We’ve had a lot to say about Katy Perry here on AfterEllen.com — from “I Kissed a Girl” to “UR So Gay” to her playing at the Dinah or covering Out magazine. And we do realize that not all of you share in the sentiment that she was exploiting lesbian and bisexual women with her hit song, but surely we can all agree on the fact that interviews she gave around the time of the single’s release focused on her saying it was simply a made up song about things she hadn’t seriously experienced. To us, it felt like she was using us for fodder, and she had been successful.
This month, the pop star explains to Vanity Fair why she did that. An except from Vanity Fair.com’s snippet of the interview:
Perry talks to [contributing editor Lisa] Robinson about the controversy surrounding her early hit “I Kissed a Girl,” saying she thinks the song worked because “finally someone was singing about something that existed. But it really was [meant to be] fun; there was no agenda.” Perry admits she didn’t discuss it honestly at first because a couple of “sleazy” male journalists made her uncomfortable. “So I said no, I hadn’t experienced it, even though I had, because I didn’t like where the guys were taking the interviews.”
Obviously she was speaking with a female reporter at VF so she might have felt more open to discuss the topic, as well as her strained relationship with her very Christian parents and her marriage to Russell Brand. But what are we to think of her statements on a song sung about women who kiss other women (albeit under the influence of alcohol)?
First, I don’t think anyone thought Ms. Perry had an agenda — other than the people her mom hangs around with, maybe. But there are several songs about women kissing one another, including the original Jill Sobule tune of the same name, so it wasn’t completely original. And maybe it is true that Katy has had this experience of kissing another woman while out drinking at a bar, and it made her feel “experimental” or anything but a “good girl,” but does that make the song any less offensive?
You see, the problem I had with the song (besides the lyrics like “I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it”) was the press she did surrounding the song. And the thing is, they weren’t all “sleazy males.” In fact, here’s something she told my gay (non-sleazy) pal Zack Rosen over at The New Gay:
I love my men. I’m not a lesbian, but I can appreciate the beauty of women. That’s what the song is about: me opening up a magazine and seeing Scarlet Johansen and saying “if she wanted to to kiss me I wouldn’t say no.
And he asked if the song was just a fantasy. Her response:
Yeah, it’s fantasy, it’s a song about curiosity.
It’s been three years since the song came into our consciousness, but it obviously still carries a lot of weight in our community and in Katy’s career. Has your viewpoint on it changed? Does Katy saying she’s kissed girls make you feel differently about the song?