret Atwood or Ursula Le Guin. At the end of the story, I wanted the women to act like wolves.”
In the video, women don pastel dresses — in shades and with necklines that don’t actually match what FLDS followers wear — and act obediently toward a man in a bolo tie.
A Portland musician, Gibson is often described as a folk singer or indie rocker. Her mainstream success came in 2008, when she helped kick off what became NPR’s Tiny Desk concerts.