When we saw the trailer for the Katy Perry movie, I told the kids we could go. Surprisingly, I liked it. I like Katy's message to girls-- embrace who you are. So what if you are "weird." There is so much pressure on kids and specifically girls to fit molds and there are so many. (as a side note, E now wants me to take him to Japan for our next trip so we too can go to the tea house, where there are cats...)
I love that Katy creates a world where girls can be girls. Katy isn't a bean pole and she embraces that-- and she embraces the need to work out to keep up with her shows. She loves dress up and her tour was like a candy land surprise.
I also appreciate that Katy sings about being a girl, being sexy and being an owner of her sexuality. Sending girls the message that they need to be "sexy" but cannot own their sexuality is dangerous. Our culture's treatment of female sexual desire is beyond screwed up. Women should be desirable, but should not desire. (and trust me-- ET is all about sexual desire... something men sing about all the time. And for me, it speaks to the magic that can be found with in-- for some sexuality and embracing your own innate sexuality leads you to the divinity within all of us.) I also think this is at the root of birth control and sex ed debate-- it certainly is the root of female circumcision in the Middle East and Africa. If the larger patriarchal culture can control and CONTAIN female sexual desire and to drill down-- if men can control women's sexual desire and their expression of their sexuality-- then they can control women. When women are viewed as and used to satisfy men's sexual desires and denied their own, one has absolute control. Better yet? Get other women to agree with you... and then bingo-- you are on easy street. Religion does this very well. Our culture still tries to do this with varied results.
I remember very clearly in college. I loved Madonna. I still do. She is one of the first artists to do it her way. She pushed the envelope. She was taking it on her terms. I also remember being told by my "feminist" friends that I shouldn't like Madonna. Bullshit. Women do not have to deny their sexuality to be a good ________. (you pick a word.) Why is it we have to deny our sexuality at all. Sex is a healthy part of life. Awareness of sexuality naturally starts very young and progresses as development progress. Why do we think we should shelter and contain our kids from something that is natural and normal and healthy...
I think it is important to be age appropriate, but at a certain point, the kids need to be allowed to ask questions and figure it out... in my view 18 is a bit late for that to happen.
I respect Katy, she walked away from a path which would have very much pleased her parents and meant living in denial of who she knew she was. I talked to L about this the other night. Her parents brought her up in a bubble... I think that is dangerous and it happens all the time. I have taken a different path with my kids. Katy gambled and was willing to accept the fact that being herself might mean losing her parents. She choose herself and I think that makes her a great role model. Being true to yourself is amazingly difficult sometimes.
We need to stop stuffing conformity down our kids throats and let them find themselves-- within themselves. I appreciate Katy's message to girls-- be yourself, embrace "your weirdness" because it is yours!