Of Kissing Girls
Five years ago, I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry came out. I instantly hated the song. I found the song annoying, and it bothered me on a deeper level. Though, at the time, I didn’t think about it enough to delve into why. Now, I realize there are many reasons the song perturbed me. First, it’s disingenuous. I read an article that asked Perry if she’d ever kissed a girl. The pop star responded that she hadn’t. That fact alone didn’t really bother me because I don’t think art (if we’re being generous here with the term) has to be one hundred percent truth.
Songs tell stories, even if they’re silly, catchy, or auto tuned. Songs also communicate and often reinforce certain ideas that are already floating around. For example, the song is dripping with a sexuality that is attempting to attract men. By using the falsity of a lesbian encounter; essentially, Perry seduces a male audience while sending a message that female sexuality exists solely for male pleasure. It’s dishonest, and it’s capitalizing upon something that ultimately exploits women and the queer community.
One redeeming quality about the song, although far outweighed by the negative implications, is that it at least puts the concept of bisexuality or queerness in the spotlight, even if it’s in the most superficial way. Nowadays, kids grow up, and may think you’re either gay or straight. Bisexuality is something that is acknowledged but not necessarily taken seriously, oftentimes even by the queer community. There are running jokes about how bisexuals are “greedy,” or how bisexuality is a college phase. If you’re born the way you are, which most progressives think is the case, then you don’t “magically” turn bisexual overnight.
This year, another female pop star, came out with songs about bi-curiosity and bisexuality. Her name is Kate Nash. She’s not as famous as Katy, but I respect her a hell of a lot more. Her album Girl Talk is angrier and more passionate than any of her other albums. I realized midway through the album, in many of the songs, she sings about being in love with another girl, or in a relationship with another girl. Again, it doesn’t actually matter if this is true or not. What matters is that she’s writing these songs, or stories as I call them, with authenticity. Authenticity in your writing shows respect for yourself as well as for others. Her songs are about loving someone and that someone happens to be a woman. The queer aspect is a footnote, not the chorus.
Love transcends gender. Love is deep and wide, stripping away the roles and bullshit forced upon us.
So kiss a girl if you want, or don’t kiss her. Kiss her and find out you don’t like kissing her all that much. Kiss a hundred people, or go home and stay in bed and watch Netflix, and don’t kiss anyone at all. Be proud to be yourself, be authentic in your craft, and please don’t exploit other people for the sake of making a buck.