Katy Perry controversy & modern Sesame Street

There was a bit of hubbub recently regarding Katy Perry and her musical skit on Sesame Street‘s being pulled before it could air. The reason cited appears to be a complaint about her exposure – her cleavage was showing on a children’s show. While I am not a fan of Perry’s and prefer not to draw more attention to all of it, it is only fair to show the video.

It honestly is not that bad. It could be loads worse. However, some parent board deemed the skit inappropriate for children due to the sight of Perry’s bosom. Defenders are quick to lash out, with even my own cousin saying:

Do you let your kids watch figure skating or The Little Mermaid? They are going to see more cleavage and skin with either one of those then they would in this video. Preschoolers are not going to notice cleavage unless it’s pointed out to them, all they are going to… notice is Elmo and the catchy music. Elementary school and middle school aged girls are wearing booty shorts to school!! Why are people going on about this video?? Why are we so embarrassed of the human body?

Saturday Night Live, recently hosted by Amy Poehler, aired a skit with a similar sentiment. It also features Perry.

Click this link because Hulu embeds don’t work on WordPress. [Updated: Now the link actually goes to the sketch I wanted you to see.]

So there you have it. It is a complaint about the human body. Or is it? One thing I wonder is firstly why they chose such an outfit for Perry considering the types of people they would potentially be facing, and another wonder is why it seems so difficult to call her back in to shoot the skit again in garb that would be considered less offensive. Also, in this day and age, digitally inserting more clothing on top of her should not prove extremely difficult. It makes me wonder if there is possibly more to it than mammary concerns.

Katy Perry is a hot item these days. Not only has she had huge success on the music charts but she made news just by dating Russell Brand. Sesame Street‘s wanting her on the show only makes sense, especially given some of their more recent parody skits in attempt to be more relevant. Why was there no attempt to fix the skit and put it back on the show? Why is Perry made out to be a victim based on her natural endowment?

Honestly, I think the parent group or groups involved just do not like her. Perry is involved in music and videos that feature heavy sexualization of her – again, with heavy focus on her boobs. I can understand why some parents may not appreciate that. While other potentially questionable stars have appeared on Sesame Street, Perry offered them a very easy out with that outfit. The skit was pulled and children were saved from exposure to the pop singer. And do not think that Perry is so innocent. Likely at the behest of her publicists, the singer is milking this issue for all it is worth. Notice the video above? That is from the Katy Perry YouTube page. Then there is the Saturday Night Live skit. I wonder how many interviews she will do because of this.

My take? I see no problem with removing the skit from Sesame Street, but not for the reasons cited. I have no problem with her outfit. I have no problem with her sexualization in music. I just think that Perry is a vapid character and her music incredibly uninteresting. Why expose kids to that? Why bring them up in this consumer culture appreciating that of all things? The less Perry the better.

And because I’m a jerk, here’s a little bit of crude truth: While they could easily shoot the skit over again in a different outfit, Perry is virtually unrecognizable with her breasts covered – they are pretty much her defining characteristic, the main reason she has male fans, and they tend to be the focal point of her music videos and virtually all of her media coverage.

*   *   *

Oh, and how has Sesame Street tried to remain relevant? Parodies of popular adult shows. This way kids learn lessons and parents get an extra level of amusement.

Mad Men

True Blood

Desperate Housewives (extra subversive in that one plant is dry and depends on the gardener to fix that problem…)

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About Gospel X

I am a major mediaphile as well as a social researcher. My ultimate belief is that the media can be used to teach children prosocial behaviors and teach adults how to access paradigms. And I think that Mega Man is an amazing example of proteanism. Add me on Google : https://plus.google.com/u/0/113795848855477334599

Posted on September 27, 2010, in censorship, culture, television, video and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Perry seems smart at promoting herself from every angle. She is getting more ‘exposure’ as the victim in this case than she would have had the scene been allowed to air.

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