Katy Perry: hero or villain?

Topping the charts in the USA and UK this week, Katy Perry’s single I Kissed A Girl has set the queer blogosphere alight.

In the forthcoming issue of Bi Community News editor Jen Yockney writes:

With lines like “I kissed a girl and I liked it… I hope my boyfriend won’t mind it…  It felt so wrong, it felt so right” it might be an anthem for the bi-curious girlie.  But then singing “No, I don’t even know your name.  It doesn’t matter, You’re my experimental game” and a video of lipstick lesbian titillation will reinforce every gay scene stereotype of bisexuals as tourists who run back to the safety of mixed-gender relationships.  Hell, at the end of the video, she even wakes up from all the soft-focus girlies to find herself in bed with her boy.  And Perry’s track record with a previous single about how her insufficiently macho boyfriend is “so gay” doesn’t leave me wanting to give Perry the benefit of the doubt on her sexual politics.

But perhaps I’m getting overly excited about a pop single: the main market is teenagers and who knows how many bi and lesbian girls may find it gives them an excuse to make that first step out of line from heterosexuality.

It’s not a sign that the battle for bi acceptance is over.  Just flip the genders of the piece and consider how different the reception of the equivalent song about a guy making out with another guy and hoping his girlfriend won’t mind it would be.

Now, the real way that “I Kissed A Girl” could pioneer for bisexual credibility is if we can get Torchwood star John Barrowman to cover it on one of his innumerable BBC appearances.  Or perhaps we might get Ben Summerskill to do it for a charity single.  How about it Ben – split the proceeds between Stonewall and – oh, wait, we don’t have a bisexual charity.  We’ll get back to you.