A lesbian criticism of Katy Perry’s pop chart hit song and music video, “I Kissed a Girl”, reinforces societies hetero-normative preference that one cannot identify as lesbian or gay unless a display or performance of these homosexual desires have been acted on.
Affirming the fears society has towards homosexuality, Perry establishes within the first verse that to kiss a girl, she needs to be “brave” and “have a drink in hand”. Perry also clarifies to the listener that although she has sexual curiosity and desire towards other women, she does indeed have a boyfriend. As well as catering to present day’s homophobic values, Perry plays with hyper femininity in her music video. The first screen cap of Katy Perry pictures her lying on a pink bed spread next to a stuffed bunny rabbit as she is petting a small kitten. Perry is surrounded by beautiful women dressed in lingerie made of lace and silk as well as frilly skirts, heels and pink jewelry. All the women are thin, have pink or red eye shadow or lipstick on and are dancing together in a room full of flowers while snacking on cakes decorated with pink berries. For the rest of the video the beautiful women are filmed having pillow fights as we all know that this is a sexy and coveted event at every female slumber party. For most of the video, however, the women’s legs and breasts are shown in isolation to strengthen the illusion that these women have don’t faces and identities and are indeed sexual objects.
These items associated with femininity are displayed to highlight that Katy Perry’s desire and curiosity for other women is purely for aesthetic and sensual reasons. Katy Perry does not fight he hyper masculine values of today’s media that emphasize that the women’s purpose is sex and to be sexy. Katy Perry feeds into this patriarchal cultural standard. While Perry displays these women as desirable “magical” creatures who are so touchable, she in fact never touches another woman in her video. Perry never kissed a girl…in her music video. Perry sings coats her lesbian desire to kiss another women with shame, claiming that “it’s not what good girls do”. No girls in the video perform the act of kissing. A con-structuralist would say that as there is no sexual act performed, our homophobic society has no need to fret as none of these beautiful women could be lesbians, and therefore are still desired and fetishized by men.
To further comfort Perry’s image as a straight, white, and hyper feminine pop culture icon, she is seen at the end of the video waking up in bed with a man. Perry overcompensated by not only rejecting a display of a woman on woman sexual act, but also by hinting to the viewer that a sexual act had occurred between herself and the sleeping man she wakes up next to. In fact it is also inferred that this spectacle of lesbian desire is merely a dream that Katy Perry can conveniently awake from in the morning.[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAp9BKosZXs[/youtube]