feminism music real talk

Aliens and Abusive Relationships

I’m riding in the car with some friends and the new Katy Perry song comes on the radio.  We’re all dancing and talking about how sexy and mysterious the song makes us feel.  We even start singing along, until Kanye West begins to rap.  Then I really start to listen.

I’mma disrobe you, than I’mma probe you 
See I abducted you, so I tell ya what to do 
I tell ya what to do, what to do, what to do

When Katy comes back in with the chorus, singing “Wanna be your victim/Ready for abduction,” I feel scared because they aren’t singing about aliens afterall.  There is nothing sexy or okay about abduction.
Relationships without consent are not healthy or safe.  If you ever feel like you are being taken advantage of or like you are not in control, get out immediately.  Kanye’s “I’ll tell you what to do” behavior is unacceptable and should be seen as a red flag.  You never have to do anything in a relationship that you don’t feel comfortable doing.

Katy Perry has a history of empowering girls to feel sexy in whatever body they own, but she doesn’t always preach such positive messages about relationships.  As a pop icon, Katy’s fans listen to her lyrics and relate them into their own lives.  Take for instance the lyrics “They say be afraid/You’re not like the others.

It’s a big red flag if I’m dating someone and my friends say I should be afraid of him.  My peers are looking out for my best interest when they judge his character.  It is healthy to be aware of how people around you view the person you’re dating because they might see something you didn’t notice.

How do you confront your friends about things you see and hear that you know are wrong?  Having these conversations is important because everyone needs to be on the same page about healthy relationships so no one gets hurt.  Tell your friends that it isn’t okay to talk to someone like Kanye does in the song.  Share your feelings with each other and ask any questions you may have about relationships you are in or know of that don’t seem healthy.

Now that I don’t like the content of this song, does that mean I can’t enjoy listening to it?  This is a question that requires both personal reflection and conversations with friends to answer.  My friends know that I’m always the one to call out celebrities for victim-blaming and slut-shaming, but these unacceptable lyrics were more subtly woven into the music.  After talking the lyrics out, we realized that the song affected us each differently, but we all agreed that Katy Perry’s over all message needed a make-over.

I think what Katy Perry meant to sing about was meeting a guy she likes who is different than other guys she knows, because it’s exciting.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Something went wrong between that idea and the song we hear on the radio with a negative message about abusive relationships.

Overall, I still think the song is super catchy, but when I’m with a new group of people and the song comes on, instead of screaming “I love this song!” I’ll say something like “Hey this song sounds so good, but I really don’t like the message it sends.”  This is a great way to get people talking about healthy relationships, which is likely to make them more aware of other instances in pop culture where unhealthy relationships are illustrated.
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