Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lance Bass: I Kissed A Girl And I Liked It

Am I the only one that had a problem with a gay man doing a traditional ballroom dance to I Kissed A Girl and I Liked It?  Ballroom is all about conforming to traditional gender norms and while this  was meant to be tongue in cheek, what did it really accomplish but to create Lance as the deviant joke in the midst of a performance lalapalooza of gender and sexuality?

He confidently led Lacey around the dance floor, just like a "real man".  There was nothing progressive or challenging about this except to show that a gay guy could "play it straight" for the sake of a little publicity. It screamed look at me, I can still be masculine watch me twirl this woman around and twist my hips like I want to fuck her.  Everyone knows there is nothing more masculine, or manly on the planet than fucking a woman. 

When it came to the line in the song, I kissed a girl just to try it,  hope my boyfriend don't mind it, something inside me cringed terribly.  In the context of ballroom with Lance dancing, what it really means is that his gay identity is the experimental joke and that heterosexuality is what he was meant to express.  I hated this on so  many levels because all it did was affirm that hetero is natural and good and homosexuality is deviant and wrong.  I further disliked it because it implied that masculinity is something that could be reclaimed through the oppression of women.

Just when I thought that I could not be more ill at this little performance it came to an abrupt end with Lance putting on lipstick.  Oh, Yeah conversion temporary, I'm still gay, watch me go all femme right before your eyes.  This is followed by Tom Bergeron asking if "Lance had any lip trauma"? Yeah massive disgust. It's like a parent saying eat your vegetables they're good for you....translation: see pussy isn't that bad, you weren't ruined for life. Now finish up that pussy boy, and you'll be strong just  like Popeye.

I really wish Dancing With The Stars had the courage to allow Lance to have a male dance partner.  Why would that have been so threatening? Oh right I know, ballroom needs to be traditional, heaven forbid we deconstruct sexuality and gender norms on primetime television.  It certainly wouldn't be wholesome if we challenged the idea that dancing is only worth watching when we bring a whole host of cultural ideas to it.

21 comments:

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

What about Lance doing it? Shouldn't he be called a colluder?

Renee said...

Yes Kitty you are right. He should be called a colluder.

Renee said...
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Jenn said...

Ugh. I mean, I couldn't really articulate what was so wrong with it, but it was wrong. Really wrong. I was appalled.

But, then again, I was appalled when nobody even fielded the question, "uh, why isn't Lance dancing with another dude"? Ballroom dancing is supposed to be many things, but mostly a limited performance of sexuality and romance. Limiting it to traditional male/female parters and rigidly enforcing roles for the dancers (and outfits, don't get me started on the outfits), then using it to mock homosexuality, simply to prove that there is something more damaging than enforcing rigid gender roles, is just appalling.

In a nut-shell: I don't watch much television, this is why. But I'm not going to blame Lance for it. As an outed man, he probably feels a bit precarious. He knows he's on thin ice, and that even if he acts normal he's still the butt of the joke, so just make yourself a fool before they make one of you. The real villain in this piece is society, and the asinine media who can't stomach homosexuality unless it's the butt of the joke.

dollyspeaks said...

The song itself "I Kissed a Girl" isn't really pro LGBT either. I mean, Kate Perry basically is saying that homosexuality is just for a drunk night, it's just an experiment, and heterosexuality reigns. I mean, even in the music video, all we have are bodies of women gyrating in skimpy, frilly lingerie, not intended to arouse female viewers, but obviously male ones.

For a gay man to dance to this song, especially as you said as if he wanted to fuck the woman, makes no sense.

AR said...

I disagree, Dollyspeaks. Only in a worldview that allows for no gray areas in regards to sexual orientation does the song seem problematic. If you accept the existence of "mostly straight" people, the events of the song are entirely plausible and realistic.

And since many people here express offense at people speaking for others, why don't we not do the same to Kate Perry by analyzing what she "basically" said instead of what she actually say: "Someone performs a sexual act which they would not have done without being under the influence of an inhibition-relaxing drug. They are conflicted about having done so, and hope their existing romantic partner is not bothered by it." Where's the offense?

Erika said...

AR: There are many ways to express a "mostly-straight" sexual orientation without being grossly heteronormative and sexist.

Treating kissing girls as shocking and kinky and scandalous, something that can only be done while drunk; treating other women like "experimental games"; pandering to male fantasies of bisexuality with that sly, winking little line "hope my boyfriend don't mind it", while emphasizing that she would clearly never, ever leave her boyfriend for a mere woman...

Katy Perry wants all the fun and none of the oppression--isn't it lucky for her that she has that choice.

(And to underscore the fact Katy Perry only thinks that kissing someone of the same gender is only okay when it's two pretty girls doing nothing more than kissing and certainly never two boys, check out "UR So Gay": http://www.metrolyrics.com/ur-so-gay-lyrics-katy-perry.html )

AR said...
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AR said...

Oh, I'm sure Kate Perry is sexist and heteronormative, and the intent behind the song may also have been, but I wasn't talking about either of those things; I was talking about the song itself, which I think has a non-offensive interpretation.

Personally, I try to adhere to the principle of "Be conservative in what you do, but liberal in what you accept." Your arguments are good reasons for me not to write a song like this, but as for what someone else has written, if there's a reasonable, non-offensive interpretation, that's the interpretation I take.

Renee said...

@AR if there's a reasonable, non-offensive interpretation, that's the interpretation I take.

Of course that is a position that you can afford to take because you are not part of the group that is being othered. I have read many critiques on this song from lesbian and bi women and I completely agree it is ridiculously voyeuristic and furthermore is based in performing for the male gaze.

AR said...

On what grounds do you say that I'm not part of that group?

Renee said...

@AR yes an assumption on my part, however it is my position that usually when people advocate this sort of position in a clear case of othering they are not part of the marginalized group. If I am wrong then I apologize.

AR said...

It's not the assumption about my group status that is most bothersome, but the implicit accusation of hypocrisy. When I say I take the most charitable interpretation, I mean it in all cases, not only when my group is attacked, but even in those in which the target is me as an individual.

Indeed, this outlook started at the individual level, based on my observation of many interpersonal conflicts that could have been completely avoided by granting the benefit of the doubt, including many between my parents. Expanding the concept to higher social levels seemed natural.

Indeed, it's application for ensuring smooth communications is evident in the origin of the particular phrasing I use, which is in Internet protocol. That philosophy is a significant part of the reason for the current operational state of that vast and complicated aggregation of millions of devices running on hundreds of different standards. How much more essential, then, is such tolerance for the smooth operation of billions of people, with just as many modes of thought.

AR said...

Indeed, I need to watch how I start consecutive paragraphs, lest I become repetitive.

Renee said...

@AR I think that I am following you...It seems that you are advocating the turn the other cheek philosophy. I simply do not see this as progressive at all. How many times have marginalized bodies turned the other cheek only to have the same crimes and verbal assaults aimed at them. No I believe in speaking truth to power on all occasions. Giving the benefit of the doubt is encouraging people to live their privilege and they will not do so on my back. A lot of bigotry today is not expressed explicitly giving the opportunity to the privileged body to continually display their biases. Not with me. If I feel it is racist, homophobic, sexist etc I deem it part of my social responsibility to speak out against it. To do otherwise is to enable the system of injustice.

AR said...

I don't think my position constitutes a turn the other cheek philosophy, but merely an effort to make sure that I have actually been slapped before doing otherwise. There is still enough bigotry in the world for someone with my threshold for offensiveness to be very offended.

Even so, I can see what you're saying about the non-explicitness of some bigotry. I guess anyone trying for social change has to draw their own line in the sand.

Jenn said...

AR -

I'm a lesbian with bisexual leanings, and I absolutely think that the song is offensive. It diminishes the agony of being an Other in a heteronormative world and conceals it with experimentation by young straight girls to titillate. The very fact that the song is popular is all the evidence you need to assume that the song is not about normalizing experimentation and acceptance of how vague sexuality might be--although it can be taken that way by a more progressive listener--it's about producing boners.

It's a disgusting feeling to know that after I'm outed or I out myself, some men get really excited, and I can feel that the thought of me kissing and showing affection with another woman is arousing to them. My life and loves are so much more than masturbation fodder. It also hurts because I know that because I'm a "lipstick lesbian" (whatever the hell that means), my sexuality is acceptable. If I stopped shaving my legs and I wasn't petite, my sexuality would be disgusting, because it doesn't give men a hard-on.

The point is that even when society talks about love or displays of affection between two women, the male gaze is still there, and still more important than the humanity of the lovers. Even though there is no man there, we are still objectified.

The song pisses me off beyond all words. My life is so much more than boner fodder, especially since most of the time I have nothing to do with men in that context, and I don't want to.

Anonymous said...

The song is about a heterosexual experimenting with her sexuality and kissing another female. Kate Perry has a boyfriend, she isn't a lesbian, nor is the song meant for lesbians. I'm hetero but I have much respect for any lifestyle choice someone makes whether it's bi, open, lesbian, gay, hetero, threesomes, swinging, etc. If it doesn't step on anyone else's right to live their life freely, more power to you. Live and let live.

I thought it was actually cute that Lance Bass treated the song as if it was sung from his point of view and that he hoped his boyfriend wouldn't mind it that he kissed a girl... experimenting.

Anonymous said...

Wow...you people are really sad. You think Lance Bass was really concerned with pushing the cause of all homos? That is a bit presumtuous. Surely Warren Sapp isn't championing the collective cause of every black male, or every hetero. Wow...you're mind-boggling.

Anonymous said...

hey.
howsabout we don't be talkin crap bout ma boi lance, huh?
he don't deserve that.

to y'all hatErz, watch out...

Anonymous said...

I always hated the lyrics of that song and found them offensive, but the beat is youthful and fun. And the lyrics are surely also tongue-in-cheek with Lance's openness about being gay. I bet he actually liked the song choice for that very reason. Also- ever consider that maybe he wasn't pushing a cause, or representing any cause, but just pairing up with someone who, like himself, just might want to WIN. Tha's all!