Skimming through music channels over the weekend – including the video rotation set-up on City Channel – I caught the video for Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl about five times. How have I managed to avoid this until now? Rivetted by all the declarations of faux lesbianism, not to mention the corsetry, it bugged the hell out of me. What folk do for sexual kicks is none of my business and I’m all for consensual experimentation. Choice is king and plenty of heterosexual gals have snogged women in the past but Perry’s song bothers me for umpteen reasons, not least because of the pandering to patriarchy.
She hopes her boyfriend “don’t mind” her lesbian dabbling because let’s face it, he owns her. Kissing a girl is, for her, less an act of self-motivation and more a playing-to-the-gallery act of titillation. She warbles a coquettish apology to her beau, but who cares what he thinks? If you really want to kiss a girl, go for it, love. Of course, there is the hetero opt-out excuse of having to be drunk to do this (“I got so brave, drink in hand”), as if kissing another woman was a grubby act only carried out when half-cut and out-of-control.
All of the “It felt so wrong/It felt so right” stuff also panders to male fantasies of women. If the song was by a guy about a guy, there’d be widespread horror, but once it’s an attractive women talking about passionately oscullating with another girl, it’s absolutely fine. Perry thinks she’s talking about her own desire, but she’s really defining herself according to a male perception of it. For all her declarations of wanting to do this for herself, to try something new, all that comes across is stereotype of the naughty girl performing for an unseen audience of (male) peep show stooges.
Near the end of the song, she sings:
“It’s not what, good girls do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Hard to obey”
What’s that now? Who came up with this notion of the good girl? It’s something you see in porn/fantasy about bad girls being the ones who give the best head and good girls, needing to be chastised by being sexually dominated. My blood BOILS. Women should know how to “behave”, ie be submissive, flirtatious, prepared to get off with other women for their man’s titillation, but ultimately shut up and do what they’re told. She gets “confused”, as us mere women do and as for the obey line, the last time I checked, I wasn’t anybody’s servant.
All that, AND she sounds like Alannah Myles of Black Velvet, er, fame.