Photo Credit: Jeffrey Mayer/Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Considering that Katy Perry got famous with a song about bi-curiosity, and wears a bra that shoots frosting in her "California Gurls" video, she's one of the last people we'd expect to criticize Lady Gaga. But Gaga's new "Alejandro" video seems to have crossed a line with the singer. Perry, who famously began her career in contemporary Christian music (and whose parents are pastors), tweeted this gem shortly after the video was released: "Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke." (Perry didn't call out Gaga by name, but have you seen anybody else lately deep-throating a rosary while dressed as a sexy nun?)
This comment comes on the heels of Gaga criticism from fellow musicians M.I.A. and Joanna Newsom, as well as that whole Christina Aguilera mini-feud. So what's with everyone trying to take Lady Gaga down all of a sudden?
Sure, part of it is the inevitable backlash from Lady Gaga becoming so influential so quickly. But we find it notable that all of these critiques come from female musicians. If there's a bit of envy going on, we certainly see where it's coming from: Gaga is the biggest pop star on the planet, but she's not as musically innovative as Newsom or M.I.A., nor has she been paying her dues as long as Aguilera. And maybe Perry's resentful of being considered a cotton-candy pop tart, while Gaga is lauded as a significant artist. All the griping seems silly, though, because it's not like there can only be one famous woman in music at a time... right?
Sadly, it often seems like there can be only one woman on top in the music business. The industry loves to pit women against one another in a way they'd never do with men. Remember the great teen-pop war of the late '90s: Britney Spears vs.Jessica Simpson vs. Mandy Moore vs. Christina Aguilera vs. Pink? In retrospect, it's clear that each of these women is a distinct artist with her own talents and style. But when they burst onto the scene around the same time, it was like a big elimination challenge: Which girl will win? Who's the most talented? Who's the prettiest? As if there wasn't room in the world for every one of them. But since being young and pretty is far more important for female musicians than for male musicians, the competition is fierce. Only one rock star can be on the cover of Spin at a time (and more often than not, it's going to be a man). Women in the industry have to be vigilant about defending their turf, and they know it.
But there's another way to look at this, too. The things that Perry said, that M.I.A. said -- they're critiques of Lady Gaga's music and videos. Nobody has said anything that could constitute a personal attack. If male musicians did this to each other -- say, if Jack White said he didn't like John Mayer's last video -- would anybody even think to report it as news? We're so quick to take anything women say about each other and turn it into a catfight. And the media eggs us on at every opportunity (Scarlett Johannson vs. Gwyneth Paltrow! Kate Hudson vs. Cameron Diaz!).
Female artists shouldn't have to compete with each other to be successful, but they should also be able to have opinions about their colleagues. If Perry thinks it's tacky for Gaga to use religious imagery as a shock tactic, we don't have a problem with her saying so. But if we have to choose sides between Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, just because they're both women? That, we have a problem with.
Do you think female artists should refrain from criticizing each other? Chime in below!