Katy Perry

Bisexual Women Are the New Sexy in Pop Music

Historically, pornography has been used more often by straight men to look at women than vice versa. As such, as pop becomes more pornographic, it is the girls’ clothes that come off more so than the boys’. Likewise, there is a strong tradition in pornography of straight men enjoying girl-on-girl scenes, a tradition not equally matched by women enjoying gay male erotica. Thus the rise of female bisexual imagery in the music industry is directly linked to the pornographisation of pop: as straight men enjoy girl-on-girl action in porn, we see a softcore reflection of this all over pop culture. And as many female porn stars take such work where they can get it, regardless of their real sexuality, it seems many pop stars do the same.

I’ve always thought “I Kissed a Girl”—despite being extremely catchy and fun to sing along with—was exploitative.

"Are You a Feminist?"

Katy Perry recently became the latest in a long line of well-known women to answer this question in the negative. Specifically, when Perry accepted Billboard’s Woman of the Year award on Friday she said: “I’m not a feminist, but I do believe in the power of women.”

Much yelling ensued.

Every few days some high-profile lady says something along these lines, and without fail every feminist or woman-targeted website posts one of the following responses:

  1. How dare she say she isn’t a feminist? Doesn’t she know what feminism has done for her?
  2. It doesn’t matter whether she says she’s a feminist or not; she is.
  3. It doesn’t matter whether she says she’s a feminist or not; feminism is still the most awesome.
  4. Fine, we don’t want her, then!
  5. Oh, no! This makes me sad because I love her so much/she’s so cool!
  6. People need to quit tricking women into thinking feminism isn’t for them!

I tend to incline toward the last of these reactions, but this piece by Noah Berlatsky argues for a more nuanced view of the issue:

Perry’s unwillingness to be called a feminist might… be seen as a sign, not of feminism’s failures, but of its continuing relevance. It would be better if feminism were more widely accepted. But failing that, the least a movement for radical social change can do is to freak people out a little. Feminism still provokes resistance; it still has enemies; it still makes many people in the mainstream nervous.