Quiet down critics, Katy Perry roars
March 19, 2014
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If I were a hot, talented musician, would I care about feminism? Probably not. So why is the media so concerned with the fact that Katy Perry doesn’t appear to care much about it?
The media has been tracking Perry and her “aversion to feminism,” as an article from The Atlantic put it, for at least two years.
In 2012, she told Billboard magazine, “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.” Now in March 2014, she is being ridiculed for accepting the label.
Recent headlines refer to an interview with “I Wake up with Today,” an Australian morning show. In the interview, Perry was asked if she considers herself a feminist. Her response, as reported by the Huffington Post and other news media, implied that her response lack understanding of the term.
“A feminist? Uh, yeah, actually,” Perry said. “ I used to not really understand what that word meant, and now I do, it just means that I love myself as a female and I also love men.”
The Huffington Post ran a condescending response to Perry in an article that read, “Uh, Katy? It’s great you feel that way, but that’s not what feminism means.” The article goes on to “help” Perry by referring her to a simplistic chart, created by the Social Community Editor, that defines feminism in terms of equal rights and opportunities for men and women.
Yes, an editor for a major news source spent her time drawing a chart that has the sophistication of a ten-year-old’s stick figure drawing in 2013, and was so proud of it that she dug it back up the following year so she could prove … what exactly?
Time Magazine compares Perry’s views to “Beyonce’s embrace of the word [feminism],” implying that Perry is way off base in terms of the orthodox definition of it. Let’s compare the art produced by these two women, since they are both artists, not experts in feminism or social relations at all.
Perry’s recent music video for her 2013 song “Roar” is filled with indications that she embodies female empowerment and equality with men. In the beginning of the video, her narcissistic boyfriend treats her poorly and she gives the impression of a feeble-minded woman.
A tiger eats her boyfriend, and the journey to self-discovery without a man leading the way that follows is wildly engaging. The song is about being strong and brave without needing a man, and if that doesn’t scream feminist, then perhaps I don’t understand the term either.
“Roar” is about breaking free of the shackles of men; Beyonce’s hit “Single Ladies” is arguably a lament for women who are alone, unmarried, and who have not been lucky enough to get “a ring on it.” In the race for who can be the biggest feminist, I say Perry’s transformation into a “Zena the warrior Princess”-style female in “Roar” is much more on target than a lineup of ladies in leotards, an image that has been a punchline for male comedians since its release.
Feminism can be loosely defined as a belief system based on equality for women, and recognition of their competence and worth, but the word is subjective and holds a different meaning for different women. The term refers to a series of movements that are aimed at establishing equal rights for women economically, socially and politically.
Perry considers herself to be a feminist, it does not matter if she defines that as something other than what some bra-burning women might have in mind.