Rachel

I got my motorcycle.
She asked me if I wanted to fix my teeth.
I asked,
“What’s wrong with my teeth?”
Blank white light.
She asked, do I want them to fix my head?
I asked,
“What’s wrong with my head?”
She said that when I look sideways, my temporal lobe looks funny.
She took my hand and said,
“My name’s Elizabeth. Yours must be Rachel.”
And I wondered if she hugged or slept.

Co-Dependent Love Songs

 

Co-Dependent Love Songs

Riddle me this: Why are so many love songs encouraging people to enter into unhealthy co-dependent relationships? Frankly, what people really need to hear are messages of empowerment, encouraging us to really get intimate with ourselves and the pieces of our lives that make us who we are. If we knew ourselves inside and out, we wouldn’t “’NEED’ you baby,” “’WANT’ you baby,” and “’LOVE’ you baby” to the point of stalking. And we definitely wouldn’t be so prone to suffering from acute bouts of emptiness and boredom upon the absence of another person. We would know how to be happy alone rather than obsessed with distracting ourselves with whatever shiny gadget western consumer culture hands out to us.

I obviously understand humanity as a social animal. We generally believe that we can’t make it on our own, and from an evolutionary standpoint, we would be right. Humans have no fur, thin skin, and no claws. Without cooperation and a little ingenuity, we would have become extinct by now. So there’s that. I get how it feels secure to have another person around who can affirm everything about you. I mean, isn’t it your partner’s job to know you better than you know yourself?

You Don’t Need Anyone To Survive But Yourself

Therein lies the problem. By promoting unhealthy relationships, co-dependent love songs are actually preparing people in the Western world to seek validation from outside rather than from inside. The idea that you absolutely need another person to survive is ridiculous, especially when chronic dating is another symptom of the strange society that we live in. Women are taught that if any man wants them, that means they have value and worth, and if men think you’re worthless, then you had better resign yourself to a dissatisfied life as the local crazy cat lady.

It’s a little out-dated, don’t you think? We’re better than those archaic standards! It’s not as though this idiotic beauty standard will last forever. Women get older, their kids grow up, and then they need to spend time getting to know themselves again and finding out what they care about. That’s where the co-dependent love songs leave us at the end of the day, trying to make sense of where we fit into our own relationships without compromising our identities.

We Don’t Live In 1950 Anymore!

I suspect that there’s a reason that co-dependency is being encouraged in mainstream media. As an oppressive tool, it is really quite thorough. Yes, co-dependency could be considered by some as an old-fashioned way of viewing relationships. I get it. Unfortunately for these people, this isn’t the 1950s. Ma and Pa Beaver are definitely sleeping in the same bed, and believe it or not, Pa has just as much obligation to act respectfully and nurture his child as Ma does.

The Danger Of Distraction

Encouraging co-dependency in modern love songs also serves to keep everybody, particularly young people, distracted by their all-consuming relationship drama. They have no time to pay attention to the ways they and others are being oppressed. They are so caught up in texting their significant others that they don’t even notice the chaos going on in the world around them. The media capitalizes on the ups and downs of a confusing and hormonal adolescence and primes everybody up for a “model relationship,” creating roles and standards that keep everybody connected at the hip with no chance of developing an identity outside their partnership. Whether intentional or not, it distracts people from reflecting inwardly so that they know themselves well enough to understand their core values.

When people don’t even understand their own core values, it’s a huge red flag that your relationship may be in for some tumultuous times ahead, and you may end up with someone who will make you unhappy much of the time if your values aren’t compatible. Also, whether consumer culture designed it this way intentionally or not, (it’s not like they control what is on the radio and mainstream television right? Oh wait…) an unhappy person is a lot more likely to try to fill the void with material products than someone who is capable of introspection and enjoys their time alone.

But alone isn’t an option, and healthy relationships aren’t encouraged by these co-dependent love songs. According to the music industry, relationships are just a way to assimilate the pain of your own life by clinging to another person and hoping that not being alone will somehow fix the gaping wounds that continue to affect the person you are today. I have sad news for you, my friends. A relationship won’t fix you. In fact, if you don’t know yourself well enough, it could even be harmful to you or your partner. The only thing that can actually save your sorry soul is unplugging for a while. Getting away and being alone in a serene place. All of us really need a lot of introspection, and probably a lot of therapy, before we will be truly happy in a healthy relationship rather than coasting by in a co-dependent one.

Is It Our Ego?

In a way, co-dependent relationships are one of the strangest and most egotistical situations we can find ourselves in. People who don’t know themselves are constantly looking to another person to make their life worthwhile, seeking within their partner some clue to their own identity. I’m not talking petty interests and movie preferences, I’m talking about the things that really make us tick. What makes us respond. What brings us to life.

When we feel alive with someone else, but not when we’re alone, then the other person has become life-support. Most people end up sucking their partners dry before moving on to the next one, eager to see how we might be perceived differently by other people and what they have to offer in our fragmented search for identity. We become eager to see how they might bring us to life and if it’s what suits us best in other ways, whether material or emotional. We look for ourselves in others, and when we can’t find it or the image is unflattering, we run away as fast as we can and jump into the next experience.

So What Can We Do?

It’s one thing to be romantic. I do believe in romance and love, don’t get me wrong. In fact, it was my partner who thought a post like this would be a good idea. I even think that a co-dependent relationship could become a healthy one with cooperation and a bit of work. Love is out there and when it’s real, you know it. But it’s another thing entirely to believe that it’s a sign of love for somebody to wash themselves clean of any identity outside that of their relationship.

Co-dependent love songs encourage just that, and I think it’s time we really start thinking about what the media is trying to tell us. If we want to make a difference, it would help to only support artists who really value what is important in this world. That way, maybe their messages can become mainstream and make a difference in the lives of millions of impressionable kids around the world, rather than allowing the media to continue brainwashing them into thinking that co-dependency is love. It would save a lot of trouble in the future.

White Culture

White Woman in a White Man’s World

I am a white woman who has been overwhelmed by the injustices I witness on a day to day basis. If I spent all day focusing on the ways this society has been structured to oppress people, I wouldn’t have time for anything except a very militant advocation of equality. I tried that route, but soon discovered that I have been traumatized on so many profound levels that if I surrounded myself with these issues on that same obsessive basis, I become suicidal, question the point of life, and acutely feel the utter futility of rising against a system so perfectly designed to enslave us all.

The world is ugly and we are all hurt by it, and being an advocate who is only focused on this fact is a grim profession. Particularly if you have no support from the people around you and, more often than not, get treated as if you’re insane or inferior. I had no buffer, no group of my kindred people patting me on the back, validating my apparently “radical” notions. I was very much alone. And now, the only people who seem to get the point are people of color, many of whom will never accept me as a sincere ally or force of change due to the (lack of?) color of my skin. In fact, if I do ever change anything, I have this fear that they will ultimately resent me and think, “she only succeeded in anything because she’s white.” And I would be even more afraid that they would be right, which would devalue the fact that I have been obsessing over changing the world for about as long as I’ve been alive.

I’ve always worked hard to brighten up even the dimmest of lightbulbs around me. It’s difficult work, and I’m not doing it because of “white guilt” or anything like that. I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do, and I can’t believe how damaging these systems of oppression can be or how they came into power in the first place. “Evil” is not in my genes and it’s not something I feel it’s my personal responsibility to make up for just because I was born white and so many white people have been/continue to remain ignorant and cruel. I simply understand that the system is dangerous and hurts us all…but some more than others and white men least of all.

Labels and White Culture

That being said, I’m starting to wonder why it is that other white people, including myself, object to labels (in general) so vociferously. Wouldn’t my life have been easier if I decided to label myself “the white asexual lesbian feminist environmentalist animal rights, social justice, human rights and anti-racism advocate?” Would I have been able to find my little support group of like-minded people who mirror my own beliefs and help me work to save the world? What did I hate so much about labels? And what is it that other white people reject about labels?

But actually, when I think about it now, I don’t have to wonder much at all. Western/European white people (in general) are the most boring, cultureless race on the planet. At most, we glorify the Greeks, Romans, and the middle ages. These are societies that I personally feel were base, thoughtless, self-inflated, and generally colonialist. There was some merit, but not enough to justify the attention they receive today (comparing Aristotle to Lao Tzu for example, Aristotle’s mind was actually pretty primitive). If these are the groundwork of white culture, that means we are taught, rather subtly, to glorify raping, pillaging, and taking what isn’t ours. Always viewing the world in regards to Aristotle’s “great chain of being,” putting (Graeko-Roman) men on the ladder just beneath God, then everyone else afterward. And taking a quick glance around at the women and people of color in the room, our relationship to them does, admittedly, lack a certain finess. Call it respect maybe. “White culture” certainly lacks the warmth of Hispanic cultures, the depth of African cultures, the majesty and ingenuity of Asian cultures, and the beauty of pretty much every culture that isn’t our clueless, confused, white attempt at finding meaning in this vapid void that was created for us.

A Day in the Life Of White Average Amy

However, since that is only the groundwork of “white culture,” thus merely a subtext of the culture we live in that affects us daily, I think we should examine what is really going on in the day-to-day lives of the white race. White Average Amy (happily identifies as female, white, heterosexual, middle class) wakes up one morning, turns on the television, checks her iPhone, goes to work so she can afford her car payments and internet bills, goes out to drink and dance with her friends at the club listening to music that glorifies drugs and alcohol, materialism, and putting out. She lets some guy talk her into taking her home with him, gets laid, goes home to bed, and repeats the cycle. White Average Amy is surrounded for hours and hours by the media, telling her that she isn’t good enough because she is a woman, but also that she is better than others for being white.

If Art Imitates Life, Where Does That Leave Us?

They say art imitates life and vice versa, but at this point I’m not so sure. I feel as though the media is spiralling out of control and out of our hands as citizens, glorifying the ideals of the ultimate numbskulled oppressors. They want everyone to fit into a box that they have created for us, and for us to question ourselves all the while as they create our identity for us. For white people, and those who have been assimilated enough to lose sight of the value of their own ethnic identities, the media and consumerism is our only real culture. As white people, we have nothing at all that keeps us tied to any value system or ethnic identity whatsoever, except maybe Christianity (which has acted as a huge tool in assimilation and should be another post entirely).

White people are stuck in a world where our only meaning is derived from the media and, potentially, our mixed experiences with our religious values. The media tells everyone that white men are supreme, while at the same time denying them the right to express their feelings properly, degrading them should they have any interest in anything remotely “female” identified or compassionate. Many feel that women should be serving men as the bible intended, and as such anyone who is a woman or who is thought to act like a woman, are lesser people. The media tells everyone that blonde haired, blue eyed, skinny girls (I can’t even say “women” because the beauty standard is barely legal, bordering 18 years old) are the highest epitome of beauty, while at the same time bombarding these same women daily with microaggressions against their own autonomy, appearance, and independence.

The media is constantly attacking women, especially women of color, on an even more extreme psychological level. These attacks create a raging, insecure void in women that can only be filled with products, conformity, assimilation, and servitude. Or, you know, empowerment and self-love, but that’s a lot more difficult to accomplish than, say, retail therapy. White women are told bronze and blonde is beautiful, and encouraged to poison ourselves with chemical hair dies and UV rays in tanning beds, at the same time being taught that our white skin color makes us, absurdly, somehow more special.

A White Girl’s Perspective On Appropriation

White people are floating aimlessly in a cultureless world, left with a burning desire to hold on to something special, significant, and with meaning; a culture. And since we don’t have any ethnic identity of our own whatsoever, what seems to happen is that we take it. We crave meaning. We “borrow.” We appropriate. We make light of the violent things that other white people have done to the cultures that we want to “borrow” from because we are so engrossed in creating our own patchwork identity, finding our own meaning, something of actual value in white consumer culture. (spoiler – there isn’t anything of value in white consumer culture). White people tend to treat all cultural symbols like they are some sort of magical pathway to meaning that anybody can take, when in reality, much of the time it is a glaring act of disrespect and ignorance. Most white people are oblivious of the assimilation that brought us to this point and the deep meanings of the symbols and traditions that they want to be a part of.

Sharing culture with white people is risky business, because culture isn’t up for commentary. It’s not something we have a right to judge and assign value to (or especially, to devalue). We can’t just try on a culture for a day and hope it sticks. That’s not how identity works. We just know we are lacking something, and apparently feel like it’s okay to pick and choose from whatever culture we think will fill the void. White people don’t often have special ethnic foods that help connect us to a more beautiful and vibrant ethnic identity – we have Pizza Hut and McDonald’s. We have “happy meals” full of toxic chemicals and fats, and these are what define our customs. Our daily life. White people don’t have much of a culture at all, which is probably why so many don’t really connect with any label beyond the one we find on our shoes. All we have is consumerism.

Where Assimilation Leaves Us

The assimilation of culture was carefully and thoroughly begun by the colonialists, who believed they were the best thing to happen to earth since fresh water, and thought that everyone should do everything exactly how they did because duh, they were the most awesome, right? Obviously. They stripped other races of their culture and forced them to act like them. And they were white people who valued base and greedy things. They wanted everyone to value base and greedy things. One of the strangest parts about assimilation is that it doesn’t just affect people of color. Whites become even more vapid and harmful toward themselves and others because the only thing they have to identify with is violence, hatred, and currently as a culture, the soulless void of consumerism.

The only identity we have to cling on to is the racist, anglo-saxon, male-dominated media and maybe an absurd pride in a family name or attitude that ultimately falls flat when put to the test. Western people, particularly white ones, wear brand loyalty like a badge. We support certain companies and brands as if it were a sacred symbol of power that might lend meaning to our lives. But I’d like to take this time to remind you that the meaning we seek wouldn’t be lacking in the first place if, instead of assimilating other cultures, we embraced our own origins and celebrated traditions that made us feel closer as a community. And by that I do not mean a community of white supremacists and the types of Christians who judge everyone who is a little different from their expectations. I’m talking about creating our own traditions to re-define “white culture.”

So What Should We Do?

What I would love to see, personally, is for white people to really reach deep down into their roots for something worth keeping alive and celebrating. I’d like to see us band together to create new traditions, traditions of healing and the cultivation of respect for other cultures. I am not talking about a hodgepodge of appropriation, I’m talking about something entirely new, something different that white people can use to be proud of themselves for something real rather than by how much power was stolen by whites from the rest of the world.

We need to build community, some way to help the world get back on its feet. And we can create new traditions and customs outside of the media, outside of mindless consumerism. We just need to stop treating these things like they’re so important, like somehow reflects our own identity. The frank reality is that it doesn’t. It won’t reflect on us either way if we don’t approve of Kim Kardashian’s boyfriend. The media is distracting us from living our own lives and leading us to feel as if a show that somebody else created can really say anything about who we are as people. It can’t. Only we can define our identity, and it should be more than what shows we like and which clothes we buy.

Our actions speak. Our voices speak. And we need our intention to be louder than words and translated into action so that wounded, skeptical, and oftentimes, (rightfully) angry people of color know that not every white person out there is a brainwashed tool of oppression. We need to create our own identities, and be strong in the face of racism. And if the white men in power don’t like that, then let them show their true colors. It will never change what’s right, and they’re bound to lose when it matters the most.Until then, we need to keep fighting, because the battle is far from over.

A Place to Rest

038

Here I am, jumping from platform to floating platform above a deep blue ocean. My grandmother guides me along, leading me down the path. In the distance, there is a dock. She stands above the water and points toward a raft.

I deserve this place to rest, she tells me wordlessly. I deserve peace and love and comfort within. A break from the turmoil. An end to the unrest. A spot just for me, where I can lean back and just be.

I am relieved to finally see this place, this comfortable raft where I can float on top of this tumultuous ocean. I can bob above the water, basking in the sun instead of being tossed beneath the waves.

Sit, she beckons. Rest. Observe. Feel the waves underneath you and understand that you can always rise above. There is a permanent perch where you control your life. Where you are of it but not in it. Always remember this place.

I am about to take my seat. I look forward to leaning back but I step too fast and slip. I feel a surge of fear. All fear leads me to the same place. A monster lurking behind a friendly face. I can’t be a sitting duck. I can’t relax and believe in peace. I can’t trust what falls apart so quickly.

The platforms tear like wet paper.

The raft turns to wicker and my foot falls through. In the presence of this evil, my soul departs and my body takes control. In fight or flight I was too small and powerless to fight. My only choice has been to flee. I take a great leap without wanting to. I am suddenly pushing the raft of mindful life behind me and plunging into the depths of the waters below.

I am paralyzed. Rigid. My hands don’t move as I sink further from the surface. I am a rock. My body tells me this is where I belong.

Demon, his evil binding my body, claiming to have won. My body, he is telling me I don’t own it, he is trying to control it, keeping it from making any movement, locking me up in a primal state of paralysis. I am not worth saving. If something so wrong can happen again and again, it must be what I deserve.

I am being squeezed in the fists of evil. It tells me it will never let me go.

Suddenly, above the surface, I see my grandmother’s face. Wouldn’t I rather be up there with her, she asks. Wouldn’t I rather have one good moment than an eternity of suffocation? What am I doing there, not even trying to swim? That evil doesn’t hold you, baby, your body is yours. Move it. Use it. Fight. You can fight and you can win.

Is it too late? I wonder. I’ve sunk so far. I start to move my arms and kick my legs. I hold my breath and feel it burning in my lungs. It is actually a relief to remember I have breath, even though it hurts. I don’t remember how swimming works, how fighting works. I flail as I try to figure it out. I am frustrated by the clumsy movements of my body. It’s stricken with rigor mortis. It has been frozen, fear stricken, for so long.

You can do it, she tells me wordlessly, but what you can’t do is let yourself sink. If you don’t stop yourself now, you will drown all your life. You will never have lived at all. It doesn’t matter what has happened to you. You can fight and you can win. That body you have is what holds this entire ocean, that body you have isn’t insignificant. It’s all you’ve got to fight this evil. It’s all you’ve got that will set you free. Use it. Love it. Remember why you have it.

This body you think deserves the worst doesn’t exist. The body that thinks it is so owned by evil is an illusion. Who you are can not be owned. You are this entire ocean, you are the waves, you are the raft, you are the stars above it and the earth beneath it. You are an entire, beautiful world. You are the only one who can set you free. Reclaim your world. Reclaim your life.

She leaves and I am alone under the water.

And suddenly my body takes over. But this time, instead of pushing me down, it reminds me how to swim. I know there will be peace at the surface. I remember who I was. All I have to do is fight on her behalf before she is lost forever. I’m the only one who can.

Finally I reach the surface. I struggle onto the raft. It’s still there. My grandmother is on the dock. She smiles.

I’m proud of you, she says without words. Everyone has this ocean. Everyone has these demons. Fighting isn’t just for you. The ones who make it to the surface become the platforms that you walked on. They pave the path to peace.

Your life becomes a testament to the people who are struggling, a pathway to help them find themselves again. Live your life as an inspiration. As a testament to the power of love. Live your life to show that no matter what has happened, you have the strength to rise. You have the will to fight. Even after you’re gone, that love you gave yourself has built a platform so that others who have been lost can find their way back home. Never stop fighting for yourself. Everyone is lost in a world like this. Show them why it’s worth fighting for.

Why the LGBT Community Shouldn’t Be Flattered By Katy Perry

Girl Kissed, Girl Dismissed

AFP kissed a girl and she liked it.
AFP kissed a girl and she liked it.

Once I can turn the radio on without rolling my eyes after five minutes, I think we will have reached a new era of progress. I’m not holding my breath though. That this day will come soon is doubtful. It seems as though all that mainstream music attempts to do is glorify superficiality, conformity and monotony; stealing beats the same way that Vanilla Ice ripped off Queen and splicing genuine inspiration with failed attempts at drollery or overly serious (and often egomaniacal) soliloquies. People are heavily influenced by the music playing in the background of their lives, and it suggests how they should perceive the world around them. The media is an oppressive and powerful tool structured to make money…not empower people. Knowing this makes it a little hard to expect that the music playing on the radio will be very progressive. Degradation and exploitation somehow became a lucrative art form.

Sometime last year though, I heard a song that took my inner cynic by complete surprise. It symbolized to me, at first, progress to the very definition. It was a song by a girl, Katy Perry, about kissing another girl. Hell, she even liked it! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Not because I find it strange that girls kiss girls. I listen to songs with lesbian undertones all the time. I was surprised because of where the song was being played. It was a radio station dominated by songs demanding that females shake their asses and be possessed. I was stunned and thrilled by the apparent turnaround. I felt I was witnessing a landmark. Progress! The Russian pseudo-lesbian duo t.A.T.u. had been a bust, but here was their retribution. The gay community was finally being represented in mainstream media!

Unfortunately my exhilaration was short-lived. Upon listening more closely to the lyrics my relief turned to disgust. Perry was completely missing the point. She was not doing the gay community a favor in any way. Instead, she was reinforcing the same harmful stereotypes that have been scaring people away from an in-depth observation of homosexuality since the beginning. When people hear gay, what they think (assuming it’s not in a context meant to convey one’s contempt toward a thing’s apparent worthlessness) is sex…capital S. It’s not an exaggeration that when typing the word “lesbian” into a YouTube search, rather than finding progressive lesbian artists like Alix Olson or the Good Asian Drivers and valuable lesbian entertainers like Ellen Degeneres and Bridget McManus, YouTube presents us with pages and pages of pornography; videos with artistic titles such as “HOT LESBIAN SUPER SEX.”

“HOT LESBIAN SUPER SEX” is not a fair representation of my community. If my niece were to have questions one day about what it means that I am a lesbian, and rather than talking to me she relied on the media and mainstream interpretations of homosexuality to attempt a deeper understanding of it, she would be horrified and sadly mislead by the supposed information that she would uncover about the gay community. Most of the information floating around out there is not information at all, but rather biased and ignorant opinions or stereotypes. The focus on sex when the issue of homosexuality comes up is deeply detrimental to the general perceptions people have of the LGBT community. That homosexuals are human beings with the desire to be loved is often a factor that is overlooked in lieu of a perverse fascination with the sexual expression of love–a perverse fascination that Katy Perry is capitalizing off of. Not that there aren’t any superficial gays out there, one look at the character Shane on the L Word is proof enough of that, but the privacy of the members of the gay community is constantly violated. Knowing sexual things about people is typically an uncomfortable thing, so it’s not really surprising when people feel uneasy upon discovering that someone is gay. Many people feel they are automatically targeted as potential sex-interests, a presumptuous fallacy that came about because so many people are led to believe that there’s nothing genuinely emotional about homosexuality. What happens in a same-sex bedroom becomes the perverse focal point of most of the overly sheltered people who are confronted with homosexuality, due in large part to the effects of misleading mainstream portrayals of the gay community.

Songs like “I Kissed a Girl” don’t do anything to disassociate “gay” with inappropriate carnal desire. They reinforce the harmful assumption that to be gay doesn’t necessarily mean to be able to love someone of the same gender, which leaves the LGBT community in a light that portrays them as sexual deviants and guilty of sodomy (which is a term also related to the inexcusable act of turning animals into sexual objects) while dismissing the emotional aspects altogether. Katy Perry takes same-sex experimentation into the same field as anyone with ignorant assumptions about the gay community. She reduces her alleged feelings toward the same sex into nothing but carnal desire. In fact, she does everything she can not to acknowledge the fact that the girl she’s kissing might have legitimate feelings. Perry describes this girl as her “experimental game,” something that she just wants to “try on” and, presumably, be admired in.

 

"I'm too innocent and hetero to do anything ACTUALLY gay. Just ask my boyfriend."
“I’m too innocent and hetero to do anything ACTUALLY gay. Just ask my boyfriend.”

There are a lot of dimensions (most of them overlooked by people like Katy Perry) that come with the territory of being a member of the LGBT community. I personally grew up in a small oppressive town where I couldn’t even take a girl to the prom if I wanted to. I was completely isolated from anybody that I could relate to (which isn’t one hundred percent due to being a lesbian but it definitely didn’t help) and, considering I was a particularly angst-filled teenager, it was nearly unbearable. It felt like no matter what, I wouldn’t be able to find happiness in a relationship that wasn’t hindered by barriers of every kind; extreme distance, familial opposition, and the distinct possibility of being a target for cruelty and violence.

My little sob story is nothing in comparison with the thousands of other stories out there told by less fortunate members of the gay community. Even so, the misery I experienced was real and is shared by countless others, which makes me wonder about the girl that Katy Perry targeted in her song. Was she someone like Perry, who uses alcohol as an excuse to do things that aren’t “what good girls do,” without having to take responsibility for them or deal with a few societal reprimands? Or was she someone like me, who had been forced to endure her adolescence locked inside of herself throughout the terrifying stages of self-discovery?

If Katy Perry’s “experimental game” was a legitimate member of the gay community, unless she was dismissive of emotional relationships it’s doubtful that she would brush off Perry’s advances as merely “human nature” and worth no further exploration. The victim of Perry’s saliva, if she is a lesbian, would more likely than not want the chance to develop some sort of connection with her. If this was a girl seeking a valid emotional relationship, it’s impossible to assume that she’d be able to dismiss that kind of attention, which might explain why Perry is so quick to state that she isn’t “in love tonight” and altogether avoid the complications that arise when you integrate sexuality with love, especially when it comes to the same sex. In fact, she belittles the concept of a relationship with the same gender by throwing in the fact that she has a boyfriend, and the time and physicality she invests in her “game” are never going to compare to what she considers a real relationship.

Assumptions like this are everywhere in the media. Shows like Nip/Tuck are constantly reversing the roles of women who proclaim they are lesbians or in strictly lesbian relationships and back track these statements with supposedly irresistible flings with men, making the label of “lesbian” appear to be nothing but, to borrow a phrase from Sarah Warn, temporary sexual insanity. It seems like nobody believes in the emotional validity of same sex relationships, and those that try fail when confronted with the choice between the same or the opposite sex. When it comes to lesbians, men absurdly are always still an option; most lesbians just need a good romp in the sack with the right guy. Hoping that her boyfriend won’t mind that she has objectified and used a woman in a sexual way while staying emotionally dedicated to him implies that there’s nothing about being with a woman that compares to being with a man in a socially acceptable relationship. (Ironically it’s more socially acceptable to cheat on your boyfriend with a girl than to be in a monogamous same-sex relationship.)

Katy Perry goes a step beyond this implication by dedicating an entire verse to objectifying women. It seems like a pathetic appeal and a veiled threat to straight men, maybe even directed at her boyfriend in a “Can you blame me?” attitude. She reinforces the assumption that many men have that it’s okay to see women initially for nothing but their physical traits. It’s an idea that these kinds of men will find sickeningly affirmed coming from a woman herself. At the same time though, she seems to be teasing the men, attempting to make them feel insecure and threatened by women and homosexuals and view them as further competition.

Katy Perry reduces same-sex experimentation into a superficial mockery and harmful emulation of the gay community. Her music, because it is popular, influences the way that people who learn how to live and act from MTV view and treat members of the gay community. There is no hope for a widespread acceptance of homosexuality if we keep allowing harmful generalizations to persist. A small way that we can help is by spreading awareness and boycotting harmful portrayals of the gay community by the media (like, for example, Katy Perry’s song) and working to disassociate homosexuality with sexual deviancy and perversion. The cheapening and exploitation of homosexual lifestyles has got to stop. The only difference between homo and heterosexuals is in an arena that shouldn’t be scrutinized by the public anyway. It is essential that homosexuals become acknowledged as people as opposed to the sexual objects that Katy Perry implies that they are.

Published by the Pathways Literary Journal

Quiet and Happy

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I’m listening as the streetcars pass by my window, excited that I will be going to see the Cowboy Junkies play a free concert tonight. My little white hamsters are slumbering peacefully, ignoring my offerings of bok choy for a quiet retreat into their coconut huts. It’s quiet and I am happy.

I know I have a lot to say, about the world, society, people, animals, the environment, but right now I will save it for another day and just focus on this perfect moment. Thinking too hard about everything else will ruin that. The sun is streaming through the skylight, the sky is blue. It’s quiet and I am happy. Sometimes that’s enough.