Katy Perry's Comments About Female Pop Stars' Nudity May Be Hypocritical, But They're Crucial
Yes, she's dressed up in a leopard print bikini for a music video and sure, she's worn a spinning peppermint bra, but that doesn't mean she doesn't have the right to speak out about the trend toward complete nakedness among today's biggest pop stars. Katy Perry thinks female pop stars are getting naked too often and in an interview with NPR, she shared that she thinks her colleagues in the business could stand to wear a few more articles of this stuff we mere mortals call "clothing."
When NPR's Scott Simon made the point that Katy is really popular among 10 to 17-year-olds (he went as far as to compare her to Bob Dylan, but I'll leave that alone), Katy took that opportunity to share how she feels about being viewed as a role model. Spoiler alert: she's not that into it.
A lot of people see me as a role model but I'd like to kind of turn that around and say I appreciate that but I'd like to be seen as an inspiration. Because a role model, I think, will fail you ... I do see myself becoming this, whatever, inspiration out of default right now, 'cause it's such a strange world. Like females in pop — everybody's getting naked. I mean, I've been naked before but I don't feel like I have to always get naked to be noticed. But it's interesting to see...
She's not wrong. Between Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" video to Lady Gaga's ARTPOP artwork to Rihanna's entire Instagram feed, all their clothing combined makes up less than I'm wearing right now. Nakedness and sex has always been used to sell, but Katy's got a point: It feels like everyone is just naked 24/7, and for no real reason.
When Simon wondered if she was talking about any naked celebs in particular, she replied:
I'm not talking about anyone in particular. I'm talking about all of them. I mean, it's like everybody's so naked. It's like put it away. We know you've got it. I got it too. I've taken it off for — I've taken it out here and there. And I'm not necessarily judging. I'm just saying sometimes it's nice to play that card but also it's nice to play other cards. And I know I have that sexy card in my deck but I don't always have to use that card.
Listen, it's not like Katy's performing in jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt: Her outfits are just as sexy as the next pop star's, but I suppose that's the point. She's wearing an outfit, she's not completely naked. And yes, a quick Google search will show you all the times she hasn't worn clothing — she was naked, save for some strategically placed pink clouds, on her Teenage Dream album cover and it's hard to find a photo of her that doesn't show off her impressive cleavage.
But Katy's image has always been somewhat iconoclastic. There's a tongue-in-cheek feel to just about everything she's does, so even if her comments come across as hypocritical, it's the overall message that's nevertheless uplifting. One of the world's most famous women recognizes that hey, this movement toward the naked might not be great, and as an inspirational women (read: not role model), she's tuned into the fact that she has the power to be the change she wishes to see in the world.
Instead of working hard to prove how hypocritical Katy's comments may be, we should view them as a step in the right direction. She's in a powerful position and the more she uses that power for good, the better off we'll all be.