Katy Perry's new video “Part of Me” seems harmless enough and fluffy as usual, despite the attempt at “female emancipation” for listeners and fans. However, the history of her song repertoire tells a different story.
Perry’s debut single with “Ur So Gay” is problematic enough with immature trashing of a guy from her past. The lyrics go so far as to insult him by saying he's gay, but worse, he’s gay and doesn't even like boys. Have her public relations people and writers not thought of young gay adolescents struggling with their identities and even day to day lives due to the overwhelming homophobia in our society? Or is this just a cute expression of anger from Perry herself, who has no clue how the intent of her words could be perceived?
Another single of Perry’s which was one of her biggest hits, has lyrics that make fun of another male by saying he’s like a girl. In “Hot and Cold” Katy exclaims “you change your mind, like a girl changes clothes/ you PMS like a bitch I would know.” It’s interesting that feminists are considered people that hate men with intent to emasculate them, yet Perry’s lyrics trash men with normative and stereotypical references to gender and sexuality. This is not feminism and it is not a means to empower women or humanity in general. It just perpetuates old fashioned, harmful gender roles that need to be changed.
The heteronormative lyrical exploitation of a possible female queer experience is played out in "I Kissed a Girl" in such a hooky way, even I used the catch phrase the song created. Yet, when looking deeper I can't help but think of the way a song like this reinforces the female queer experience, or even female desire, as something entirely expressed for the heterosexual male. After all, Katy Perry exclaims,” I kissed a girl just to try it, hope my boyfriend don't mind it”. A typical pop singer such as Perry cannot have a new experience without the backdrop of a male lurking in the shadows.
All of these silly lyrics that I perhaps take too seriously don’t even matter anyway, because Perry is now embracing “female empowerment”. Her latest video called “Part of Me” takes pop material to the highest level of ignorance. Coming from someone who writes and sings lyrics as I’ve discussed above, are we really supposed to believe Perry as a character to now cut off her hair, bind her chest, and take on a "masculine" role. Even in a role that she is playing for a video, it tops all with the most cliché, phoney attempt at battling discrimination based on gender and sexuality. I cannot even get into the possible transphobic message this video could send. It would take too many words and give Perry and her makers too much credit for possibly knowing too much and abusing it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuwfgXD8qV8&ob=av2e
- Deeanna Danger -
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