The Vagenda

Katy Perry is a Closet Feminist and She Really Just Needs to Admit it Already

If you were a fan of clunkers, as I am, you might say that Katy Perry and I have a ‘hot ‘n’ cold’ relationship (sorry). I love her so much – I cried a bit when I saw her film, I had ‘California Gurls’ as my alarm tone until I started to feel sick when I heard it, and I basically wish that I was her. Except I sort of don’t wish that I was her because, upon accepting Billboard’s Woman of the Year award in 2012, she said, ‘I’m not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.’ Here she shat on my dreams a bit, and it stopped me from being able to idolise her with the rose-tinted Raybans that I once did. Katy Perry once said that ‘My mantra… was: If you believe in yourself, you can be anything;, but if that doesn’t include feminism, then what the hell does that leave? Forget university, career ambitions, voting, even trousers. If Katie Perry is all about ‘being anything’ without being feminist, then that’s pretty limited, no?
Which is why I think Katy Perry is a closet feminist, and I wish that she would just be brave and admit it.
When I put her name into the Twitter search bar today, the second suggestion was the very charming ‘Katy Perry nipples’. The famous woman’s lot, essentially. People are searching for her nipples nearly as much as they’re searching for her, and K-Pez (as Grazia magazine are now calling her) knows it. In her Elle interview, in between posing in a weird and very nineties leather hat, she talked about her relationship with Robert Pattinson, which has been speculated about loads but is purely platonic. She said that she had texted Kristen Stewart insisting that she and Robert were just friends, saying, ‘I know you’ve seen all this stuff, but you know I would never disrespect you. I’m not that person. I’m just trying to be a friend to him but it is unfortunate that I do have a set of tits.’ Clearly, Katy knows the setbacks of having tits (which, we all know, are many) She doesn’t like the way her genitals are affecting the way she’s treated. So why not use the ‘f’ word?
OK, so I may be coming across a bit ‘mad fan in denial’ here, but there is just no way that Katy could say she’s not a feminist. I wish she would just THINK ABOUT IT PROPERLY.  It makes me wish I could buy her a cocktail and shake her shoulders and shout at her. I really think she would agree with me (and hopefully take me on as her new best friend and she would look me directly in the eye whenever she sang ‘Firework’). She campaigned in support of Barack Obama last year, she’s spoken out about gay marriage, she’s had lunch with Michelle Obama – on her birthday! She said it made her birthday! That seems just a little bit fucking feminist to me. Just a little bit like someone who does support equal rights for everyone. Here she is with ‘equal rights’ actually written on her hand, in case you needed any more convincing. How could this possibly be someone who isn’t a feminist? I find it so frigging frustrating.
If that’s still not enough to convince you that Katy Perry is a closet feminist, then how about her new single, ‘Roar’? She’s a ‘tiger’, ‘fighter’, a ‘champion’. She performed at the VMAs in a boxing ring. She’s swinging from vines and taming an actual tiger in the video, surviving without her boyfriend, who gets eaten in the first thirty seconds (HA!). She’s not eaten! She thrives. She takes selfies with monkeys and she doesn’t need anyone apart from her cute jungle animal friends because she is an independent woman. This is not someone who is ‘not a feminist’, this is a feminist who looks amazing in leopard print.
One reason why Katy could be reluctant to admit in the media that she is an actual, real-life feminist is because of the term’s continued association with being  ‘man-hating’ or not feminine. Her image is hyperfeminine so I can understand why this might be a concern for her, if you were living in like, 1953. But it’s 2013 and it’s really not that big a deal to suggest that it’s possible to be both feminine and a feminist. Look at Katy’s kind-of-doppelganger Zooey Deschanel, who demonstrated this beautifully when she said:  ‘I want to be a fucking feminist and wear a fucking Peter Pan collar. So fucking what?’ Quite.
Katy doesn’t have to stop wearing her lollipop crown or shooting whipped cream from her boobs, she just has to have the guts to say, ‘I’m a feminist.’ The idea that you can’t be feminine and feminist is absolute bollocks and Katy can do it easily. She is already without knowing it, just look at her cute Barack Obama nails. I really love her and I want her to do both so I don’t feel so conflicted. You really can do both (I’m typing this on a computer covered in Hello Kitty), and Katy is massively cowardly for not admitting it. She would be doing her fans and girls in general a huge favour if she just WOULD, ALREADY.
She may not be the most radical of feminists or the most ground-breaking,  but I do really think it could help if she and female singers like her (Lady Gaga, Beyonce – I’m looking at you ladybros) could just embrace the dreaded ‘f’ word. They have the power to influence a generation of feminist ‘Katy cats’ and ‘Little Monsters’.  It could be amazing.
So to Katy, whom I really do love, I would like to say this: It really won’t be as awful as you think, Katy. You can still have sex with John Mayer and wear your purple wig whilst lying on a cloud, I promise. Please. For the good of pop-loving feminists everywhere.
- BS

11 thoughts on “Katy Perry is a Closet Feminist and She Really Just Needs to Admit it Already

  1. I completely agree with everything you say here. Also look at her song ‘Pearl’, all about not changing for a man! She actually also said in an interview: “I believe in integrity, respect and independence. I can be a feminist without being a man hater.”

    There’s hope, though: Gaga once dismissed feminism, saying “I’m not a feminist – I love men”, but soon saw the error of her ways (

    C’mon Katy!

  2. Apropos of nothing, I heard a programme featuring something called Grazia’s “political correspondent” on Radio 4 the other day, using words of more than two syllables and all. Was I dreaming?

  3. I’m not quite sure so perhaps someone could help me. I am definitely not saying this as an argument but rather I would like to hear what people think as I definitely have not made up my mind (take that for a disclosure, I know how this internet stuff works!).

    But… I see your argument and I think it is very disappointing when women, especially those that are so popular and influential, state that they are not feminists. Statements like ‘I’m not a feminist but’ can twin up with ‘I’m not a racist but’ and chuff off.

    The thing is, although of course I agree that you can be feminine and a feminist, and feminism is about the ability to have a choice. I do wonder how much women- especially those that are in a privileged enough position (as I would suggest Katy is)- have a duty to ensure that women aren’t objectified. How much of what Katy does is a choice by her to dress or act in a certain way, or by marketing and strategies that are quite frequently patriarchal. I’m certainly not saying that women can’t ‘shoot cream from their nipple’, (heaven forbid, what would I do on weekends?) But that perhaps sometimes certain popstars may not be that helpful in getting women to be seen as something other than nipples, or sex objects.

    As I said, this is no conclusive argument, rather a call for discussion from a friendly place.

  4. What does this have to do with the politics of feminism?

    If someone with no conception of feminism read this, they would still have no conception of what feminism is. If I had to guess, they would think it is inane commentary on a commercial product. Admittedly, this seems to be the only respectable ‘critical thinking’ in most universities.

    “[Katie Perry] campaigned in support of Barack Obama last year, she’s spoken out about gay marriage, she’s had lunch with Michelle Obama – on her birthday! She said it made her birthday! That seems just a little bit fucking feminist to me.”

    This is just support for the Democrats and one newly-adopted political stance of theirs.

    “She is already without knowing it, just look at her cute Barack Obama nails.”

    Women who are Democrats = feminists? If she is already a (__) political party supporter, the end-all and be-all of American existence, why does she have to call herself a this or that -ist on top of it?

    But anyway, I really need to get back to work. I have a deadline for Cox Magazine. Later.