You guys, you can calm down now. Katy Perry is officially on the record as “not a feminist.” I know you were afraid she would announce that she was one and then she would be hideously ugly forever. If someone tells me he or she is a feminist, I instantly distance myself from them, fearful of being hit on or recruited to grow my leg hair out for the eventual mandatory feminist leg hair harvesting for the sisterly braiding of a noose to strangle the patriarchy. Thank the good Lord himself that a woman who shoots whipped cream out of her nipples and sings about “Daisy Dukes [on the bottom] bikinis on top!”* is not a feminist. That would literally crush my soul.
Alarmingly, she does believe in “the strength of women”, which, to the ignorant ear sounds a lot like feminism. “The strength of women” almost sounds like something that feminism would be based on, along with basic feminist tenets of equal opportunities for men and women, equal pay for equal work, a woman’s having autonomy over her own biological choices, supporting other women, and standing up for your principles. “The strength of women” rings suspiciously close to the grotesque feminist idea that women have the wherewithal to choose whether to be homemakers or work outside the home, whether they want to have children or remain independent, whether they can get divorced, whether they are allowed to have sex before marriage.
I’m being unfair to Katy Perry. Her desire to distance herself from the pervasive, man-hating, PCU** vision of feminism that continues to plague women’s rights is totally understandable. Feminism by reputation is the boogey-man that claims your womanhood and castrates every man around you. Feminism in practice is the name for the feeling of annoyance when some random dude on the street tells you to “Smile, beautiful” and the reason your boss can’t grab your ass when he asks you to get that report on his desk before five. Feminism lets us go to college and vote and enjoy sex just as much as our male counterparts. Feminism is wearing pants. It’s not about being better than men or hating men. It’s about being judged as an individual, regardless of gender.
So Katy Perry is not a feminist. Neither is Taylor Swift. (I know, right? Pick your jaw up off the ground.) That’s ok. They are allowed to choose that, because women can be anything they want to be. Which is the basic principle of feminism.
*Now I will have California Girls, which is dangerously catchy, in my head all afternoon.
**PCU is a movie made when John Favreau was thin and Jeremy Piven had his own hair. George Clinton is in it. It’s from 1994. It comes on Comedy Central when you least expect it.