Pimping the Kid Sex – UPDATED

I rarely write on this sort of thing, and until the Elmo/Cleavage matter, I wasn’t sure who Katy Perry was, but this tweet brought me to this post applauding Ace O’ Spades, which brought me to this piece by Ace, wherein he (who has always differentiated between adult and kid material), gets tough with the sexpot singer for her choice of market target.

Katy Perry appeared on Saturday Night Live doing the tiresome Abbreviated-Catholic-School-Uniform-Singing-About-Sex thing that has been done by Britney Spears and others. Perry’s overt calculation though, steps it up an offensive notch. Writes Ace:

. . .the basics of the lyrics is that she’s super-hot to have sex with a guy she loves, and thus proposes:

Let’s go all the way tonight
no regrets, just love
We can dance until we die
you and I will be young forever

You make me feel like
I’m livin’ a
Teenage Dream
the way you turn me on
I can’t sleep
Let’s run away and
never look back, never look back

She is plainly attempting to mimic the basics of Like a Virgin here, lyrically. Like a Virgin was also a metaphor — kinda — about very young people having sex and how awesome it is. I say metaphor, because Madonna said “like a virgin;” that is, she wasn’t actually saying she was a virgin, but was so hot for this guy she felt like one.

Similarly, Katy Perry isn’t saying she is a Teenage Dream, but she feels like one, because she’s so horned-up and stuff.

But I do not think her legions of tweener girl fans are going to get this very thin distinction (and Katy Perry doesn’t really mean them to). They are not going to take from it that this is an adult woman saying she feels so hot ‘n horny she feels like a Teenage Dream, but is in fact not a Teenage Dream at all; they are going to make this their anthem, and become someone’s Teenage Dream.

And she’s telling them how awesome that is. And how teenage sex is just so awesome that even when adults want to discuss awesome sex, they talk about it terms of teenage sex, the most awesomest awesome sex of all.
And yeah, for that reason, the song will sell well, and it will be proposed as theme for junior proms across the country (and will mostly be rejected by faculty… mostly).

None of this was necessary, of course, even if her motive was money. As an attractive woman with some ability to write catchy bubblegum pop, her career is failry secure. It’s not like she was a Britney Spears desperately needing a comeback hit and thus resorting to the tried and true method of selling sex to younger and younger tweener girls.

This was just evil for evil’s sake. She wanted to be even more famous than she is . . . and she decided to grab at that on the backs of tweener girls, already immersed in a culture that tells them virgins are weird and having sex is what the cool, popular kids do, with almost no pushback against this message at all.

It’s in this context that I would advise all those people who think Christine O’Donnell is “weird” and “judgmental” and “too religious” for expressing her take-it-slow views on sexuality. Young girls — really young; tweens — are being sold this crap day and night by an insidious, viciously cynical pop culture that says it’s never too young to be someone’s Teenage Dream.

I can’t say I disagree with a word. There’s more, so you’ll want to go read it all.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Danielle Bean notes that dozens of Mesquite, Texas high school girls were sent home from a recent dance because their dresses were too immodest. The girls (and Salon) say the dresses were “tame,” and so the social tension continues to stretch.

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  • http://therosarytrail.com/ Margo

    THANK YOU for writing this! I have been disturbed about this sort of thing for quite some time and have been looking for sources that expose it for what it is. Evil is, yet again, rearing its ugly head and twisting notions, stirring up untruths and deceiving the innocent. (or not so innocent, as in some cases.) How can there be stricter child protective laws than there have ever been on the one hand, and yet on the other there is this sick, weird pushing of the youth into vulnerable situations and circumstances from the clothing to the TV shows. What is wrong with people?? Great article, and I’ll be sharing it with others who feel the way I do.

  • Andrew B

    I am horrified–but not at all surprised–by Katy Perry’s Sesame Street appearance. She is known (almost exclusively, I would imagine) as a hyper-sexual creation, always showing up in the tightest, shortest dresses. Her entire schtick is being cute and really, really, REALLY available. She’ll never go broke that way, but it really doesn’t need to be offered up to pre-schoolers as a viable choice.

    Anyone who complains, of course, will be exposed to the full brunt of the argument I call “Reductio ad Elvis”. That is, any complaint about inappropriate content on TV is immediately countered with “Oh, that’s what they said when Elvis went on Ed Sullivan!”

    I expect to live long enough to see hardcore porn and human sacrifice on network television, but I won’t be allowed to complain. I blame Elvis.

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  • DWiss

    Andrew B; Human sacrifice on TV…I had to laugh, but nervously because, who knows?

    I have twin daughters who are freshmen in high school this year – 14 years old. They’re good girls who think things through so I don’t lie awake nights worrying. But we do disagree on popular culture issues, Katy Perry being one of them. The TV show, Glee, being another. And so on. Point is, they hear one message from me and quite another form society at large. For now, I have the checkbook and they know it, so I win. But as years pass and my influence wanes, I pray that they’ll stay grounded in good fundamentals.

    It’s a battle – really – a battle for our kids’ souls and lives!

  • Shacoria

    I’m a teenager myself(17) and I don’t think Katy Perry meant any harm by it. I don’t think she’s evil at all. She is the daughter of ministers. She got angry at Lady Gaga for using blasphemy in her “Alejandro” video. I don’t think Katy Perry is some evil harlot.

  • Chardin

    It’s funny. It’s always on the days that homeschooling becomes routine and I don’t think about why we really do it, that I read a piece like this. Man, I’m glad we homeschool and so are our kids.

  • Mimi

    And you have to add to the mix Katy’s push to normalize trying out homosexual acts: “I Kissed A Girl (And I Liked It)” was nominated for Favorite Song at the 2009 Kids’ Choice Awards.

    Partial lyrics:

    I kissed a girl and I liked it.
    The taste of her cherry chapstick.
    I kissed a girl just to try it.
    I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it.
    It felt so wrong, it felt so right.
    Don’t mean I’m in love tonight.
    I kissed a girl and I liked it.

    No, I don’t even know your name
    It doesn’t matter
    Your my experimental game
    Just human nature
    It’s not what, good girls do
    Not how theyshould behave
    My head gets so confused
    Hard to obey
    Us girls we are so magical,
    soft skin, red lips, so kissable.
    Hard to resist so touchable.
    Too good to deny it.
    Ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent.

  • dry valleys

    Personally I just think she hasn’t got anywhere to go but further down. I liked this about Katy Perry vs. Lady Gaga, neither of whom I listen to, but I suppose Gaga has got a way out with her social activism (which naturally I agree with the aims of) & that is her bid to be taken seriously. I liked the (very negative) review here

    I have seen a few pictures of Katy Perry, I could never make up my mind whether I find her attractive. If it’s a celebrity appreciation I’d go with Gemma Arterton, I love her. (Also because unlike the vast majority of slebs she is working-class, which is good because it is disconcerting that almost no famous people come from families like mine).

    I know all about slebs because I read about them, in newspapers. I can tell you about books I don’t read, films I don’t watch, records I don’t listen to etc!

    I don’t think this has much to do with culture wars, & like the Roman Polanski affair it isn’t a result of a left-wing conspiracy against you. Unless you want me to think that the people who sell records, run music TV shows, etc. agree with me that neoliberalism (Thatcherism/Reaganomics) should never have been inflicted on the world, which is absurd. They don’t have any principles or values but they go with the conservatives because that way they can make more money.

    People probably spend their working lives analysing things like this. But as for me I just obsessively remember every scrap of information I see (unless it’s something important, in which case I’ll forget it).

  • Raymond

    Too much information for me- from both the Blogger and her commentators. I am getting less and less interested in this site. I think this is not what Father Neuhaus had in mind. God bless us all.

  • dry valleys

    Well, Raymond, you’ll get no information from me because my comment hasn’t appeared at all. I was quite pleased with myself after doing it as well. The world mourns.

    [Found in the spam filter...again! Sorry -admin]

  • Peter from MN

    It seems sometimes like we are headed toward the day when our culture requires registration in our communities as a sexual predator.

  • Ruth H

    Where to start on this one. The shot I saw of the Katy Perry thing with Elmo reminded me of PeeWee Herman, something she may or may not like.
    On the Mesquite, Texas prom- I have teenage granddaughters who have parents who know where to draw the line on their clothing. They are not raising sluts. I have grand nieces who are in their 20′s now and I was always embarrassed to see how they dressed. I felt they will at some time realize how terrible they looked and wonder why their Christian parents did not step in and stop them.

  • Joe

    While we should promote Christine O’Donnell! I know the post was about Katy but why throw that in? When Christine was that age she was having dates on Satanic Altars (by her own account) and into Witchcraft! Perhaps we should give Katy some time to grow up before we judge her…

  • http://theornithophobe.blogspot.com/ Nmissi

    Never have liked Katy Perry and, although I grew up in the eighties, I wasn’t a fan of Madonna. However, I’ll have to stick up for her and say that “Like a Virgin” actually has a pretty decent message to it. “I was beat, incomplete. I’d been had, I was sad and blue, but you made me feel- yeah you made me feel, shiny and new.” She’s not saying she’s so hot for him that she feels like a virgin, she’s saying that his love for her makes her feel clean, unashamed. Classic love song stuff, and not really offensive at all. I can’t say the same for most of her stuff, but LAV is…dare I say it? Sweet.

  • http://timhollingworth.blogspot.com Tim H


    Most of us don’t think Katie Perry is evil either. I don’t question her faith. I question her judgement.

    She may be the daughter of ministers and may have spoken out against her peers but it does not absolve her of her responsibility to God to not put children in proximate danger of sin or to teach children that sinful behavior is acceptable. By writing and producing sexually provocative songs and appearing in sexually provacative clothing on a TV show meant for four year old children, this is exactly what she has done.

    It is older people – parents who have raised children – who speak out against this type of stuff, who try to guide society toward virtue, and who protect their children from this type of stuff to whome you owe a debt of gratitude. We are not trying to stop you from listening to music. We are trying to prevent you from getting pregnant at 16. Please try to see it from our perspective.

    You sound like a good kid and like you are headed in the right direction. Keep it up.


  • Jeffrey Quick

    Re the Texas girls: No, those aren’t “tame” dresses. But did the dress code really say “too short?” What’s THAT supposed to mean? Back when I went exploring I went to the local TLM parish (FSSP, former SSPX chapel now regularlized) with my pagan wife, who was dressed about how you’d expect a 54 year old ex-Prot to dress for church. And there was a dress code posted at the door to the sanctuary, and my wife said, “I’m in violation of the dress code.” We sat in the back, and nobody threw us out. But it was quite specific about dress length. And it was probably needed, given how many Catholics I’ve seen who dress for church as if they were doing the Lord a favor by wearing clothes.

  • Old Fan

    An interesting post.

    We all see the absurdity of the costume for children with the tiresome Ms. Perry selling her bust. It is as old as time in terms of Pop Culture these days, as it would be rather absurd for many to wear the push up items to create some cleavage out of nothing – Janet Jackson comes to mind, as well as a vast number of those selling a sexy image as ‘music’. Of course, they always limited visual access to the “rear” of the product. And all of these packages being peddled as sex images, face a very hard reality when age hits home. The star machine writing cheesy songs, manipulative makeup – fashion – lighting – editing, promotional advertising, etc., cannot overcome the reality of the product. Many of these Sex Pops have a real problem dealing with their own physicality, having developed a Celebrity career based primarily on their body image.

    Hopefully, Katy Perry may handle the decline better, we shall see. Much of the Celebrity drive is based on insecurity seeking attention, and it gives one the ugly impression of the individual believing the ‘world revolves around them’.

    However, we often see Pundits shape totally unrelated material for their political message. The inclusion by ACE (who is good – but lost a little luster with some rather emotive 3rd Party pushes over a simple Primary competition), of the O’Donnell case is a HUGE stretch.

    This item is a gloss effort of the disastrous problem in Delaware:
    ‘Christine O’Donnell is “weird” and “judgmental” and “too religious”’

    No, Ms. O’Donnell is a real problem because of her lack of credibility. Her repeated distortion of the truth (her failure to even be honest about her own education is absurd) is the kind of thing we don’t want to continue to encourage. Her failure to have a record of experience and accomplishment is also a huge problem. Ms. O’Donnell is basically on par with Obama, who is a disaster – but even he served some time in the Illinois State Government and as Senator in the US Congress. O’Donnell is known only by being used as a prop for Bill Maher as an ugly stereotype of Conservatives and Republicans for his ugly Partisan means. Ms. O’Donnell is now the beneficiary of an Identity – Purist Authoritarian Movement, which is an emotive lean on image. Certainly Castle was not an ideal, but the push by the Tea Party Express has taken on the Fashionable facade to an extreme. The basis and substance is lacking. Those pushing for O’Donnell are often the ones seeking to profit from the Fashionable Popularity, which reminds one of the same hyperbolic – emotive – reactionary folly which began to treat GW Bush and his Administration as ‘traitors’ after 2004.

    O’Donnell is a mixed bag. A nice statement, like many against a number of professional politicians who tend to enable the disastrous Democratic Party. But unfortunately the substance of the O’Donnell candidacy is so vapid, weak, poor, contradictory, confused, dishonest, etc., the product eventually weakens in the end. And this NOV we had such a great chance at taking the Majorities – giving the more Conservative Majority within the Republican Party control of the Senate and House. This was the essential priority, and giving the Democratic Partisans a chance, providing them with GIFTS for 6 years in the Senate – a Seat which was controlled by them for years, with the dishonest BIDEN, is a fools game. Just like the demented slogan of the ‘unhinged’ who said we should all “lay down” for the Democrats, like Nancy Pelosi, in 2006.

    NOV and 2012 are simply essential. And the lack of honesty about O’Donnell or the Tea Party Express take over of the fine Tea Party Protests, is not helping. The nasty nature of the campaigns in Alaska, Delaware, etc., has only invited more enemy creation. It is no surprise, predictable, that Murkowski would buck the game – having been treated so poorly, in a rather unethical manner which was far from Conservative.

    No, we can create great conceptions designed to cover for Ms. O’Donnell, but her problems are genuine (and it has nothing to do with a sincere Conservative Political embrace). It is the substance of the offering. And every time we fail to stick with the facts, reality, basis, we lose. The Democratic Partisans are stuck on Fashionable stereotypes, focused on image, and we are all suffering for their failure to study reality. Sure, they are designed to enable a Machine which feeds off of Union – Public Sector dependency. But we only enable their offering by following the same path, creating an ‘image obsessed’ movement which ignores basis. The frustrations are understandable, but responding with a similar Identity Purist Movement is going to enable the very worst.

    Thank you.

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  • Doc

    Don’t blame the bimbette, Perry, blame the show producers. This is what happens when developers of children’s shows make pushing an agenda more important than producing decent children’s TV. It’s why my kids have never seen Sesame Street, which was a clever and cute show when it began. Face it, most TV is garbage.