Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Beth Ditto takes aim at... Katy Perry

It's only, what, about a century and a half since Katy Perry released I Kissed A Girl. So what kept Beth Ditto in firing up her outrage?

"(I Kissed A Girl is a) boner dyke anthem for straight girls who like to turn guys on by making out or, like, faking gay.

"I hate Katy Perry! She's offensive to gay culture, I'm so offended.

"She's just riding on the backs of our culture without having to pay any of the dues and not being actually lesbian or anything at all."

Well, yes... up to a point, Beth. But she can't simultaneously be being straight and kissing girls for the boys, and pretending to be lesbian. And is it entirely fair to suggest that just by saying "I kissed someone of the same sex" you're automatically appropriating gay culture?

Perry's tiresome, maybe, but perhaps not as tiresome as suggesting that your sexuality is something that you have to "pay dues" for - has someone told Ditto you need to get your lesbianism certificate renewed every year or something?

Ditto's analysis of Perry misfires - Perry isn't pretending to be gay, because if she was, she wouldn't be singing "I kissed a girl and I liked it", would she? Ditto seems to get that the song is aimed at that part of straight sexuality which finds the idea of heterosexual women having a quick bi-dabble a bit of a turn-on, but then confuses the idea of 'doing something gay women do' with 'exploiting gay culture'. It's possible to kick a football without claiming to be channeling Dead Shot Keane.

There's actually a positive side to Perry's hit - however wearing the concept of running about going "I have kissed a lady" might seem to grown ups, you could argue that there's something to celebrate about US radio allowing a song about same-sex snogging to become a large hit. That wouldn't have happened twenty years ago - and if you truly believe that everyone should have freedom to express their sexuality (as Ditto claims she does) can you really complain if some people decide they want to kiss people of their own gender without "paying their dues"?


Olive said...

She's just riding on the backs of our culture without having to pay any of the dues and not being actually lesbianDitto missing the point again. I read the piece and also wondered if there was a course or something you had to take before you were allowed to be a lesbian. Perhaps there's badge, like you used to get when you joined the Tufty Club? Perhaps Ditto should start a campaign, like the one targetting unlicensed mini-cab drivers?

Mariana Timony said...

I think what Beth was trying to say is that K. Perry is reaping the benefits of the work done by lesbian musicians - getting a hit song with overt lesbian sentiments after years of music by bands like Team Dresch, The Butchies etc. have made it "acceptable" for such sentiments to voiced at all - without having to deal with the very real prejudices directed towards lesbian musicians because Perry's not really a lesbian. Therefore it's okay for Perry to sing about kissing a girl because she does it out of the side of her mouth, whereas actual lesbian musicians still are subject to discrimination due to their sexuality, even if they are essentially singing the same song. Dig it?

Anyway, that's what I think Beth was trying to say.

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