Katy Perry isn’t the first white female pop star to show her problematic side, obviously, but her constant need to remind the world how not to handle fame is getting quite annoying.
Let’s start at the most obvious of her faults: her music. The songs “Ur So Gay” and “I Kissed a Girl” are some of the most trivializing and downright homophobic songs to hit the pop charts. Also, for somebody that claims to be a feminist, she’s made some pretty disgusting remarks about other women in the industry, demonstrated by her insightful opinion on nudity, “Like females in pop — everybody’s getting naked. I mean, I’ve been naked before but I don’t feel like I have to always get naked to be noticed. But it’s interesting to see … I’m not talking about anyone in particular. I’m talking about all of them. I mean, it’s like everybody’s so naked. It’s like put it away. We know you’ve got it. I got it too.”
The most recent slip-up was her unwarranted kiss on the lips to a 19-year-old “American Idol” contestant, who said that the kiss made him “uncomfortable,” and that he wanted to save his first kiss for a special relationship. Oh, and we can’t forget her apparent love for cultural appropriation, and how she thinks “It takes someone to say, out of compassion, out of love, ‘Hey, this is what the origin is’” for her to know that it’s wrong.
But I’m not here to necessarily end Katy’s career. Instead, I’d like to shed some light on the problems of pop-stardom and how they help perpetuate harmful stereotypes and practices without necessarily knowing they are doing so.
Katy has half-apologized for some of the offensive lyrics in the aforementioned songs, but she has yet to say anything about her nonconsensual kiss. And here we have to bring up the big problem: Sexual assault isn’t taken as seriously when it happens to a man.
In this macho-man society, young boys are brought up believing that they have control, especially in romantic relationships and sexual situations. So when, in this case, the power is taken away from the man by a woman, he is led to believe that he had to have consented to it. Just to be clear, MEN ARE NOT BEING OPPRESSED BY WOMEN, and that is not at all what I’m trying to convey, but these instances of sexual assault are still valid and wrong.
The man, “American Idol” contestant Benjamin Glaze, has since stated that he doesn’t feel like Katy’s kiss was harassment, which speaks volumes on the lack of guidance boys are given on what constitutes sexual harassment. Even though this isn’t the only problematic thing Perry has done, it does embody so much of what is wrong with fame, especially in the pop music machine.
We need to hold Katy accountable until she actually apologizes, or else we give her a free pass to keep being your problematic fave. And, to be honest, if you’re going to have a problematic fave, why not pick somebody who takes the time to address all of their mistakes and apologize? Without pitting women against each other, it’s important to note that there are plenty of other worthy underrated pop queens that exist, such as Charli XCX, Carly Rae Jepsen, Dua Lipa, Kehlani and MUNA.