So to be fair, most of the lesbians I’ve seen referring to this songs on their blog do so either sarcastically or at least in a mildly disapproving tone. But, that said, I’m a little annoyed at the bloggers who have heralded this song as some sort of a grand gesture or a sign that our culture has embraced homosexuality and doesn’t need legal change as a result. Okay, that particular reaction was only one blogger:
Anyway, for the record, I’m not turned on at all by the prospect of two girls making out–it’s not my scene–but I do love the fact that this is a big hit among teens, those voters-in-waiting. There is a reason for the generation gap in attitudes about same-sex marriage and LGBT rights: culture. Which is all a way of saying that “I Kissed a Girl” has gotten me thinking, yet again, about the intersection between law, culture, and norms. Can the law ever really change norms in a positive way? And if we were to compare their impact, can we really say that Lawrence v. Texas (outlawing the criminalization of same-sex sex), or Goodridge v. Dept of Public Health or In re Marriage Cases (Lockyer) (finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and California) have had more of an impact on the everyday lives of LGBT folks (their interaction with employers, co-workers, relatives, neighbors, etc.) than Will & Grace, Ellen, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and “I Kissed a Girl”?
Oh God, I hope thats sarcasm. I don’t really think he thinks that pop culture makes legal change unnecessary, but I do think he views it as a positive step and a sign that young people accept homosexuality. Uh.
No, see, what it’s saying is that women can feel free to be “edgy” and “controversial” by making out with another woman when they’re drunk. “I hope my boyfriend doesn’t mind it,” tee hee, watch me be my own woman. I’m not saying that women shouldn’t experiment (though I stay far, far away from those who do) and I’m not saying that there’s necessarily anything wrong with straight girls kissing other straight girls or queer girls. What’s wrong is confusing this with acceptance of queer culture. There’s nothing queer about this situation. It’s only a baby step away from the traditional woman-as-object using lesbianism to titilate the men bit. Yes, Perry indicates that the subject in her song is doing something that her boyfriend doesn’t know about, but it’s still all about the boyfriend. It’s still clearly a straight woman experimenting. This has zippo to do with lesbian culture or lesbian acceptance.
Case in point? Let’s come up with a new song, “I Kissed a Boy,” by I don’t know, Justin Timberlake or someone. I don’t think it’d get the same popular reaction. The fact is, girls kissing is not seen as threatening to heteronormativity. This doesn’t mean that the country is ready to give lesbians rights. This doesn’t mean that if we take the kissing girls out of the structure Perry is using and put them in a long-term relationship that society will support them.
Ironically enough, this song came on in a bar Saturday night (why I never go to undergrad bars unless forced) while several men were trying very desperately to grope and/or rub against my ass. I decided to change the lyrics to “I fucked a girl and I like it – I think my girlfriend liked it, too.” I doubt it’ll catch on.