Anyone who knows me knows that I love me some pop music. I’ve been a huge fan of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, along with a bunch of other cheesy pop acts, including Carly Rae Jepsen. I was an entertainment editor, so I follow popular culture. I’ve largely kept silent about the feud between Katy & Taylor because I enjoy both artists, but the other day, after reading another interview about Katy discussing her side of this saga (again) & I found myself asking a friend;
I write about my life. I’m not gonna shade someone for writing a song about another human. I write about my reactions to certain things have shaped me. I’m sure some people out there aren’t happy with my opinion of their behaviour. That’s nice. But in the end, the lesson is what I learned from those experiences. It’s why I enjoy Taylor Swift as an artist. Her songs are about her feelings as they relate to certain experiences. Sometimes she calls herself out for her own missteps (Out of the Woods, Back to December, and the forever soul crushing All Too Well). This applies to Bad Blood. Bad Blood isn’t some diss track; it’s someone expressing their feelings over the loss of a friendship. The “diss” was about actions, stressing what the person in question did and how it made her feel. But more importantly, Taylor never revealed any details, except it was about a friend creating a professional issue and the friendship ended.
Taylor was called a fake feminist, catty, and a snake. What was meant to be a minor point about the 1989 writing process turned into a major event. Leading the charge was Katy Perry, who revealed herself to be the subject. In fact, despite saying she doesn’t write songs about people, she released her “anti-bullying anthem” Swish Swish. The song was chock full of thinly veiled insults towards Swift and the promotion for the song has been about how she was the victim and is the bigger person and how Taylor overreacted. Perry constantly says “I’m done talking about it” and then proceeds to speak out more about she was wronged because of the song Bad Blood while promoting a song bullying Swift. What appears to be an almost obsessive need to appear as the victim of some unfair attack almost validates Swift’s position to ignore her and feel like she was being targeted professionally. But more importantly, it looks like Perry is using Swift to help boost sales of Witness, which is sad as Katy Perry is talented enough to sell albums on her own.
This isn’t the only account of Perry’s bullying of other women. Earlier this year, she mocked Britney Spears’s mental breakdown a decade before. She regularly makes comments about Spears’s mental health. This is not how women should behave. You don’t need to belittle other women to elevate yourself. There is room on all of our phones for Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry. Heck, my phone has 128gb of storage; there’s room for Gaga, and Carly Rae, Selena, and Beyoncé, with room left over for Nicki Minaj & maybe some Gwar. There’s no need to attack other women to elevate your status as HBIC.
Maybe we as humans elevate the need for girl drama. Look at when Fifth Harmony member Camilla Cabello left the group. It wasn’t about creative differences; it was obviously about catfights and jealousy. When Zayn Malik chose to leave One Direction, it wasn’t rumoured that the guys were jealous of Zayn’s face and hair. It was “oh. He wants to go solo. Good for him.” Look at how fans pit artists against each other on social media. They’re still fighting about Britney vs. Christina. It’s been 20 years since they released their first singles. Is it the women, or are we obsessed with these supposed girl feuds? I’m guilty of it too. I was talking about it with friends. I just called attention to Katy Perry’s bullying of other women. Maybe the narrative continues because we encourage it.
Or maybe, we should hold women accountable to walk their talk. Katy Perry talks about how women should build each other up and she wants to empower, and in the next breath shit talks another woman. She tells a story about how she stole background dancers from Taylor, and knew it would be a problem, but she’s the victim because Taylor wouldn’t apologize to her and wrote a song about her feelings. Then says women should build each other up, because she’s a feminist and not like that mean bitch Taylor, who could end all of this if she just apologized to Katy, the victim. Poor Katy. But don’t worry, she’s not crazy like Britney. See? She loves all women, just not ones with mental illness, or that made her feel bad. They’re bitches. She’s so sweet. That is true fake feminism & it makes all of us look like catty bitches who are desperate for attention.
It’s okay to write about feelings. Some of the most powerful and moving songs were written by true life events (as long as they’re written by men, but that’s another rant for another time…wait, I’ve already written it!), but using those events, or the misfortunes of others, to build yourself up to sell records isn’t. And we need to stop hanging on every tidbit of gossip and shade like the world is a human soap opera. Those are real humans with real feelings. We need to stop listening and tell people who participate in this kind of pettiness that if their work was good, they wouldn’t need to use other successful women to give it a platform. It would sell on its own…