Katy Perry became a household name when her debut smash hit single, “I Kissed A Girl” went number one for five straight weeks. Since then, she has become the first female artist to have five number ones from a single album (Teenage Dream). However, as Perry has progressed over the years, she proclaimed that she wants to make “purposeful pop” music (which is what her latest album, Witness, primarily focused on), she has looked back on her career and on “I Kissed A Girl” specifically with some regrets.
At the time, Slant magazine published a review of Perry’s debut album, One of the Boys, for which “I Kissed A Girl” was the lead single. They wrote: “I Kissed a Girl” isn’t problematic because it promotes homosexuality, but because its appropriation of the gay lifestyle exists for the sole purpose of garnering attention—both from Perry’s boyfriend and her audience.”
Indeed, the chorus of the song, “I kissed a girl and I liked it/the taste of her cherry chapstick/I kissed a girl just to try it/I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it,” implies that girls only kiss other girls while they have a boyfriend and because it’s fun to experiment. It completely delegitimizes bisexuality, implying that women only kiss other women when they want attention from a man.
In terms of understanding the LGBTQ community, Perry has changed a lot in the ten years it has been since this song was released. In an interview with Glamour, Perry explained:
“That was in 2008 when it [“I Kissed A Girl”] came out. I think we’ve really changed, conversationally, in the past ten years. We’ve come a long way. Bisexuality wasn’t as talked about back then, or any type of fluidity. If I had to write that song again, I probably would make an edit on it. Lyrically, it has a couple of stereotypes in it. Your mind changes so much in ten years, and you grow so much. What’s true for you can evolve.”
For the most part, our society as a whole has become more accepting of bisexuality as a legitimate sexuality and one that does not have anything to do with wanting attention from the opposite sex. Of course, there is still more work to be done, which is why we here at Soundigest think it would be progressive of Perry to re-release “I Kissed A Girl” in its ten-year anniversary with slightly different lyrics that reflect this change in thought.
Where do you stand on this controversy? Tweet us your thoughts @soundigest!