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Why Katy Perry's E.T. is Bad for Girls [VIDEO]

By carolyncastiglia |

Katy Perry, katy perry et, katy perry et video

Katy Perry in makeup and hair for her E.T. video.

Anyone who’s seen me on stage in the last few months knows that I am amassing a half-hour special’s worth of stand-up material on everything that’s wrong with Katy Perry.  Before I get a rash of criticism from her fans, let me say this: Katy Perry is beautiful and she has a great voice.  She does.  It’s just too bad she’s using it to sing such terrible lyrics.

Song after song, Perry dispenses poor advice to her young listeners – and like any pop star, many of her listeners are tweens and teens.  As I noted in my Joke of the Week for Time Out New York, “I hate the way Katy Perry oversimplifies things. In Firework she says, ‘After a hurricane comes a rainbow.’ Actually, Katy, sometimes after a hurricane comes an oil spill.”  The optimistic message that life can turn on a dime in your favor, though inaccurate, isn’t harmful.  It’s just humorous.

But the lyrics to her latest release, “E.T.,” should make any mother’s antennae perk up.  First of all, your described lover is not an alien, Katy.  It sounds like you’re in love with a sociopath.  (Take it from one who knows.)  Secondly, the last thing impressionable girls need to be listening to is a song that advocates being abducted and probed in lyrics by Kanye West, whose “Monster” video is filled with female corpses hanging from nooses.

Here’s a look at the video with the lyrics below.  Am I overreacting?  Tell me what you think.  One of the reasons Katy Perry strikes such a chord with me is because her bubble gum pop is so easy to swallow, the horrible messages in these lyrics are taken like candy – something kids eat without even thinking. West’s last verse is particularly troublesome, (Imma disrobe you/Then Imma probe you/See I abducted you/So I tell you what to do) especially in the wake of all the sexual assault cases against children that we’ve covered in the last few weeks.

Kanye West:

I got a dirty mind I got filthy ways
I’m tryna bathe my eyes in your milky way
I’m a legend I’m irreverent I’ll be reverend
I’ll be so far up
We don’t give a f***
Welcome to the danger zone
Step into the fantasy
You are not invited to the other side of sanity
They callin’ me an alien a big headed astronaut
Maybe it’s because yo boy Yeezy get a** a lot

Katy Perry:

You’re so hypnotizing
Could you be the devil
Could you be an angel
Your touch magnetizing
Feels like I am floating
Leaves my body glowing

They say be afraid
You’re not like the others
Futuristic lover
Different DNA
They don’t understand you

You’re from a whole other world
A different dimension
You open my eyes
And I’m ready to go
Lead me into the light

Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me
Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison

Take me, ta-ta-take me
Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction

Boy, you’re an alien
Your touch are foreign
It’s supernatural
Extraterrestrial

You’re so supersonic
Wanna feel your powers
Stun me with your lasers
Your kiss is cosmic
Every move is magic

CHORUS

Kanye West:

I know a bar out in mars
Where they driving spaceships instead of cars
Cop a Prada space suit about the stars
Getting stupid ha straight up out the jars
Pockets on Shrek, rockets on deck
Tell me whats next? Alien sex.
Imma disrobe you
Then Imma probe you
See I abducted you
So I tell you what to do

CHORUS

Lyrics via.  Photo via.

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About carolyncastiglia

carolyncastiglia

carolyncastiglia

Carolyn Castiglia is a New York-based comedian/writer wowing audiences with her stand-up and freestyle rap. She’s appeared in TONY, The NY Post, The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes and Life & Style. You can find Carolyn’s writing elsewhere online at MarieClaire.com and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Carolyn's latest posts →

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44 thoughts on “Why Katy Perry's E.T. is Bad for Girls [VIDEO]

  1. Nicole says:

    This is disturbing, to say the least. “Wanna be a victim”? Yikes.

  2. Andy says:

    Yes, you are overreacting. No one takes these videos as seriously as you do. This video was supposed to be about Katy finding a lover who isn’t from this planet but from far, far away. It’s a catchy song. And if you find this bad, go look at Lady Gaga’s latest music video for “Born This Way”. This video is wayyyy better.

  3. C.G says:

    I really like it actually, although I wouldn’t much want my 3 year old to start harmonizing the lyrics.

    Tweens and Teens have been singing inappropriate lyrics for years, as uncomfortable as it makes parents, it’s harmless.

  4. GP says:

    Musically, this crap is unlistenable (as is most top-40, especially Katy Perry…I mean, “milk, milk, lemonade? really?????)…anyway, there are ways they could’ve done the “I’m in love with a space alien” thing and kept it quirky and fun, but once someone says they “want to be a victim” and a guy says he can “tell you what to do”…bad news…

  5. KoalaKat says:

    I wouldn’t play this for my toddler, but I also don’t think Katy Perry owes it to the world to keep songs sugary-sweet and innocent for tweens just because they happen to like her music. The music world would be pretty bland if all musicians were limited this way.

  6. GP says:

    I agree that music need not be dumbed down or cleaned up for kids. I’d argue, though, that this song is without value for adults, either, and we all could stand for a little quality control.

  7. Lisa says:

    I can’t stand Katy Perry… between that stupid electric thing she has to do to her voice, the fireworks coming out of her breasts in her video and the phallic Popsicle line in California Girls, I just can’t stand her.

  8. Ri-chan says:

    Eh, sounds kind of BDSM to me…

  9. Liz says:

    I stumbled across this site while looking for this hotly-anticipated music video, and I have to say that this article is ridiculous. Blaming musical artists for deviant behaviors is outrageous. Plus, the song itself isn’t actually about falling in love with an alien. It’s an obvious metaphor for exotic love (although no tween would probably get that.) It drives me nuts when reputable parenting sources like this become panic mongerers. Inappropriate songs are not going to affect children as long as you instill in them proper values. It’s a song, and it’s ok to take it at face value.

  10. Manjari Olds says:

    I agree with GP, this isn’t fit for a 30 something adult either. Just bad music!

  11. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Nothing but a bunch of missionary moms here, Ri-chan.

  12. Julie says:

    You’re really complaining about how Katy Perry is bad? Do you live under a rock? Have you heard music Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, or Rhianna? Those are the ones that are really bad for girls. You appear so clueless abotu pop culture it’s scary.

  13. carolyncastiglia says:

    Liz – if I take this song at face value, it’s a rape fantasy. Is that harmless to a 12-year-old? I don’t know. Do you have kids and how old are they? I’ll tell you this: my niece is 13 and the first time I heard her sing “Birthday Sex” I almost died. I don’t think Katy Perry has an individual responsibility to be a role model for young girls any more than anyone bears that responsibility, but I do think overall we have to ask ourselves where music played on the radio crosses the line. You’d have to be 17 to get into a movie that was about alien rape (or “exotic love”), but my 5-year-old can hear this on the top 40 station. Sure, as her parent, I can avoid exposing her to that station – in my car and at home – but not at the mall, the grocery store, restaurants, the laundromat, etc. We can all claim we’re not responsible and we don’t understand why girls are acting sexual at age 7 (see Abercrombie push-up bikini), but come on – it’s all right here in front of us. I use adult material – in front of an audience of adults. Also, sure, tweens have been singing inappropriate lyrics for years now, but there’s innuendo and then there’s blatant sexuality. Not only is this song blatantly sexual – that’s not even the part I have a problem with, really – it talks about “wanting” to be a victim, an oxymoron to be sure. This song embodies the confusing feelings girls have when they’re in a toxic relationship, and in a sense glorifies abuse. Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance does the same thing, but in less grotesque way. Gaga’s song is, ironically, more adult because it plays coy with references.

  14. carolyncastiglia says:

    And Julie – of course I’m familiar with Britney, Miley and Rihanna. We covered Miley’s “transition into adulthood” quite a bit here at Strollerderby. Perhaps you’ve never visited here before, which is why you appear clueless about our content.

  15. ANDREW says:

    I really think your full S**t!
    wooooww! lol
    NEGATIVE PEOPLE LIKE YU JUS PISS ME OFF!

  16. me says:

    yea with all the sexual songs out there from all those other artist who not only do not even make the effort to give their lyrics double meaning but to top it off make the video as litteral as possible hitting on Katy is pointless if tweens know what she means as easily in this then they were not as innocent to begin with cuz this can be taken the dirty way (but that’s an issue between you and your mind) or a simple clean alien love story where she just wants to be kissed way…

  17. John says:

    The problem with Katy Perry isn’t necessarily that she sneaks very sexual and sometimes disturbing messages into her songs; it’s that she tries to play it off that she’s a good girl and her music videos are generic bubblegum for preteens to chew on. At least Lady Gaga has actual talent and doesn’t claim to be a good catholic girl. Katy Perry can’t rely on her tits and the talents of her producers who autotune her to death forever. It’s a shame she’s a star when her lyrics are blatantly trashy (prime example:Peacock) and she has absolutely no musical talent or creativity. Her voice sounds like a dying hyena in a plastic bag. Sometimes I wish she was abducted.

  18. Kelly says:

    First off, it’s a SONG.. Not the end of the world. If you people spent half as much time getting involved in the real issues surrounding our country as you do commenting on these artists 
    we might have a more educated/knowledgable populous who could make a positive change. Stop complaining and start doing something.  Second, music is art and it doesn’t have to be negative… You interpreted it that way, it could mean many different things and kids could take it many different ways. The point is to COMMUNICATE with your children. This small step can go a long ways. Third, do something relevant besides sit on your computer bashing music artists.  

  19. Chezza says:

    Yes, this song glorifies rape culture. Anyone who disputes this is either someone who is profoundly stupid, or likes rape culture. It’s almost not worth it to explain, it’s so blatant. I have been in several public places including my bank and had to hear this played at least 3 times while waiting for 25 minutes. I’m sick of a lot of songs but hearing, ‘inject me with your poison’, ‘wanna be a victim’ over and over is disgusting. I don’t actually care that Katy’s target audience are 14 year olds. If they don’t have the brains to realize without an adult telling them why this is negative, that’s their problem and they will have to learn why emulating millionaire pop stars who glorify rape culture is unhealthy for themselves when the get into toxic relationships. My problem is I’m sick of adults acting like this garbage should be being spewed into public spaces. Bad singing, offensive lyrics, cheap visuals, bad beat, unoriginal tripe.

  20. GP says:

    Julie…they ALL suck. Why not listen to Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, India Arie…OK wait, I am making myself look really old….uhm, Janelle Monae…St. Vincent…M.I.A., Feist, Neko Case, Rachel Flotard/Visqueen…there are tons of great female artists that don’t suck. If you don’t make any effort to dig into good music and just take what top 40 is selling you you’re going to get crap just like in the processed food aisles at the grocery store.

  21. KATYPERRYROXS says:

    OK LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I THINK THERE WILL BE LOTS OF NUMBERS
    1. U ARE SOOOO OVEREACTING
    2.STOP MAKING FUN OF KATY PERRY
    3. UR NOT HER SOO LEAVE HER ALONE
    4.SHE CAN DO WHAT SHE WANTS
    5.SHE ISNT THE ONLY ONE WRITING THE LYRICS
    6. DONT WORRY ABOUT WHAT SHE DOES
    5. HE “REAL” FANS WILL LOVE HER NO MATTER WHAT
    6. KATY PERRY I LOVE YOU AND ALL UR SONGS NO MATTER WHAT THE HATERZ SAY

  22. AF says:

    Didn’t it all start with Madonna? And then Britney Spears came along and female singers have marketed sex ever since (Christina, Rihanna, Gaga). My generation seem to think it’s cool and “sexually liberated”.

    What we really need is a popstar who can be successful without needing to take their clothes off.

  23. GP says:

    Madonna was self-made and did her own stuff, not dictated by some hand in the industry. When Madonna started, it was truly a different era and different structure in the industry. Madonna was a grown woman, not a child (Spears, Cyrus, etc. when they started) and Madonna was going against the grain at that time. Read about her, she is really pretty amazing (I don’t like her music, but she, herself is pretty cool…)

  24. Sarah says:

    I couldn’t have expressed anything you said any better. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. I heard about this song and just was curious what the video would look like. I had to mute the lyrics because my 1 yr old was sitting in my lap. Just disgusting.

  25. Aoharu says:

    These lyrics aren’t disturbing; they are portraying where aliens are known to do movies. Look at Kanye West’s lyrics, that’s disturbing.

  26. Tim 'Gonzo' Gordon says:

    I don’t know that I’d sweat lyric content to much. Back in my day in radio, in 1979 The Knack released ‘My Sharona.’ The lyrics were pretty straightforward about wanting to have sex with Sharona, in particular:

    “Never gonna stop, give it up. Such a dirty mind.
    Always get it up for the touch
    of the younger kind.”

    A radio station in LA was so concerned that they did a pretty thorough research project and asked hundreds of kids on the street familiar with the song, “What’s it about?”

    It came back 100% that none of them knew. They couldn’t quote a lyric to save their life and had no clue as to what the lyrics were actually saying. It surprised me, because as a music fan I listened to lyrics and was very aware of what the song was saying…

    So to think that most kids are hearing or paying attention to the lyrics is probably inaccurate. I suspect you’d get similar results with a similar survey.

  27. CIMRIGHT says:

    Wow a cognitive one year old, Huh?

  28. AJ says:

    I love how noone holds the artist responsible for THEIR music. It is irresponsible and inappropriate to sing lyrics such as these when you know the age of your audience is the tween set. Nice to see its okay to throw morals out the window for cash, sell your soul, its okay, its all for the money! Katy Perry is a straight up prostitute in my opinion as are others like her. I agree with this article completely. Being abducted is no joke and nothing to sing about in a laughing or loving manner. Inject me with your poison….Really??

  29. Huh?! says:

    Holy crap! I just agreed with GP! Visqueen!

  30. Seanna says:

    Stop whining. Jesus.
    Do you have kids, lady? Because if you do, I’m sure at one point you’ve said “stick and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you”. While sometimes, sure, words can sting if they are aimed at you, berating YOU. But this song has nothing to do with you, take a breather.
    I don’t like Katy Perry; I think she’s useless and totally unworth having money. But I don’t sit there crying about how bad her words are for society. I personally like this song, because it’s like a movie to me, not about getting raped or S&M or whatever you loons are complaining about. It’s like a movie where, 5000 years in the future, where mounds of garbage and freakish decendents of humans fall in love with robot-alien-people and risk their lives to bring them back to life. So why aren’t you complaining about movies?
    Whhhhhhhhy aren’t you sobbing about Nickelback’s “Something in Your Mouth”? “you’re so much cooler when you never pull it out, ’cause you look so much cuter with something in your mouth…” This song was regularily played on the radio. The song continues to talk about her kissing everybody, her thong and paying her for sex. Oh no! Prostitution!! If kids hear this, they will want to get paid to get laid!!! Sorry, folks, you can’t blame your daughter’s trampiness on a song; it’s one of the world’s oldest professions.
    Bottom line, music has been like this for a while now. It’s words, people. Let’s actually consider “sticks and stones” before we start howling about inappropriate music and throwing bibles at people.

  31. Christela says:

    I got a advice for all you “psycho” moms, lock your children in the closet forever or dont let your children be in contact with the world or home school them.

    Im 19 years old and i get the message from this song.
    Love feels like that sometimes… It can be hypnotic and alluring.
    It can feel like you want to be abducted, from this chaotic world.

    But that doesnt mean that if my boyfriend tries to smack me in the face i’ll say:
    “Oh Yes, dont stop… take me away and abduct me. I’m in love and i should let you do whatever you want.”

    My mom taught me to never let a man hurt me. PERIOD.

    If you teach your kids right, they can protect themselves.

    Its not Katy Perry that is making teens act crazy, its the lack of communication that parents have with their kids these days.

    GROW UP PEOPLE. Or better yet “GROWN UPS” GROW UP.

  32. Deanna says:

    Why do parents sit around all day searching for things to complain about? It’s as if they can’t handle the fact that there are adults who live in this world too, not just children. Who says absolutely everything has to be G rated? Who says us adults can’t have a little bit of our own fun in media and pop culture? I’m fed up with all these bleeding hearts trying to make it a squeaky clean, sterile environment everywhere their precious little chubby brats go. There are all age groups walking around out there, not just children. This song was for adults. If your children are listening to it, you have no one to blame but yourself because you are the parent and you are the one who sets the boundaries. Turn the radio off if you don’t want your kids hearing inappropriate things and let the rest of the world live their own lives.

    TL;DR – Who cares if it’s inappropriate. It’s for adults, not kids.

  33. Craig Davies says:

    This song has a deeper meaning than you think! its not as simple as it seems, not just the words but the signs and pictures in it are brainswashing you! Abort Katie Perry and others alike such as Lady Gaga

  34. GP says:

    I dispute it on the grounds that it’s crap music.

  35. Elizabeth says:

    Do you honestly think that this video is going to change teen behaviour? Focus as a parent on being a good role model and instilling great values/self esteem in your children and you won’t have to worry about garbage like this!! Honestly, I think a lot of lousy parents love to blame the media for any perceived faults in their children, instead of taking responsibility for their poor parenting skills. Don’t want your two year old to see this video??? How about turning of the TV and reading him or her a book? Or maybe getting some exercise. It’s like the people who sue McDonalds for making their kids fat!!
    It is still very possible to raise well-adjusted children in the 21st century!!

  36. AJ says:

    Yes Seanna, I do have children…4 in fact, my youngest is in college. They are all very successful because I did not let them listen to useless crap. My issue is that her audience is very young. This is what she created herself. I do believe in a separation between what adults can listen to and what children do…..hey if she decides to do some porn or a porn mag with Elmo as her sidekick…ya think that’s okay for kids….i mean Elmo would be in it. Do you get my point? She is bubblegum with vulgarity thrown in. The line I have the biggest problem with is “I wanna be a victim”…….having said that…I have been that and would not think it cute for a young girl to sing that….it’s not cute, nor funny!!! And oddly enough Alien sex is just a weird thing to sing about.

    The article is not about Nickelback (by the way…they SUCK)…..this is why the comment is on Katy Perry and not Nickelback. If the article were on them or any other group or band then that is what my comment would be directed to! Kapish???????

    Soooo…to wrap up….this is just my opinion and everyone is entitled to that being that this is America and all. I don’t care that people like her or not….I am not freaking out or spending time on it other than this board. No throwing of bibles here, just an observation as symbolism and effects on culture are what I study. And things ain’t always what they seem ya know….but yeah…harmless stuff….ya think?????????

  37. csbaby says:

    I do have to say, upon first hearing it there were a number of lyrics in this song that stood out as questionable in nature (i.e. abduction, wanna be a victim). Taken for what it is however, I seriously doubt that this type of music is going to inspire the “young and impressionable” to display any reprehensible behavior. Pop culture and the media have been trying to put things in our heads (positive and negative) for ages yet it doesn’t necessarily work (how many families out there really are like the Partridge family?). So saying some tweens might become abused or abusive from this is irrelevant. As far as the song itself, it does have value in the fact that it is honest and relatively open ended. As many people can attest to, love is not exactly what you’ll find in a Taylor Swift song (not to pick on her, but seriously). It is a painful and secluding force that is strangely beautiful it its own way. Furthermore, using the image of extraterrestrials shows how one may feel alienated by their own feelings whether it be by distinctions such as race, class or sexual preference. Therefore, this song displays the beauty of being different without drawing it out directly. And as far as this song being mediocre, it’s art. Good art or bad art is still art. That being said, it has a message and will contribute to how you think whether you like it or not. That being said, let the art be free so our thoughts may be as well. Let the autotune, drum machines and synthesizers carry us toward enlightenment!

  38. Tamara says:

    You’re totally looking for something controversial to write about and focusing on – surprise surprise – someone in the entertainment industry. I’m curious if you would have cared so much if Eminem had rapped these lyrics instead of Katy Perry singing them?

    They are LYRICS in a song, not words from Ghandi. See them for what they are. Most kids don’t even listen to the lyrics. I have a 5yo girl who rocks out to Pink and the Pussycat Dolls, does she understand the lyrics? Hell no. She likes the MUSIC.

    Katy Perry is doing nothing different than Madonna did 30 years ago (fml am i THAT old?) Parents need to be the role models for their kids and not pawn off the responsibility to a celebrity.

  39. sydney says:

    I am 13 and i was looking for the music video and came across this page. reading the lyrics to the song makes me sick and to think of my 10 year old sister singing this song makes me even sicker. Of course i know what the metaphor means!!! im not a retard to whoever wrote that post how we wouldnt even get it. stars shouldnt even sing those songs for adults or not. singers know kids look up to them and they still send horrible messages through music. What has the world come to????? kids across america now think that it is “old school” to have marriage b4 sex and one of my friends even said to me “we r teenagers, we r curious” this makes me sick D:<

  40. SWP says:

    Why don’t parent pay attention to what their children are listening to. If you don’t like this song, then don’t let your children listen to it. Simple! End of Story!
    I don’t let my 9 year old listen to this the same way she isn’t allowed to listen to the Door’s ‘Riders on the Storm’ due to how the poetry in the middle of the song isn’t appropriate. Not hard.

  41. Julie S. says:

    Carolyn, Thanks for writing this. We can’t necessarily stop our children from listening to (or hearing) these songs. But we can teach them to think about what they hear, to actually listen to lyrics and understand what they mean. We can teach our kids to be critical thinkers and informed consumers so that hopefully they will learn that just because a song sounds good or is popular doesn’t mean that its message is positive. The only way that we will be able to create any change is by having these exact discussions with our kids.

  42. Jon says:

    Great post, thank you. I can’t understand why their are not more articles about this video and its horrible message. I mean she sings “I wanna be a victim” while the images on the screen are of a cheetah hunting down and killing a gazelle AND then at the end SHE is part gazelle. I mean seriously? “They say be afraid
    You’re not like the others” Ummm. Red flag! Abusive relationship warming! this song is basically an out and out celebration of violence against women.

  43. Brittney America says:

    i personally like the song minus kanye (bc i hate him!!) however i dont think it is appropriate for children

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