Sunday, June 29, 2008

#1 Song Derogatory to Lesbian, Bisexual Women

The number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart this week is a song that seems like it would be a step in the right direction for the LGBT community. "I Kissed A Girl" by female solo artist Katy Perry, however, is extremely derogatory to lesbian and bisexual women.

Let me just go right into the lyrics to explain.

This was never the way I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, drink in hand
Lost my discretion

So, the only way a woman should even consider kissing another woman is if it the thoughts are brought on by alcohol. She "lost her discretion", implying that, had she been sober, she never would have even considered these crazy thoughts.

It's not what, I'm used to
Just wanna try you on
I'm curious for you
Caught my attention

Nothing specifically wrong with this. In context, though, it's saying it's odd, thinking about kissing a girl.

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chapstick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don't mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don't mean I'm in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it

So the chorus. She does like it, that's a plus. But she states, again, that she's just trying it. This is a one time thing. She's definitely heterosexual. She thinks of her boyfriend while it's all happening. It felt wrong and right, leading the listener to believe that this is a particularly odd happening. She, again, makes sure to drive home the point that she's not in love, that's out of the questions.

No, I don't even know your name
It doesn't matter
You're my experimental game
Just human nature

Again, just an experiment. This isn't normal. I'm just checking it out.

It's not what, good girls do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey

This is the worst, I think. "It's not what good girls do." Do I really have to say anything about this section? She's blatantly knocking down lesbian behavior, saying it's not normal in any way.

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

Here we stereotype women. Soft, red lips, blah blah. And again demeans the act by saying it's not serious, just innocent. She doesn't mean anything by it.

So we make leaps forward through California's lift of the gay marriage ban, and only a few weeks later, somehow this song flies to the top of the charts. Just what we need to keep the tolerance train rolling along.

*Side note: it seems Ms. Perry used to be a Christian singer by a different name. Check out the story here.


Leah said...

Seems she has another song out called "Ur So Gay."

Carly Ann said...

Yeah, we checked that one out...

Randy said...

I think you may be coming down a bit harsh on her, here.

For starters, I'm willing to bet that 90% of America (certainly more than that in the Ozarks) is still uncomfortable with the very idea of actually kissing someone of the same sex, let alone actually doing so. The very fact that the song brings UP this topic is a step towards making people think about it.

Two, Katy Perry is one sarcastic (expletive(s) of choice here) artist. She blatantly plays up this fact every chance she gets. The whole "this isn't what good girls do" line doesn't come off to me as saying it's wrong, but more that it's often PERCEIVED as wrong... never mind the fact that she points out in the same song that it ISN'T wrong. That, and the whole rebellion thing: it's what rock 'n roll is ABOUT. People likely to listen to this song in the first place are more likely to be inspired to TRY things the song contains than psychoanalyze what the words mean. And in the chorus, the whole "felt so wrong, felt so right" part... well come on. Anyone raised in a "you should be heterosexual" environment (which, as she was raised Christian, she most certainly was) is going to feel a bit conflicted and apprehensive about kissing someone of the same sex. As an overall role model, the song ENCOURAGES young women to try it and see what it's like. They may enjoy it, they may not. How is that derogatory to the LBGT community?

And as for the song "Ur So Gay"... it's not even mocking a gay person. It's mocking a straight guy who unintentionally "acts gay"... plus the whole fact that it's actually written about her boyfriend kind of turns that on it's head anyway, since she admits to being in love with the guy anyway, despite the obvious social faux-pas he makes (because, as much as you might want to think the contrary, society does not, in fact, tolerate homosexuality yet).

Oh, and while she USED to be a Christian artist... she is most definately not anymore. She's vying to take over Alanis Morisette's spot as the dominant "bet you didn't think I was this dirty, huh?" female artist.

...I honestly wish I could make it up to Warped Tour this week to see her perform live. I bet it'd be a blast.

And I bet there's going to be girls kissing in the audience, too.

Amber said...

In the music video she ends up back in bed with her boyfriend.

One of my biggest problems with pop cultures take on homosexuality is that girl-on-girl is simply a transient sexual act with no emotional connection. This seems to be in that same boat.

"Sure I will go kiss a girl, but I am still going to end up with a boy, where I belong. Kissing a girl may feel good, but it isn't love."

I am not convinced this song is really derogatory or counterproductive. Still, the lines about her boyfriend, and the portrayal of her lying in his bed shows that she isn't taking the tryst with a girl as anything more then fun at a club.

Randy said...

"the portrayal of her lying in his bed shows that she isn't taking the tryst with a girl as anything more then fun at a club."

As would be the case for the vast majority of people. However, for those who DO try and it DO feel emotional resonance, things might be quite a bit difference.

Carly Ann said...

@ Randy -

First of all, I didn't talk about the song Ur So Gay, so that's a mute point.

Secondly, just because 90% of people are turned off by the idea of two girls kissing, as you say, that doesn't mean songs should cater to those people.

You say bringing up the topic is enough. I disagree. Bringing it up in a negative light is just as bad as not bringing it up at all.

And thanks to your final mention of girls kissing in the audience of warped tour, I really don't have anything else to say.

Randy said...

"just because 90% of people are turned off by the idea of two girls kissing, as you say, that doesn't mean songs should cater to those people. "

I still fail to see how this song caters to those people. Those people would rather not hear ANYTHING about girls kissing, let alone a song about how a girl kissed another girl and liked it, no matter how frivolous the kiss was.

Think of it this way: if you (and by you I mean any female, not any particular person) were single, at a party, a little drunk, it's very possible you might kiss a guy you think is cute. Does that mean there's anything deep there? Anything lasting? No. You kissed a guy and you liked it. That's all it is and all it has to be. Why is it held to a different standard if you just happen to kiss someone of the same sex?

Having participated in a game of co-ed spin the bottle before, I've kissed guys. Didn't really like it, but... well, beard is weird. But it wasn't horribly gross or off-putting or morally petrifying in any way. (OK... kissing that one guy was a little gross, but he smelled like anchovies.) Still, if I HAD liked it, would that make me bi-sexual? Not really. It just means I like kissing. Why should it be any different for Ms. Perry? And if I HAD liked it and turned out to be bi-curious after all, wouldn't that be a step forward for me, as an individual, to help support gay rights where I might previously not have? To me, this song ENCOURAGES people to try and see. Most people will have the same reaction the song did: "hmmm, that was fun." Some might be repulsed, some might change their outlook completely.

I cannot understand how her portrayal of kissing a girl in the song is in any way offensive or demeaning, even after reading your analysis. You seem to grasp for straws where there are none about how the song is meant to trivialize the kiss. Not every kiss has to mean love.

To me, the song is harmless at worst, and most likely helpful to furthering people's self-awareness.

But hell, maybe I'm just crazy because I happen to be a Christian and that automatically makes me wrong, right?

Blue Devil Knight said...

Randy nailed it.

sterkworks said...

I like the song. I feel the lyrics (thanks for posting them) are an accurate portrayal of what someone would think had she never "kissed a girl." She might even be a lesbian and doesn't know it yet. Think of the possibilities of a great follow up to this song! "I dumped the guys." "I'm now a carpet muncher." Etc.

Josh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh said...

Or maybe that a good girl doesn't randomly kiss people period, and a girl that bends both ways is socially seen as a sluttier girl than her counterpart who's boat only floats on 1 lake, therefore not good. This is the most out-played over-dramatized synopsis of anything I have ever seen... if you're going to look that hard and bend that much for anti-lesbian material, please, look elsewhere, or get a life. End of story.