July 25, 2008
I kissed a girl…but don’t worry, I’m not gay
Ever since I heard Katy Perry’s song, I’ve been critical and annoyed. I intended to write about it but so many others have already done so, and their views pretty much align with mine, so I thought I’d make a few comments and link to other awesome posts critiquing the song.
I, like many others, see this song as a representation of the casual, non-threatening, “girl-on-girl” performative play that dominates the representations of women’s same-sex attraction or desire. It plays on the exact stereotypes about bi or same-sex female desire that I discussed in my recent post about Tequila’s Shot at Love. The song’s message is that after a little alcohol, I can make out with another female; I may have liked it for a woman’s softness, scent, and feel, but don’t worry, I don’t plan on dating one. Kissing a girl is something “fun” to do, not anything serious that my boyfriend would be worried about–it’s all fun and games and something to do when you’re drunk at the bar.
On many blogs people ask if this is a remake of Jill Sobule’s song from the 90’s, that was very transgressive at the time. It’s not–it’s nowhere near close. Consider:
I kissed a girl, won’t change the world
But I’m so glad I kissed a girl
And we laughed at the world
They can have their diamonds
And we’ll have our pearls
I kissed a girl
For the first time
I kissed a girl
And I may do it again
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
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’m pretty frustrated that this song is so popular. Its message is not at all daring, and really isn’t at all queer-positive, but instead actually reinforces the status quo vis-a-vis female sexuality (performing as lesbian for male desire, that it’s “hot” for women to casually play around with chicks, but don’t worry, they’ll always come back for a Man), and it is actually a dangerous co-opting and erasure of queer female sexuality.
I was even more annoyed that this song was played at Saturday’s Gay Pride celebration here in Rochester, NY. One interesting thing: almost all the people I saw singing along were…men.
Other Smart posts about this song:
…7/29: I just stumbled on this one I had bookmarked a while ago from show me your wits!