Katy Perry's Feminist View on the "Are You Having Babies" Question Is Honestly Surprising
I have a rather painful confession to make: Katy Perry has actually said something kind of I agree with. PHEW! There, I said it. While she's typically the queen of bumbling cultural appropriation and eye-roll worthy quotes, when Katy Perry was interviewed by Harper's Bazaar, she had some uncharacteristically right-on things to say about the media needing to get off her D about having babies already. Don't be pandering to her with your sexist questions, OK? Sounds kinda feminist to me, Katy Perry, you non-self-identifying feminist. I see you there...
In the October issue of Harper's Bazaar, Perry details her frustration with the media's nosiness over certain personal things. She's not talking about, like, John Mayer or a supposed Cold War with Taylor Swift. She's talking about whether or not, and when, she wants to gestate little Katy Perrys. While she isn't asked the "are you having kids" question by Harper's, she does bring it up saying that other interviewers have asked it in the past. Her fantastic response is basically "why is this even a question?"
Why am I a baby machine? Why can’t I be a mogul? I want to have a baby, sure, but I want to have a career. I want to have a record label. I want to have an incredible tour. So I’m going to have all of those things. Let’s talk about that. It’s like, get out of my ovaries, okay? I’ll do it in time.
Exactly! "GET BENT!" I say respectfully to all individuals attempting to project their expectations onto my life-giving lady glands.
Katy Perry is bringing attention to a pretty poignant issue here. In addition to being a woman and having the power to reproduce, she's a person with an insanely successful career which is taking precedent in her life. She's not a baby factory, she's a human being with thoughts and creative ideas — just like the dudes who are not getting asked by journalists about their plans to procreate.
This question "When are you going to have kids?" holds serious societal pressure and weight that can make women feel like baby factories. Caitlin Moran talks about this issue in her memoir How to Be a Woman (which, in this writer's opinion, should be required reading for all human beings). This is an everyday form of sexism that women are just expected to politely yield to. For famous ladies, this pressure can manifest in an interviewer blithely asking about their family planning life. In all politeness, it isn't anyone's beeswax. In addition to her quote in Rolling Stone about not "needing a dude" to have a child, methinks Katy Perry is setting in motion a pattern of saying slightly less face-palmy things these days.
This is not to say that we should forget that Katy Perry still gets no more than a C- in her definition of feminism, and is the worst when she tries to appropriate cultures as cutesy theatrics. I still don't think she's Hollywood's greatest role model. But I'm ready to recognize that calling BS on a sexist question is actually setting a good example for young girls. Small victories are still victories nonetheless.
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