In Defence Of… Katy Perry

Posted: February 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Sady Doyle

hates Katy Perry. ‘I am uncomfortable with the growing acceptance of Katy Perry, because, Feminism’

writes Doyle, in her usual, shouty, American, slightly faux-ironic, OH GOD aren’t we all so zany and influenced by Lindy- I-called-Samantha-from-SATC2-a-withered-vagina-West? style.

Apparently, Sady hates Katy because Katy refuses to fit into the two stereotypes of womanhood as seen in popular music these days: Madonna and Whore. Doyle describes Taylor Swift as fulfilling the ‘Madonna’ role, and Ke$ha as playing the part of the ‘Whore’. I wonder what role she thinks Madonna herself has played, during her career?

Doyle doesn’t like either artist, but she hates Perry more:

‘Because the Taylor Swift act is an act. The Ke$ha act is an act. We know these women to be actresses, each playing to a specific archetype of womanhood, with some major collaboration by the media which wants to construe them as one or the other ANYWAY’.

But Perry is not acting according to Doyle, she actually is this horrible version of womanhood that is both and neither Madonna and Whore:

‘She shows up talking about your cock and shooting whipped cream out of her tits, and then she talks about how marriage is super-important to her and she “tamed” her husband out of non-monogamy. She kissed a girl, and she liked it, but ultimately it’s very important that her boyfriend don’t mind it, because he has veto power on her sexuality. She wants to see your cock, but not really, cocks are for heterosexual monogamous marriage and she has one of those. She wants to be a bad girl who’s also a good girl, a Whore who’s also a Madonna, and it’s not about complexity, DON’T SAY IT’S ABOUT COMPLEXITY, it’s the exact same thing sex-positive AND older-school feminists have been complaining about FOREVER.’

I hate writing about ‘femininity’ because I only ever seem to find negative accounts of it in the media, and particularly from feminists. I thought feminism was about celebrating, supporting, championing women. But all I can find, over and over again, is feminists hating on women. For being the wrong kind of women.

I don’t have much of an opinion about Katy Perry. I neither hate nor love her. I am not a fan of her music. But I am not a critic either.

But Doyle’s diatribe has made me want to defend Katy. For being whatever it is she is. For being hated MORE than other women pop artists, who are already hated, for being whatever they are. Or for pretending to be something they are not. Or something.

I tell you who I am starting to dislike: Sady – I take on the big daddy patriarchs like Michael Moore and John Boehner and I beat them with my  feminist stick  and I am woman hear me roar – Doyle.

Women who don’t meet the approval of feminists always meet with my approval.

Because they show up feminism for what it is: a way of policing women and men, and defining what kind of femininity and masculinity is acceptable and what kind isn’t.

Thanks Katy.

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

  1. I don’t think feminism is the problem – it’s people (usually women) who use feminist arguments to police women or who say “I hate this woman” (wtf?!) because she does x,y,z. There’s plenty of feminist analysis (for example Marxist feminists like Nina Power) which doesn’t resort to this kind of tactic (which is often snobbery anyway).

    Not everyone is as careful a writer as you are – Doyle should probably check herself … I don’t feel vitriol towards Perry but I do feel tired and bored, frequently, of popstars channelling different female stereotypes. But then the mainstream is boring. I don’t get all the hate, or the HATE I should say. But I think that’s more to do with being a douchebag than a feminist.

    • Sady Doyle, from what I can gather is currently a VERY prominent feminist in America. Her blogs are feminist blogs they are not just personal opinions. I am afraid if she is going to represent a ‘movement’ she is going to be held accountable for saying things on behalf of that movement. Unless feminists themselves challenge her directly. Which they arent. Over 650 people ‘liked’ her post about Perry on Tumblr. That’s not thousands but it is more than will ‘like’ mine!

  2. Oh, she was challenged by two feminists, on her attitude to MooreAndMe and other anti-rape campaigns, and she ended up publicly shaming them on her tigerbeatdown blog and elsewhere. She is, definitely a ‘douchebag’. But she is a powerful douchebag.

  3. What I’m really very tired of is any feminist who bothers to point out the ideological flaws of female performers without ever bothering to mention that the music business IS a business and poor old Katy is as much product as Taylor Swift or Ke$ha. I think Katy Perry appeals to a large market segment that is just incredibly confused where the line lies between public representations of sexuality (theatre) and private understandings of oneself.

    There is a more interesting discussion to be had in how all of those representations reflect the reality of ordinary women.

  4. elflojo84 says:

    That is utterly moronic! Surely the reasoning behind feminist hatred of the so-called ‘virgin / whore dichotomy’ (which I agee with, by the way) is the fact that it is a dichotomy – you are either a whore or you are a virgin. So the woman who refuses to be one or the other but presents herself as a complicated mixture of both and / or neither ss about the most feminist you can get, surely?

    It shows a distinct lack of intelligence or ability to understand subtleties to interpret that as “she’s a virgin AND a whore = twice as bad”. In fact, if anyone is guilty of applying the virgin / whore dichotomy to women here it’s Sady Doyle.

  5. Miranda Fox says:

    I hate writing about ‘femininity’ because I only ever seem to find negative accounts of it in the media, and particularly from feminists. I thought feminism was about celebrating, supporting, championing women. But all I can find, over and over again, is feminists hating on women. For being the wrong kind of women.

    You and I don’t agree most of the time, but this and your entire post? Win.

    And my cinematic directing hero got absolutely pasted on a feminist blog for supposedly writing women as madonnas/whores (which IMO is bollocks, he’s far more subtle than that and he never treats them like mere eye-candy), and yet this person is saying that is the only way to portray women correctly? I get that feminism isn’t governed by a singular set of rules, but if you can’t even agree on what is allegedly acceptable in media portrayals – a big sticking point for feminists – then how exactly is that helping anything? If you want society to change surely you need to agree what the change should be?

    And this is why me and feminism are no longer acquainted. Because sadly I think it really is just largely an excuse for women to police other women. Though I would note that this seems to be largely confined to the internet portion of the movement – feminists I met in rl when I was one were nearly always reasonable.

  6. Elise says:

    I recently read an online article (or blog?) in which the writer (can’t find the article now) approvingly cited a female indie musician who took issue with Katy Perry for posing semi-naked on the cover of ‘The Rolling Stone.’ Or maybe it was the article-writer who Put the Blame on Katy, as an example of what the female indie musician was complaining about. Ironically, a few issues later, Katy’s new husband, Russell Brand, posed nearly-nude on the cover of the same magazine. ‘The Rolling Stone’ just likes to associate rock/popular culture with maximum nudity. Period. (And we thank them. Well, depending on who’s on the cover.)

  7. Stoner With A Boner says:

    hahaha got some laughs from the “feminazi’s” and “mangina’s” at Feministe…. They all hate Katy….

  8. Stoner With A Boner says:

    Hiya Quiet Riot Girl,

    Have a happy Valentine’s Day and keep everything covered if you don’t want it to become VD day….

    I jest, I jest…..

    Actually had kind of a cool exchange w/ Jill on that thread:

    Stoner with a Boner 2.14.2011 at 12:36 am

    Why do some people feel the need to police other people?

    If you don’t like it, don’t buy it, don’t listen to the radio… turn off MTV.

    Simple. Stoner with a Boner
    (Quote this comment?)
    138 Jill 2.14.2011 at 11:41 am

    Why do some people feel the need to police other people?

    If you don’t like it, don’t buy it, don’t listen to the radio… turn off MTV.


    Voicing an opinion is not “policing.”

    If you don’t like it, don’t read this blog and definitely don’t comment.


    (See why that’s a silly argument?) Jill
    (Quote this comment?)
    139 Stoner with a Boner 2.14.2011 at 10:12 pm

    Hiya Jill,

    Thanks for addressing the comment rather than attacking the poster 😉

    Happy Valentines Day!


    I long ago found that MTV/mainstream radio had little to offer me so I sought music from other places and was much happier for the search.

    I guess some find it constructive deconstructing artists they don’t care for as maybe trying to pinpoint something in society.

    Maybe it might be more productive to analyze what one likes and why….

    ….but I’m probably just mansplaining now….

    • thanks stoner!

      I like a bit of mansplaining now and again!

      Yes I much prefer analysing music/culture that I like. The alternative is too depressing, though sometimes also valuable.

      But finding artists you don’t like as examples of things about society you don’t like is particularly annoying.

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