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Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Kissed a Girl

According to NPR, the catchy pop song "I Kissed a Girl," sung by Katy Perry, is the current number one song in America. You know, the one with the refrain:

I kissed a girl and I liked it
The taste of her cherry chapstick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my boyfriend don't mind it

Anyway, for the record, I'm not turned on at all by the prospect of two girls making out--it's not my scene--but I do love the fact that this is a big hit among teens, those voters-in-waiting. There is a reason for the generation gap in attitudes about same-sex marriage and LGBT rights: culture. Which is all a way of saying that "I Kissed a Girl" has gotten me thinking, yet again, about the intersection between law, culture, and norms. Can the law ever really change norms in a positive way? And if we were to compare their impact, can we really say that Lawrence v. Texas (outlawing the criminalization of same-sex sex), or Goodridge v. Dept of Public Health or In re Marriage Cases (Lockyer) (finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and California) have had more of an impact on the everyday lives of LGBT folks (their interaction with employers, co-workers, relatives, neighbors, etc.) than Will & Grace, Ellen, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and "I Kissed a Girl"?

Posted by Bennett Capers on July 10, 2008 at 10:16 AM in Culture | Permalink

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Comments

https://asshathollywood.blogspot.com/2008/07/enough.html

Posted by: BR | Jul 24, 2008 11:00:29 AM

so if a 9 or 10 yr old girl hears this song on radio( which is played a lot) and they repeat it its ok? Where has society gone that this is tolerated?

Posted by: Josh | Jul 16, 2008 9:40:55 PM

I disagree with your characterization of the song. The very fact that she says, "I hope my boyfriend don't mind it" simply reinforces that same-sex relations are inherently transgressive. I think the message of the singer is "I did something wrong, please don't punish me."

Ah yes, she cheated. That's what she did wrong.

Posted by: Asher | Jul 11, 2008 12:52:30 AM

https://youtube.com/watch?v=phl8QjXZcXA&feature=related

Posted by: La Rissa | Jul 11, 2008 12:02:43 AM

There was another song called "I Kissed a Girl" (not sure if the Katy Perry one is a cover or just shares the title), released in 1995 by Jill Sobule. It had some popularity mostly because it created a big controversy and was banned by several radio stations. This extra data point seems to suggest that social norms have changed a lot over the intervening 13 years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jill_Sobule_%28album%29

Posted by: Dave | Jul 10, 2008 11:42:53 AM

I disagree with your characterization of the song. The very fact that she says, "I hope my boyfriend don't mind it" simply reinforces that same-sex relations are inherently transgressive. I think the message of the singer is "I did something wrong, please don't punish me."
If anything, the song works in the way you describe, but in the opposite direction, against LGBT equality.

Posted by: Tim S | Jul 10, 2008 10:56:01 AM

A quick, but maybe trite comment - many times the law just "confirms" what has become a national consensus over many years. Lawrence wasn't necessarily a watershed moment for gay rights as much as a discarding of an almost universally condemned law (and it was pathetic it took the SCt to get rid of it, too). I recognize this is probably an oversimplification of the "Law is inherently conservative" debate, but I think it works well here.

Perhaps you have a better example in the gay marriage cases, I'd have to think about that a bit more.

Posted by: Kevin | Jul 10, 2008 10:41:58 AM

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