Pop-Culture | Posted by Natalia K on 07/26/2010

Female Chauvinist (Caramel Colored) Pig

I’ll admit it. The first time I watched the video for California Gurls, I thought it was pretty cool. Until Katy Perry went crazy with the whipped cream on her boobs. Of course, from the beginning of the video, I thought it was classic “female chauvinist pig” material. But I let it go and took in the sugar. But as I already said, the whipped cream and boobs combo just pushed my limit.

California Girlz

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “female chauvinist pig“, it refers to those women trying to achieve gender equality by being as promiscuous and sexually “liberated” as men are. Not only do they end up objectifying themselves even more, they are unsuccessful at achieving any sort of equality. In fact, it contributes to sexism in our society even more. A female chauvinist pig “owns” her sexuality by being “comfortable” in provocative clothing, when in fact they are just making it easier for men to see them as a sexual object. This female “sexually liberating” theme is so obvious in California Gurls that it becomes soft-porn for men and it makes women (especially Katy Perry) look stupid.

The video takes place in a Candyland, the closest resemblance to California (supposedly). Snoop Dog looks down at all the sweet half-naked women covered in cotton candy, who are microscopic compared to him. This is a clear example of women being portrayed as objects, therefore inferior to men, which is what makes them so great for entertainment. The setting of the video resembles the board game “Candyland”, a form of entertainment. And Snoop Dog is just there to be entertained. Things don’t look too shabby in Candyland for women either; there’s candy everywhere and they are semi-naked all of the time with cherries covering their nipples. Really, life could not be better. It looks like they are taking charge of their land and they do whatever they want for fun; although it is even more fun for Snoop dog who is watching all of this fun caramel stuff from up top. Then there’s the hot finale: Katy Perry places the bottles of whipped cream on her breasts and she attacks everyone with whipped cream, while her breasts are about to pop out.

The hot finale, Katy Perry naked on a cotton candy clown, and the sexual content in the lyrics, make up this soft-porn film for men. It makes your popsicle melt for Christ’s sake, even Katy Perry admits to it! So is this really what women call owning their sexuality?

Katy, when you are playing the part of Snoop dog, and you’re looking down at half-naked men covered in cherries who make your vagina melt…then you can give me a call.

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  • Miriam @ at 11:43 am, July 26th, 2010

    I, too, always found this particular variety of “feminism” very, very sad.

  • Dubsie @ at 3:52 pm, July 26th, 2010

    I think women have totally missed the compromise. We have two different extremes: The pre women’s rights movement, where women didn’t even think about sex, and today, where it’s “normal” for women to think about it, talk about it, and just be vulgar and crude. Dressing in skimpy clothes and having as much sex as you can isn’t liberating, I think it’s both degrading and sad. There are other ways to become liberated that don’t involve all the smut.

  • Melissa @ at 3:59 pm, July 26th, 2010

    Well I don’t think Katy Perry’s aim is to be feminist. Her first hit was “I Kissed a Girl,” for cryin’ out loud. Katy Perry’s career is all about pandering to the patriarchy. Which appears to be pretty lucrative for her, so the ethics of that decision aren’t exactly black-and-white, either.

    Either way, I think it would take some pretty serious logical gymnastics to make any kind of argument that this song and video are “feminist,” or even remotely interested in equality of women.

  • The Raisin Girl @ at 4:07 pm, July 26th, 2010

    There’s a basic problem with this idea of female chauvenist pigs. And that’s that it still entails a double standard. Whereas women who exhibit sexually promiscuous behavior are objectifying themselves even more, men who act the same are not considered self-objectifying. Why is that? And why is this so complicated in the first place? I mean, men have a penis. Women have a vagina. This says nothing about a person except whether they have a penis or a vagina. Cue life. In life, some men like to look at women and think sexy thoughts, and some women like to look at men and think sexy thoughts. I don’t think this is objectification, I think it’s sexuality, and I think all men and women have a right to it without being told they’re setting back a movement.

    On the other hand, this video is pretty dang disgusting. I really don’t like Katy Perry. Her music is banal and superficial, and she has the nerve to blast Lady Gaga for her appropriation of religious symbols in a music video, while Perry herself thinks nothing of using the idea of treating lesbian experimentation like a novelty to gain some bizarre pop singer street cred.

  • Ghouldilocks @ at 4:08 pm, July 26th, 2010

    “A female chauvinist pig “owns” her sexuality by being “comfortable” in provocative clothing, when in fact they are just making it easier for men to see them as a sexual object.”

    Well, gee, that sure sounds an awful lot like slut-shaming to me! My, how “feminist”.

    Grow up.

  • Criss @ at 4:28 pm, July 26th, 2010

    @The Raising Girl: I think the problem here is not that the woman is looking at men and thinking sexy thoughts, it’s that women are making themselves sexy for men — same ol’, same ol’.

    As the post says, if Katy Perry had been in the role of Snoop Dog, looking at half-naked men and thinking sexy thoughts (with her vagina melting), it would be fine. But it’s the women dressing and acting a certain way TO PLEASE MEN, not to please themselves.

    (PS: don’t assume vagina always equals “woman” and penis always equals “man.” “Woman” is an identity, not merely a sexual organ.)

  • Sarah @ at 5:20 pm, July 26th, 2010

    This screams of slut-shaming. (Sorry for using the word slut, but it’s all I could think of)
    Having sex with whoever you want IS liberating. Especially if you’re doing it because YOU enjoy it and YOU think it’s fun.

  • Melissa @ at 6:21 pm, July 26th, 2010

    You’re absolutely right, Sarah.

    BUT, there is a big difference between “having sex with whoever you want” and intentionally playing into a fantasy defined by the patriarchy.

    The kind of having sex with whomever you want that’s liberating involves caring about your own pleasure as much as your partner’s. This is NOT what’s being discussed here.

  • allie @ at 9:21 pm, July 26th, 2010

    i think theres nothing wrong with owning your sexuality and making sure you get yours (orgasim) but i do not think it is “liberating” to have sex with men for money or to be a suger baby, which seems to be the norm with women today who think it is for some reason, i mean really, i thought we were suppose to be independent from men, not have them support us for sex, am i alone? but i dont have a problem really with katy parrys video, i actually like the song a little, there i admit it. and theres nothing wrong with fantasy, i have fantasys of men all the time 24/7. just saying

  • Natalia K @ at 11:13 pm, July 26th, 2010

    I agree with “The Raisin Girl” when you said that men don’t end up objectifying themselves. Think about the “Twilight” phenomenon; Taylor Lautner and his abs are completely objectified on posters in every teenage girls’ bedrooms. They don’t mind it and society doesn’t see it that way either. Oy…sometimes it feels like we don’t have a way out as women :(

  • Roni @ at 2:52 am, July 27th, 2010

    I thought this video was pretty disturbing. Was having Snoop Dog looking down at the board game really even necessary? And when he’s on the beach he’s fully clothed while all the girls are half-naked. Why does this even take place in candy land? The whole video was just ridiculous.

  • Mollie @ at 5:48 am, July 27th, 2010

    I think Melissa had it dead right. It’s all about being eye-candy and pandering to the male gaze. I could kill the person who discovered sex (or more suitably, objectification) sells, honestly.

    It’s all pretty disgusting and everything, this video, but I’m not sure how seriously I can take a woman who, in 90% of her pictures has her mouth agape like a blow-up doll. I don’t know how she interprets these sorts of videos, for all we know she doesn’t know the first thing about feminism. Infact I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet she doesn’t.

  • The Raisin Girl @ at 9:35 am, July 27th, 2010

    “A female chauvinist pig “owns” her sexuality by being “comfortable” in provocative clothing, when in fact they are just making it easier for men to see them as a sexual object.”

    I don’t think your arguments about the music video follow this very well. After all, there IS a difference between being comfortable in provocative clothing and dressing up like a porn stereotype. I mean, first of all, who defines what is provocative? If I don’t find what I’m wearing to be provocative, but you do or some random guy does, how does that reflect my mindset? It doesn’t. I agree that the video is sick, practically a textbook example of women-as-objects. However, I agree with Sarah that some of the assumptions made in this argument just scream slut-shaming.

    And Criss…don’t quibble semantics with me. Once upon a time man and woman meant the same thing as male and female, particularly when referring to biological sex and not gender, which I was. Masculine and feminine are a different story altogether, of course.

    And finally…don’t pounce on me, but say a woman DOES make herself sexy for a man. Does that make her a female chauvenist pig or “not a feminist?” Because while I don’t think women should dress up every day to please men, I think saying that women should NEVER dress to please men kind of negates the idea of female heterosexuality. I don’t think it makes me any less of a feminist if I dress in a slinky black dress because I know my boyfriend likes slinky black dresses. Now, if I hang my worth as a person on whether or not my boyfriend is pleased by the sight of me in a slinky black dress…or if I were to only wear things my boyfriend liked all the time, and never dress for me…that would be quite different.

  • lisa @ at 3:28 pm, July 27th, 2010

    I think videos like this totally diminish the market value of our vaginas and thus gives us less bargaining power with men. Prostitution has its own effect that we must understand.

    We must help women understand the economics of their vagina so they can better understand asset management.

  • Garen @ at 4:56 pm, July 27th, 2010

    @The Raisin Girl

    You’ve got it in one – you articulated my feelings about this video and the arguments that come with it perfectly.

    But I have to say, this video IS really creepy. It’s not even portrayed as some cheesy war between the sexes or a battle, it’s just Snoop Dogg sitting there and ruling over the women. And it always makes me really uncomfortable when some people are wearing full clothing while others are writhing around half-naked :/

    The whole music video thing is all very strange and weird and complicated; for example, Rihanna’s Te Amo. Full of sexual imagery, a lot of it lesbian. is she doing because she’s comfortable with that or because she wants to sell records? Same with Beyonce, Lady GaGa et cetera.

    If Katy Perry came out to defend her video, she might argue that she’s just very comfortable with her body and her sexuality and that it’s all just fun and games, but… bleurgh.

    And I’m sorry, but was anyone else really freaked out when her breasts just started ejaculating?! It was… disturbing. Somehow, it felt like they were mixing sex and the breastfeeding part and it was just… horrible. I generally don’t like the objectification of breasts, but that took the biscuit, as one might say from my corner of the UK.

  • brenda @ at 6:40 pm, July 27th, 2010

    I agree with lisa, the reason we should be concerned with other women’s sexuality is because it affects our social position in relation to men. Men gain power with women by getting and producing what we want.

    The goal of feminism is to obtain power and control over the things which we are able to be dependent on men for while creating the options and choices that allow us to depend on men when we want to without explicitly needing them and thus “independence”. This combined with sexual barganing power will allow us to dominate and control men.

    We must do this while asserting strong property rights over our bodies and the bodies of children both pre and post conception. If we can maintain control over the things we are able to get from men while able to do so for ourselves while also having control over sexual property and the property of reproduction itself we will be able to have more social, economic and sexual power than men and thus dominate and control them in entirety.

    The whole point is to have men need us more than we need them while establishing control over men’s bodies and the fruits of its labor i.e. force them to continue to provide to us outside of marriage and after divorce under threat of jail. Then and only then can the matriarchy be completed.

    We have accomplished much if not all of this but maintaining sole control over sex, reproduction and children will always be the key to domination over men politically, economically Nd socially.

  • GlenCoco @ at 1:52 am, July 28th, 2010

    This post made me uncomfortable, because who’s to say that Katy Perry isn’t acting the way she is because she wants to take charge of her own sexuality? I don’t see anything wrong with being comfortable with your sexuality to the point that you’re okay with expressing it. (I’m with you 100% on the Snoop Dogg thing, though.)

  • Mariah @ at 5:50 am, July 28th, 2010

    When I first saw this video, I felt it just screamed, “look at me I’m pretty and I’m here for your consumption!!!”
    It’s obvious this video isn’t meant to be “feminist” but I think the point is that so many young women look up to Katy Perry and women like her, and some people feel there are better options.

    The last paragraph in this post really disappointed me, I thought the one thing most feminists could agree on was that feminism was about stopping patriarchy and pushing for equality, not establishing a matriarchy and having our turn at being the oppressors ( but I suppose if one likes S.C.U.M. They wouldn’t agree).

    I also feel like the description of a female chauvinist pig was an oversimplification with poor word choice. I would recommend the book Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy for a more comprehensive view into the complicated term (it also addresses “double standards”) It’s a great read and very funny.

  • Brenna @ at 7:51 am, July 28th, 2010

    Ahh, god. I almost completely agree. This music video really pissed me off. There’s a difference between owning your sexuality, and the content of that video. Just saying, Katy Perry. >.<

  • Brenna @ at 8:01 am, July 28th, 2010

    P.S.
    I think I should make myself a little clearer. Haha.

    I agree with the Snoop Dogg thing. That, plus the content of the video, pretty much makes for your usual women-as-objects scenario. Sick. I mean, that was pretty obvious simply because Snoop was sitting there.

    HOWEVER, it’s totally possible to own your sexuality. I wouldn’t say she was doing that here, but it’s possible. And frankly, I believe the really great feminists can totally rock that. It’s all about the state of mind.

  • The Raisin Girl @ at 10:58 am, July 28th, 2010

    I’m not sure the idea of Katy Perry watching a bunch of men dance around while her vagina melts is “women taking their turn as the oppressors.” I think it’s supposed to symbolize the male gaze no longer being the only gaze, and male sexuality and fantasy no longer being the only sexuality or fantasy. On the other hand, I think that the obvious interpretation of such a music video would be the objectification of men. Which isn’t any healthier than the objectification of women.

    I’m surprised it took the music video to cause so much discussion and controversy. I mean, the song itself is pretty bad. The lyrics homogenize the women of an entire state while simultaneously implying that all other women are inferior to these sex kitten goddesses.

  • Danielle @ at 3:53 pm, July 28th, 2010

    I don’t like this video AT ALL. Being confident (with your body AND sexuality) is a good thing, but the message in this video is that California girls are reverred for their “beauty” and ability to “make your popsicle melt.”

    I’m sorry, but that DOES objectify women. I know it’s part of a horrible double standard (i.e. because men can act promiscuous without being objectified), but that’s how I see it. When men see this video, many of them are not going to be thinking how fierce and confident these women are, they’re going to be fixated on Perry’s “spray-can boobs.”

    I think there’s a difference between tasteful and raunchy sexual liberation . . .

  • solia @ at 4:57 pm, July 28th, 2010

    @mariah “I would recommend the book Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy for a more comprehensive view into the complicated term (it also addresses “double standards”

    Yes, I just read an article about men prefering women to show modesty in their clothing because they feel women can all to often be implicitly sexual in their way of dress and it makes men uncomfortable and struggle with seeing her as a person rather than as sex object.

    I think women need to respect men if they say they feel we are implicitly sexual toward them by way of our dress. How do we expect men to not be implicily sexual toward women in return when we tell them what feels uncomfortable. Believe it or not men get resentful towards women when our sexuality becomes part of the female public identity and is put in mens faces all the time…

    One guy said “I want to respect women and have to be subjected to sex at the same time” “I want to feel like a person toward her and not see her in relation to sex in my every day interactions with women, esspecially at work.”

    So how is it that what women feel is implicily sexual toward us and affects us personally, emotionally or physically in an uncomfortable and unwanted sexual fashion is classified as sexual harrasment but when men tell us what they feel affects them likewise is not respected AT ALL.

    Women should have a responsibility to listen to mens feelings. It is not up to us to define to men what they precieve as implicitly sexual and uncomfortable no matter how miniacule our actions or revealing clothing seems to be to us.

  • solia @ at 5:06 pm, July 28th, 2010

    Oh and @brenda.. I’m very aware of “gender feminists” like you and see your type of feminism as the enemy. It is unfortunate that women like you have managed to pass biased laws against men that have made things worse between us.

    It’s women like you who have caused a lot of hate and anger from men and why there are now so many men’s and father’s rights activists and blogs. I love men and don’t see things as about control and power. We are supposed to compliment the other and fit together. Women like you have done a lot of damage. Christina Hoff Sommers is right about you! It makes me so angry!

  • Nadia D @ at 3:17 pm, July 29th, 2010

    I agree with you. There’s a difference between being comfortable in your skin and your own sexuality (see: Erykah Badu in “Window Seat”, amazing video; and Lady Gaga sometimes?) and “liberating” yourself by pleasing the patriarchy.

    I mean, I think I might’ve enjoyed this video if Snoop Dogg wasn’t sitting there watching over them like some creep (not calling him a creep, just looked creepy) and maybe if Katy Perry didn’t treat lesbian experimentation as a novelty to earn some credibility…

    But that’s just my two cents.

  • Roxy @ at 9:48 pm, July 30th, 2010

    @the person who wrote this article:

    Get your fucking facts right. You wanna talk about the ~plot of this video? Ok. Yeah, Snoop Dogg aka ~Sugar Daddy~ trapped those girls in the game, in Candyland. They’re trying to escape. While he watches, Katy goes and saves all the other girls. By herself. Then, in the end, she fucking fights Snoop and his army of …gummy bears and kills all of them. With. her. Whipped cream shotting boobs.
    As silly as the thematic of this video may be, I guess you failed to see the ‘message’ behind it. Katy and the other girls destroyed Snoop’s army and in the end, he is buried in the sand unable to move while they celebrate around him. I guess we know who won this one.

    “The hot finale, Katy Perry naked on a cotton candy clown, and the sexual content in the lyrics, make up this soft-porn film for men. It makes your popsicle melt for Christ’s sake, even Katy Perry admits to it! So is this really what women call owning their sexuality?”

    And look, Katy is not trying to be a feminist or sell the image of an ~unusual person. She’s a pop artist. She flaunts her body, she wears overly sexual outfits, yes. So people should cover themselves up in order to own their sexuality? Tell that to Cherrie Currie and her performances in lingerie. Or even Lady fucking Gaga for that matter. Doesn’t everybody think she’s oh so powerful? Well, Katy does what she’s comfortable with. And it’s not only to entertain men, I myself am very entertained by what she wears.

    “Katy, when you are playing the part of Snoop dog, and you’re looking down at half-naked men covered in cherries who make your vagina melt…then you can give me a call.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltGgCODsTQc 3:30. Looking down at half-naked men who make her vagina melt.

    @Melissa

    “Katy Perry’s career is all about pandering to the patriarchy.”
    Wow, you clearly know a lot about her. Which songs by her have you heard, I Kissed A Girl and California Gurls? Yeah, they don’t say a lot about her.

    I think the fact that she’s made it so far ON HER OWN just proves that she’s NOT pandering to the patriarchy. What I like about Katy Perry is that she doesn’t try to be badass by dressing like a guy or doing what guys do. You can see that in her song One Of The Boys. It might give you a wrong impression at first, as the chorus goes “I just wanna be one of the girls, pretty in pearls”, but hey, that song is not about gender equality. It’s about wanting to be seen as who she is. Choosing guitar over ballet, belching the alphabet and all that.
    Or maybe Mannequin. “You’re not a man, you’re just a mannequin.” or Hot N Cold, have you heard that one? She’s not taking shit from that guy. She’s telling him to either make up his mind, or she’s out.

    She’s not making herself inferior to please anyone. Not in her personal life, and not in her career. She’s a confident, empowered woman who’s success happened because of hard work, and talent. Don’t judge a book by its cover. The fact that she wears clothes that expose her body does not mean she’s “pandering to the patriarchy”. Go blame someone else now.

    I didn’t even bother reading the other comments. I didn’t see anyone mentioning Fergie’s “Fergalicious” video either. If you wanna play the blaming game, that is definitely much more offensive to women.

    Katy’s not out there to destroy the social order or contribute to patriarchy, people. Get to know an artist better before you diss them;

  • ellie @ at 10:39 am, July 31st, 2010

    @Roxy

    I think it’s interesting (sad?) that you talk like you know her…that’s celebrity for you. She made it all on her own? How exactly do you know that? And your interpretation is not FACT, my dear.

  • Roxy @ at 7:54 pm, July 31st, 2010

    Everything I said above is not my interpretation, it IS fact taken from many interviews.
    Katy wasn’t ‘discovered’ by anybody, she left her strict house and religious parents, moved to LA to be ‘in the scene’ and kept trying to get signed by a label, until she got a record deal. It was her, not somebody else. And as for the video, it’s not my interpretation either, it’s exactly what happens in it, and you can watch the making of California Gurls to see it too.

    If you know anything about Katy Perry, you know she’s nothing like the ‘chauvinist pig’ that is portrayed in this article. So there.

  • K8 AH @ at 5:33 pm, August 6th, 2010

    Yes to this post!!! I actually just saw it this video for the first time today and actually visited the Fbomb today to see what people were saying about it. Despite being in a band myself I tend to be dreadfully behind the times when it comes to current pop music… I have to admit the video made me really nauseous. “Katy, when you are playing the part of Snoop dog, and you’re looking down at half-naked men covered in cherries who make your vagina melt…then you can give me a call.” That kind of sums it up for me. The truth is that sex sells and everyone has a different opinion about what is or is not tasteful. I guess in our band if we are attempting some kind of sex appeal, we try to keep it equal…

  • K8 AH @ at 5:38 pm, August 6th, 2010

    Also, we don’t really take it seriously and kind of make fun of ourselves and the whole “sex sells” concept in the process. Which I am hoping is what Katy Perry was doing… The whole time I was watching the video I was thinking to myself, “This is a joke right? She thinks this is funny, right?” Someone please tell me she is making fun of how over sexualized female pop stars are!!!!

  • K8 AH @ at 5:47 pm, August 6th, 2010

    In the comments above, “Brenda” is clearly “Ryan”. Just say’n…

  • Noelle @ at 10:09 pm, August 9th, 2010

    If the video had cut out Snoop Dogg and was just Katy and the girls having fun in Candyland in their skimpy clothes, I would have simply rolled my eyes at the over-the-top sexuality but it wouldn’t have creeped me out or offended me. The whole “Man using woman as board game piece” thing though… Eeyew! Just eeyew!

  • Elyx @ at 7:55 am, August 21st, 2010

    I think it all boils down to commercialism. The ideal “women’s liberation” thinking have been misused and hijacked by greedy advertisers and businessmen over the years. I now see the “modern woman” as a unwitting victim of this psychological scam perpetrated by advertisers i.e. debt-ridden psychotic shopaholics are now a common sight.

  • Amber Reese @ at 5:29 pm, February 2nd, 2011

    I agree. So glad that I found this site on Yahoo :) I’m going to bookmark it now.

    - Amber

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