Millennials grew up listening to Katy Perry. During the 2016 election, she was an avid supporter of Hillary Clinton—her hit single, “Roar”, was the campaign theme song. In the past year, Perry joined the #MeToo movement promoting her to ultimate “feminist icon” status.
As a vocal member of the MeToo movement, Perry did something hypocritical and inappropriate that she would undoubtedly criticize somebody else for doing–and she did it on national television. During last week’s episode of American Idol, the judges joked with 19-year-old Benjamin Glaze before his audition, asking “Have you kissed a girl and liked it?” (a reference to Perry’s first hit single “I Kissed a Girl”). Turns out, Benjamin is a hopeless romantic and he was saving his first kiss for his first relationship.
Perry thought it was up to her to change that. She stood from her chair and demanded Benjamin approach the judges table for a kiss. Benjamin went for a kiss on the cheek, but Perry tricked him and planted a kiss right on his lips.
This kiss was nonconsensual. Does she think that because she is a woman or a celebrity she can make somebody uncomfortable and embarrassed by giving an unwanted kiss on national TV?
Since #MeToo has taken over, many innocent men have been vilified for simply being men, while some women have felt ‘triggered’ in everyday conversation. Why is Katy Perry not facing any condemnation for taking advantage of her position with this young man?
The MeToo movement has encouraged important conversations about how people should treat each other. Part of that conversation has to be about degrees of what is acceptable humor and what is out of bounds. Katy Perry was no Harvey Weinstein in this episode, but she still sent a poor message that her status and gender allowed her to get away with something that others couldn't. And surely one lesson from the MeToo movement ought to be that people—even the rich, famous, and powerful—cannot take advantage of others. And that should hold for women as well as men.
Millennials are adapt at recognizing hypocrisy. They should not only leave Perry's worn out pop hits in the past and start listening to some better music—they should also look for some better role models.