Debate Magazine

Wanna Be A Victim? No Thanks.

Posted on the 18 May 2011 by Juliez

I love music. From Tchaikovsky to T-Pain, my iPod has it all. I also love to sing. I’m not all that good at it, and my off-key crooning is usually confined to my shower or car, but nevertheless I enjoy it. It puts me in a good mood.

On my way home this afternoon, I was listening to my usual pre-set pop radio station when a relatively new song called Extraterrestrial by Katy Perry and Kanye West came on. I’d heard it before, but never paid much attention to anything other than the catchy beat. It wasn’t until today that I realized what the lyrics were actually saying. For those of you who aren’t fans of top-40 radio, here’s a partial transcript. You can also listen to the song here.

They say be afraid
You’re not like the others
Futuristic lover
Different DNA
They don’t understand you

Your from a whole other world
A different dimension
You open my eyes
And I’m ready to go
Lead me into the light

Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me
Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison

Take me, ta-ta-take me
Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction

Boy, you’re an alien
Your touch are foreign
It’s supernatural

Infect me with your poison? I wanna be a victim? Really?

Of course misogynistic lyrics are nothing new – women have been objectified and called “bitches” and “hos” in rap lyrics for years, but what I find most disturbing about this particular set of lyrics is that a woman is actively and with conviction insisting she wants to be a victim. A victim of what, you might ask? Well, perhaps I’m reading a bit too much into this, but it sounds eerily like the articulation of a female rape fantasy played out in lyrical form.

Ms. Perry recently admitted to the British tabloid OK! she has no desire to be a role model and would prefer kids look up to girls like (*gag, choke, vomit in mouth*) Miley Cyrus.

You have GOT to be kidding me.

Too bad she doesn’t really have a choice in the matter. She’s a role model (albeit not a very good one) whether she wants to be or not, and she should know better than to think she’s not culpable just by saying she doesn’t want to be. Shame on you, Katy.

Songs like “Extraterrestrial” and Rhianna’s “S&M”, where the songstress states “the pain is my pleasure” and describes how excited she becomes by whips and chains (surprising given the brutal and widely publicized beating she received from ex-boyfriend Chris Brown), leave me wondering what a conscientious feminist is supposed to do? Can I like these songs and still claim to be fighting patriarchy? Can I sing along without compromising the part of myself that hates the message the lyrics are promoting? Of these things I’m not sure. But what I am sure of is that my daughter won’t be listening to them.

These women know they are influential. They know their lyrics reach millions of teen girls and young women on a daily, if not hourly, basis. They also base their entire careers on the notion that the cultural products they produce will resonate with people, and Rhianna has experienced first hand one of the ugly and painful products of patriarchy. So why on earth are they loudly and proudly proclaiming their desires to be brutalized by men?!

Perhaps they don’t claim to be feminists, and that’s perfectly fine, even appropriate given the content of their music, but that doesn’t get them off the hook when it comes to promoting violence toward women. We’ve come to expect it from many male artists in the popular music industry (i.e. 99% of male rappers), but I find it tragic that even a former victim of such violence now seems to be promoting it, even glamorizing it.

If Katy wants so badly to be a victim, I’m pretty sure she’s gotten her wish. She’s yet another victim of the hegemonic, patriarchal ideology that has relegated women to nothing more than objects of male sexual pleasure. I sure hope she’s happy.

Katie E also writes for Figuring out Feminism

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • New Green River Killer Victim?

    Green River Killer Victim?

    One of the most notorious and frightening serial killers in history was known as The Green River Killer, a moniker derived from his dumping his victims, mostly... Read more

    By  Dplylemd
  • Be a Sport


    Last night I went to a wedding reception, except it was actually a fund-raising event and there was neither a real bride nor groom. Read more

    By  Judithmiddleton
  • Rule #21 – Don’t Be A Stoplight Creeper

    Rule Don’t Stoplight Creeper

    Why is everyone in such a goddamn hurry all the time? Is anyone ever where they actually want to be? Judging by the behavior of most drivers on the road, you’d... Read more

    By  Don Mega
  • Blessed to Be a Blessing

    Blessed Blessing

    Written by new CocoaMamas contributor Tracy B. Welcome to CocoaMamas Tracy! I am blessed in that I am surrounded by beautiful Black men. Read more

    By  Gradmommy
  • It's Good to Be a Winner

    It's Good Winner

    We on the anti-Gunloon side are winning, every day. I know, I can I sagely say this? Easy. You just have to think about it for a minute. For... Read more

    By  Mikeb302000
  • No Religions Are New: “Everything is a Remix”

    Religions New: “Everything Remix”

    In my anthropology of religion course, one of the main themes is that all religions have histories and nothing is ever really new. There is in other words a... Read more

    By  Cris
  • US-style Policing in the UK? No Thanks

    This the title of a post in the Guardian's Political Blog: America is a much more violent place than the UK, and its law and order settlement is not one any... Read more

    By  Mikeb302000


By  Humanwriter
posted on 09 June at 14:24
Report spam/abuse

I totally agree with this, especially the comment on Rhianna, as a victim of domestic violence she, above all people, should not be advocating victimisation of women. S and M is all well and good in the privacy of the bedroom but should not be advertised to her target audience of 10-15 year old girls!

By jaymax
posted on 02 June at 21:37
Report spam/abuse

This song is strange. The video has a science fiction bent with an angelic, imaginistic, alien hybrid floating and singing and when she kisses the male it looks like she is the alien top and he is the actual author of the song (tho the women sings it). Reverse feminism? Demon alien transition preparation song? Who knows. The music and words are very catchy and make a great dance song. The vid is beautiful. Don't take it too serious or you'll pop a vein! Katy is doing what good pop stars (Madonna) do; hitting buttons, being creative, enticing, controversial, and taking all the proceeds to her bank.