PopFilter Special Report

POPFILTER SPECIAL REPORT:

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Fuck you, Katy Perry!!

 

Katy Perry has been around for several years now, and for the most part, she never really bothered me. She never gave offense or made me take notice of her. I just kind of just assumed she was an amalgamation of different successful producer’s ideas, packaged in a way that was designed to make money. No different than an iPod.

Because I subscribe to basic cable and have access to her Wikipedia page, I can throw together a brief bio on her. She was born Kathryn Elizabeth Hudson. The first record she ever released was a Christian album 2001 titled, “Katy Hudson.”

 

That’s right, gospel music with synthesizers. The stuff of pop legends

 

Not surprisingly, the album did not enjoy much commercial success. So she did what any ambitious and devout singer who wants to have a successful pop career would do: she lost the Christian shtick and starting singing songs about lipstick lesbianism.

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She was also married to Russell Brand for at least a few months, if not a year. The fact that she is the former Mrs. Brand is probably the most interesting thing about her. Russell Brand is our generation’s most precocious wordsmith. He looks like a cracker-jacks crazy hippie, and he’s a total cut up. He speaks so eloquently and ridiculously at the same time. He’s the kind of imbecile who will talk about his chlamydia in a story where he  describes Foucault’s ideas about how determining  what people accept as knowledge is exactly how the powerful throughout history have been able to control populations. He’s a very clever jester. Here, watch him talk circles around a couple of MSNBC pundits and leave them doofy and speechless while completely hijacking the show.

 

 

So given all that, you have to understand that before this morning, I had no strong feelings about Katy Perry. That is, until I was driving to work and flipping through the FM stations and one of her songs came on that I have probably heard, I dunno, a hundred times without ever paying attention to. It ‘s called“ Kiss me” and features the guy who just thinks he’s this generations cleverest wordsmith: Kanye West.

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What follows are the actual lyrics to the song.

The chorus followed by West’s rap,

Kiss me, kiss me/  Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison/ Take me, take me
Wanna be a victim/ Ready for abduction
Boy, you’re an alien/ Your touch so foreign
It’s supernatural/Extraterrestrial

{ West’s Part}
I know a bar out in Mars
Where they drivin’ spaceships instead of cars
Cop a prada space suit about the stars
Getting stupid hah, straight up out the jars
Pockets on shrek, rockets on deck
Tell me what’s next? Alien sex.
Imma disrobe you
Then Imma probe you
See I’ve abducted you
So I’ll tell you what to do
I tell you what to do (what to do, what to do)

 

 

Is she really volunteering to be kidnapped and sexually assaulted?? And by an illegal immigrant?!

And then you have West popping in to inform us that not only is he going to abduct her, but he repeats “I’ll tell you what do” multiple times. What do you suppose that is? Have her do some household chores?

 

Being a man means not know to dry dishes properly. It’s very confusing for them.

Being a man means not know to dry dishes properly. It’s very confusing for them.

Violence against women is a lot of things. It’s disgusting, it’s far too common, it can even be funny, but it is never, ever cute. A few years ago, a self-labeled “anti-racist feminist” and American author  Jennifer L. Pozner released a book called, “Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV.” In it she absolutely skewers America’s Next Top Model and Tyra Banks for glamorizing violence against women and what she calls, “sexy torture.” She lambastes the show for equating pain with beauty, and Banks herself for her tongue lashing of a contestant for her self-indulgence when she succumbed to hypothermia during a photo shoot in which the models where submerged in a freezing pool. Wearing only bikinis. For a few hours. This kind of attitude isn’t exclusive to this song, in fact you can find it scattered all over the cultural medium. It sends a crazy message when pop culture is creating the discourse that women in pain is sexy or somehow desirable. Or in Katy Perry’s case, not only that women in peril are attractive, but women are actually begging for it.

Now I suppose Ms. Perry is not the first to send this message. Lots of female characters in the past have played the part of damsel in distress. Such as

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Her.

 

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Her too.

 

Almost all the Disney Princesses

Okay, pretty much all Disney Princesses.

 

Even this bitch.

Even this bitch.

 

Even in Superhero movies.

Most broads in superhero movies.

 

And really, the list goes on and on. So I can’t hold Katy Perry personally responsible for this cliche. But where I find her lyrics especially offensive in the over sexualization of victim hood. I know this is only one song from a pop tart, but I’m seeing this passive acceptance of violence creep up from time to time in pop music. Not to mention a lot of the fans of Perry are little girls who want to emulate everything their favorite pop-princess does. But bottom line, victimization is not sexy, it is the exact opposite of empowering. But I suppose Katy Perry could be a much worse role model…

Impossible not to mention these two when the topic is violence against women in pop music.

Impossible not to bring these two up when discussing violence against women in pop music.

 

 

You can read an excerpt from Jennifer L. Pozner’s book @jezebel.com

 

 

-Stephanie Rose

 

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