Catfight! Out & Gawker Face Off Over Katy Perry

There’s a gay media/blogger clusterfuck pile-on going on over Out editor Aaron Hicklin’s decision to put Katy Perry of “I Kissed a Girl” fame on the cover of his Out 100 list — and we want in. Because you’re more interested in bitchy comments than the long-drawn out cold war leading up to them, here’s a quick recap of story so far:

Every year, Out makes a list of a hundred or so people who they deem to be the most important gays in the village and make them dress up in silly costumes so as to sell a lot of magazines. [Full Disclosure: Queerty’s David Hauslaib appeared on here two Out 100s ago.] This year, Hicklin put Perry on a chair surrounded by honest-to-goodness homos Gus Van Sant, Sam Sparro and Cheyenne Jackson on the cover. The problem is, that strictly speaking, kissing a girl one time and making an incredibly popular song about it, does not get you a gay card, according to Richard Lawson of Gawker. He penned a manifesto in which he says:

Her song “I Kissed a Girl” is a paean to girls getting drunk and sucking mug with other girls while their boyfriends watch. I don’t want to sound uppity, but it’s kind of a shitty song with a shitty message—that cutesy fake homosexuality is silly fun and good for attracting boys. So it pisses me off a bit that she’s on the cover of Out magazine’s “Out 100” issue this month. Why is this tittering dykesploitationist worthy of gay hero status?


Today, over on Popnography [More Full Disclosure: Your editor has written for Popnog about a bazillion times, but only about frivolous things like Rachel Maddow, Janet Jackson and gay marriage], Hicklin fires off a few rounds of his own in a post titled “Dear Gawker, Kiss Off” :

Like Madonna, as the heated reaction to Lawson’s post (15,000+ views) suggests, Perry is exactly the kind of musician who throws up a mirror to our conflicted, puritanical attitude to sex and sexuality. Thus both gay and Evangelical puritans alike consider her a menace because she doesn’t play the game they need her to; she thinks kissing a girl is fun, but not life-changing, earth-shattering, or worth feeling guilty about, and that won’t wash with today’s separatists. For many of us that kind of uncomplicated attitude is a breath of fresh air. For Lawson, weird punctuation and all, it came down to this: “In this world, at this time. It seems awfully… empty to me.”

Ha ha! Aaron Hicklin knows how to use an ellipsis and Richard Lawson doesn’t! Score one for the post-gays. Unfortunately, Hicklin’s argument boils down to something along the lines of ‘It’s a fucking pop song, asswipe, get over it”, which is not exactly the sort of rigorous use of logic Hicklin’s English professor’s would approve of. “Newsflash: pop music is often awfully empty, and people are always complaining about it” is a sort of weak argument for putting someone on the cover of the Big Gay magazine’s Big Gay Issue.

Queerty’s take on this, The Most Pressing Issue In The World? Who cares?

Lawson acts like the inclusion of Perry is some grand betrayal, when in reality, Out‘s been putting hetero’s on the cover long before Hicklin took over. Magazines are in the business of making money and for some reason gay people seem to buy more gay magazines when straight people are on the cover. At least now, Hicklin’s picking interesting folks like Pete Wentz and Perry. Anybody who has a statement from Focus on the Family made about how they’re sending a “high-profile message to young women and men that our sexuality is a malleable commodity that can be reshaped at will” is plenty enough gay for us.

Do you have to be a guy who sucks cock or a girl who eats muff to be part of the queer community? If that’s our standard, then we’re saying screwed up messes like Ted Haggard are closer to our community than all the straight folks who came out to march with us in New York and L.A. last night–which is stupid and self-defeating.

If anything, the gay community needs more allies, not less. The only shibboleth needed to gain entry to the rainbow land of fagdom should be a willingness to be an ally in the fight to open people’s minds about sexuality and gender. By that token, Katy Perry has every right to stand with a bunch of ‘mo’s on the cover of Out.

Lawson thinks he’s being a good soldier for the gay cause, but forgets that we are a minority. He’s absolutely right that now is a unique and pivotal time in the gay movement, but fails to see that what makes it unique is that the values we’ve been espousing for years are finally percolating into the mainstream of America. Katy Perry is as good a reflection of that as anyone.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled revolution.

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42 Comments

  • seitan-on-a-stick

    OUT is tres boring!

  • ChristopherM

    Katy is a good reflection of that, but what kind of message is it sending to have three gay white guys on the cover, one pussy-teasing straight girl, and zero actual lesbians? I’m thrilled to have allies, but not at the expense of actual people who have kissed a girl and, oh I don’t know, got fired for it.

  • DairyQueen

    I agree, why is she on the cover for putting out a bad pop song about being a fake lesbian? I shouldn’t care because OUT magazine is so 1990’s.

  • Donley

    It would have been like if they gave t.A.T.u. the cover when they were running around America sucking face. I like Katy’s music, but don’t understand the reason for the cover.

  • chgo921

    I’m all for showing love to our straight/pansexual supporters. I also don’t have a problem with Out putting non-gay allies on the cover.

    But based on Hicklin’s response, he’s making a misguided argument. Instead of promoting Perry’s cover on the basis that she’s a supporter of the community, no matter how tenuous that support may be, he’s making the case that a tortuous pop song that’s pissed off both the religious right and the gay community makes her worthy of the cover. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a magazine called OUT should celebrate people who are OUT and PROUD — as well as those people who support us in that endeavor. Unless Perry’s inclusion is based on support of the community I don’t know why should is worthy.

  • Jon92027

    Put Rachel Maddow on the cover instead

  • Tin Tin

    gotta agree with Richard on this one. This reeks of desperation on Out’s behalf ,clearly a move to sell units, rather than acknowledge TRUE GLBT people making a difference…of whom there are PLENTY who I’m sure would LOVE to be on the cover.

    The whole “I just wanna dance” line of Aaron’s is pretty pathetic if you ask me. Way to act the stereotype dude

  • Keith

    Well she did a have a guy dressed up in drag as her maid of honor in her Hot and Cold (whatever that song is) video. I agree she shouldn’t be on the cover. I think Rachel Maddow should have been. I think Out was pandering to Katy’s fan base to sell magazines

  • Tin Tin

    ps. Japhy did you really type these words??!?!

    “At least now, Hicklin’s picking interesting folks like Pete Wentz and Perry.”

  • sam

    Richard brought up (although you didn’t) the fact that Perry also wrote a song called “Ur So Gay” about an ex-boyfriend she deems gay because he’s not 100% heteronormative in his actions. Sure, it’s kind of jokey, or whatever, but if it’s not offensive, it’s certainly unhelpful to The Cause. A song celebrating faux-lesbianism for the titillation of straight guys shouldn’t be enough to get you on the cover of a prominent LGBT mag. It’s a stupid song with a stupid message, and she shouldn’t be celebrated for it.

  • Japhy Grant

    @Tin Tin: I should have written “nominally interesting”, it’s true.

  • RoberT

    Gawker is right on this one. Out — and Queerty — are wrong. Katy Perry sucks ass in a bad way.

  • fredo777

    Ugh.

    I hate that fuckin’ song for the very reasons pointed out in their reply to this nonsense.

    Tee hee…I made out with a chick to show how naughty I am but I’m still hetero so I have to mention my boyfriend.

    I won’t even mention my feelings on the song “Ur So Gay”.

    Lame. No reason to put her on the cover of OUT, whatsoever.

  • Matt

    They all suck. I mean besides wearing short blue jeans shorts and singing in Xanadu what has Cheyenne Jackson been doing for the gays. I don’t think I saw him at the protest last night.

  • Bolorin

    Perry is not supporting our community nor an ally of our community, she is a vapid pop singer who is trying to rake in money. I thought are community was trying to get people to stop using “that’s so gay” or “ur so gay” because it is anit-gay. Did we forget the GLSEN’s PSAs with Hilary Duffy and Wanda Sykes? I agree where is Rachel Maddow on the cover? Where is the diversity on the cover? One thing we do lack in gay media is descent, fully representive of diversity magazine in our culture.

  • DRAY

    shibboleth! Now you’re making go look up words?

  • The Gay Numbers

    You know her song would be a great mirror if it were not itself just another form of orthodoxy. Gawker mostly gets it right. This is saying a lot for me because I think often Gawker is not the place for media criticism. This subject matters because its the stereotypes that kill us when it comes to the general mostly ignorant public. Never forget that most people do not know anyone gay. They think its choice. What does this song tell them?

  • Allen

    I love that she’s on the cover … because it’s pissing ALL OF YOU OFF. :D

  • Roger

    I read that Popnog post, too. Rachel Maddow was photographed for the issue, but sounds like she wasn’t able to make it to the cover shoot. I happen to like Katy Perry (Ur So Gay included), but regardless of her merit, it’s a magazine folks, not HRC or GLAAD (though come to think of it, didn’t GLAAD fete Jennifer Aniston a few years back)

  • fredo777

    @Roger:

    Well, when Jennifer Aniston makes a song or statement the likes of this one, I’ll remember to get all indignant then, too.

    ;P

  • Rob

    Complaining about this is really making Out magazine more relevant than it has any right to be. It’s nothing more than fluff, you can literally go through entire issues without seeing any people of color, and they’re more concerned with putting straight guys on the cover than doing anything for gays. Once they ran that cover with Pete Wentz saying “Yeah, I am a fag”, I was pretty much over them.

  • Justin Allen

    Out really is nothing more than a idiots gossip guide. Sadly, I have a subscription, but only because it was a gift.

  • Allen

    @Justin Allen:

    Sure, it was. You keep telling yourself that.

    LOL!

  • Alexa

    Yes, I know in the great scheme of things this is a non-event, but it pisses me off that they chose a silly, minimally talented fake bisexual as their lone covergirl AND their musician of the year. Frankly, it’s a slap in the face to real bisexuals, lesbians and musicians everywhere.

  • DaVinci

    Rob, what was the last issue you went through and didn’t see anyone of color? I agree that representation is a problem but I’ve seen Out make some decent inroads of late. It’s a shame you’re so dismissive, but I guess if you name all of the issues in 2008 with no-one of color, that will prove your point?

  • Paul Raposo

    Ms. Perry has stated in an interview that she has never kissed a girl before and has no plans to.

  • John McGovern

    I have to say that I’m all for straight people, and they should be put on the cover of OUT if they deserve it. But to give it to Katy Perry, who has a song “Ur So Gay” and perpetuates this idea that girls kissing girls is a slap in the face to so many people who actually fought for homosexuality. It’s disturbing that OUT would decide to Katy on the cover, when her music clearly undercuts any kind of pride for gay people. I’ve never written on this site, but you guys have got it so wrong.

  • Strepsi

    Replace Katy with RACHEL MADDOW IN A WHITE TUXEDO! And for god’s sakes, why is Cheyenne wearing pants? The man has thighs of steel! You want to sell some mags, let’s see some CHEYENNE IN HOTPANTS!

  • afrolito

    I could’nt care less about Katy Perry or that horrific song of hers.
    What that cover really illustrates, is that the faces of the gay community are still WHITE.

  • Kid A

    Fuck Katy Perry. I don’t get why even my queer friends like her. Even if her lyrics weren’t damaging and stupid, the music sucks period. I went to Warped Tour, and between amazing sets by Against Me, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Oreskaband, my “friends” dragged me to her stage to see a million 14-year old girls singing “Ur So Gay.”

    Rachel Maddow would have been perfect, and timely.

  • Rowen

    The song’s not that great (though the video is. . . kinda cute.) Unfortunately, I haven’t been aware of Katy Perry doing anything for the gay community besides releasing a few more airheaded pop songs. If she had, I’d say go for it, and put her on the cover, but making a bad pop song about being tittilating does nothing for us.

  • Dubwise

    Lawson is funny.

  • ZeeLee

    Yeah, I agreed with Kid A and Rowen, She really hasn’t done much for the GLBT communityy at all.

  • Landon Bryce

    Here’s the thing about Katy Perry: she’s extremely talented and knows how to write a catchy song. It doesn’t bother me at that she made the Out 100, and I can’t decide if it bothers me or not that she’s on the cover. Certainly Maddow would have been a better choice, but Perry took advantage of gays to make money. It kind of amuses me for a gay magazine to take advantage of her to sell magazines.

    And let’s face it– this is a good issue to get into the hands of people who would not normally buy Out. It is an update on the gay community, and if it takes putting horrid Katy Perry on the cover to get it into the hands of a few extra people, that’s not a bad thing.

    But “UR So Gay” is a really offensive song about rejecting someone because of their gender expression. It’s not far from the attitude that gets trans kids killed all the time. Part of me finds celebrating Perry offensive because, although “I Kissed a Girl” is harmless, the other song is toxic.

    So I see it both ways. Sing along:

    I saw Katy Perry on Out Magazine
    I didn’t like it
    The the taste was kind of questionable
    I saw Katy Perry on the cover
    I see why but I don’t love her

  • ryan

    she sucks cock. she dosent deserve to be on the cover of anything.

  • afrolito

    She sucks period.

  • go to girl

    OUT is irrelevant. Their 100 List should be titled the 100 Gays in Entertainment/Media. When’s the last time they focused on gay bankers, doctors or teachers? They recycle the same media people year after year. Come to think of it when was the last time they put a lezzie on the 100 cover? Jennifer Hudson was on last year, Anne Hathaway before that, Iman, Sharon Stone…I can’t remember when a lesbian was featured on the cover.

  • Michael

    When was that song made again? WTF? Argue the validity of her presence all you want, I question what decade these editors are living in.

  • homosexualist

    @ChristopherM: Lesbians don’t account for much of the readership, but there are plenty in the issue, actually.

Comments are closed.