Sunday, July 6, 2008


I'm doing something that I rarely do (and I really, really mean that!) -- I am changing my position on something that I actually felt strongly enough to blog about! Back in May I wrote about Katy Perry's hit song "I Kissed a Girl", deriding it as exploitation of lesbian sexuality. Let me say right off that I still think that the song commercializes on the excitement and controversy surrounding same-sex lovin' without effecting any type of positivity about actual lesbian sexual orientation. It's made pretty clear that the song is about a straight girl experimenting, thereby ridding it of any real "gay pride" theme. But I'll say this for the song: it certainly has showcased society's overwhelming homophobia as well as some incredible double standards. In fact, I have experienced such a mixture of disgust, offense and amusement at some of the things that I have heard and read that I felt compelled to write something in support of a song that I only recently heavily critiqued.

Since the song is so popular and chart-topping, it is on the radio constantly. And this means that parents who listen to the radio with their kids have had to make some decisions. Option one is to change the channel, which a lot of people seem to be doing since it is apparently too "scarring" and "confusing" for their eight-year-old to hear another girl singing, "I kissed a girl and I liked it." The popularity of such a song might pressure their darling daughter into feeling like she has to kiss another girl to be cool!! God forbid!

Let's just examine this first concept for a moment. The idea here is that it is not appropriate to discuss "alternative" sexualities with kids at such young ages. If kids are allowed to hear an explicity "lesbian-ish" song, their parents will have to then explain to them about heterosexuality and homosexuality and clearly talking to kids about gay people is just too inappropriate. After all, telling your child that some people love people of the same sex, is basically the equivalent of drawing them a diagram of sexual positions, right? And if they know that this type of lifestyle is an "option" what's to keep them from trying it? A much better idea is to never bring it up so that when they are confronted with it when they are older, they default to fear and intolerance.

I find people's hysteria over their children hearing this song to be extremely humorous. I mean, the song is about kissing for god's sake! It's not about oral sex or anything actually inappropriate, which makes it perfectly easy to explain to a child who has been raised in a tolerant and understanding household. Let's take my little sister for instance. From the time that she was a toddler, she has been raised to understand that there are all types of families and that love comes in many different forms. This song is not so confusing to her. In her eyes it is no more sexual than a song about a girl that enjoys kissing her boyfriend.

Which brings me to my next point. It seems like many people have some type of paranoia that by listening to this song, their daughters will want to experiment with girls as well. Personally I say, big deal! There certainly are worse things to be experimenting with. Now I don't have children yet, but I am absolutely positive that if I had a daughter and she told me that she had experimented with kissing another girl, I would be happy that she was brave enough to explore who she really was. I know of people who after that type of experimentation have found the answers to a lot of questions regarding their sexuality. I know of lasting relationships that have evolved out of what one person thought was just going to be an experiment. We should
be encouraging our children to explore their sexuality -- not repressing their curiosities. That's how we wind up with a whole lot of self-loathing closet-case gays and lesbians.

If Katy Perry's song makes every girl in America go out and hook up with another girl that would be awesome. Why? Because here is what I think would happen: about 90% of those girls who be like, "Hmm that was (insert adjective -- fun/interesting/gross). Now I know what that's like." And they will never do it again. But maybe around 10% (or maybe more) will be like, "Huh. I've never felt that way before when I kissed (insert boyfriend/ex-boyfriend/etc.). This explains a lot." And maybe those girls will be set down a path of self-discovery that takes some women years -- if not their entire lives -- to go down.

And that is really scary for a lot of people in America who don't want little gay girls to realize their sexuality before ... well, ever. So they have aneurysms over fun-loving, innocent songs of experimentation such as Katy Perry's while completely ignoring the fact that the lyrics of most other "popular" songs are wildly more inappropriate and have the potential to do a lot more psychological harm than a tune called "I Kissed a Girl."

Therein lies the double standard. The most scandalous thing about the song in question is the gender of the two individuals doing the kissing. Let's look at some of the other songs on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Coming in at #2, after "I Kissed a Girl" is Lil Wayne's "Lollipop." Here are some of the genius lyrics of that song: Man she ain't never / Had a love like mine / But man I ain't never / Seen an ass like hers / That pussy in my mouth / Had me loss for words / Told her to back it up / Like berp berp / And I made that ass jump. Here's some of the words from #8 on the charts, "Bust It Baby Part 2": I juss gave her a nick-name it's wet-wet / Cause when we finish she mess up all the bedsets / She got sommin' to relax me when I'm under stress. Then we have the Pussycat Dolls song "When I Grow Up" (#13) which has lyrics such as Now I've got a confession / When I was young I wanted attention / And I promised myself that I'd do anything / Anything at all for them to notice me ... When I grow up / I wanna be famous / I wanna be a star / I wanna be in movies.

And it isn't just lyrics that explicitly objectify women, glorify violence, adovcat
e materialism and narcissism, drugs, promiscuous sex ... the majority of young female pop stars are singing songs about boys while extremely scantily clad -- sending out the messages that (1) women are defined by their relationships to men and (2) a woman's body is her greatest asset. If parents want something to get upset about -- THAT is something to be upset about. But instead they laugh when their five-year-old shakes her booty to Fergie's "My Lumps" and gasp while changing the station when they hear "Us girls we are so magical / Soft skin, red lips, so kissable / Hard to resist so touchable / Too good to deny it / Ain't no big deal, it's innocent."

Well I'm not changing the radio station and I will happily listen to the "Bicurious girl's anthem", not because it's catchy (although it is) and not because I think Katy Perry has some actual talent (although she does) but because FOX News thinks it's going to make girls kiss each other. I'm hoping. We could use a bit more gaiety in this world.

And Katy Perry, you may be just a straight girl finding fame through sexual ambiguity but bless you for throwing this issue in people's faces. You've made kissing girls cool and pissed off a lot of people while doing it. Keep on rockin!