Comment permalink

Katy Perry is Actually Pretty Awesome

For a while, I was a member of the “Katy Perry is a Dwindle Head” crowd. I thought she was just another scantily clad, mildly talented performer shaking her curves around, getting attention, and writing songs about kissing girls to do just that. But the more I’ve heard about the girl, the more I’ve come to admire and even respect her.

First of all, there was the whole Sesame Street thing, where a bunch of shocked parents protested that Perry showed too much cleavage to be on the show, so her whole performance with Elmo to her song “Hot N Cold” (which I’ve already maintained is more like a toddler song about opposites than anything else anyway, so why shouldn’t it be redone on Sesame Street?) was nixed from the show. It can still be seen online, though, and it’s pretty adorable, actually, with her dressed up and ready to play with Elmo, who keeps running away and showing the opposites in the song.

I found it perfectly appropriate; there was less cleavage than you’d see at the beach, and it was fun. My kid wouldn’t pay attention to Perry’s breasts at all, but even if she did, it’s nothing new; she was breast fed for a while, for goodness sake, and it’s not like breasts are evil. I’d much rather her see breasts than guns, and parents who maintain the opposite view worry me more than anything. Breasts and nudity and—gasp!—even sex are natural parts of life; guns and war are not.

Then there’s the fact that my daughter is starting to love her, which always makes me reconsider. That’s how I started to like Gaga, and though she doesn’t know the singers by their names, she knows what she likes, which includes the “Firework” song and its video.

Its video is just awe-inspiring. The song is about thinking you’re worthless because you’re different, because others might treat you as if you are less than worthy of taking up space. It features kids being bullied around by angry parents; a curvy teen girl who doesn’t want to get in the pool with all the skinny girls; a young boy with sickness; a boy with a crush on another boy, and other characters. Perry sings about letting your inner fireworks show to “show ‘em what you’re worth,” and each time a character in the video takes action—the kid standing up to the parents, for example, or the curvy girl removing her outer clothes and jumping into the pool and having fun, too—a small burst of fireworks comes out of their bodies, ultimately, at the end of the video, making a big, Fourth of July like display between them all. Yes, it’s pretty inspiring—and I’d much rather see this type of video than what we normally see. (Perry is also dressed rather modestly throughout the video.)

So now I’m thinking, maybe the whole “I Kissed a Girl” song was okay—not an exploitation of lesbians but an actual valid statement about just experimenting to determine who you are in the first place. We’ve all been there anyway, and shouldn’t there be songs about such human experiences? Then there is the whole song the Warblers from Glee covered, which I love, love, love.

Katy Perry, so far, so good. My daughter and I have your back.