Why Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed a Girl’ Offended a 1990s Rock Star

The classic rock of the 1990s was pretty edgy at times. Notably, a 1990s rock star found Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” offensive. During an interview, that same rock star dished on Lady Gaga, Kesha, James Blunt, and Jason Mraz.

Katy Perry wearing a blue dress
Katy Perry |Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for COVERGIRL

Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre didn’t like Lady Gaga or Katy Perry but she enjoyed a Kesha song

Kathleen Hanna is a member of the feminist punk rock groups Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. She’s also an LGBTQ rights activist. During a 2011 interview with CNN, Hanna was asked what she thought of Perry, Kesha, and Gaga. Specifically, she was asked why their music touched on themes of LGBTQ empowerment but supposedly didn’t connect with audiences.

“I mean, is it really that different when it’s a skinny white woman in a bathing suit singing these things?” Hanna replied. “None of these women ever wear pants, first of all. Second of all, just because you’re wearing a goofy hat doesn’t make it performance art. I mean, that’s just my feeling about it. A lot of the music just sounds like bad Euro disco, though that first Kesha song “TiK ToK” was good.”

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Kathleen Hanna called Katy Perry’s ‘I Kissed a Girl’ ‘pathetic’

Hanna was far more critical of “I Kissed a Girl.” “‘I Kissed a Girl’ was just straight-up offensive,” she opined. “It’s disgusting. It’s exactly every male fantasy of fake lesbian porn. It’s pathetic. And she’s not a good singer.”

Hanna didn’t exclusively target female singers. “I don’t want to trash other women,” she said. “I mean, I think Jason Mraz is horrible. It’s not just like I hate other women performers. Jason Mraz, and the new James Blunt song is the worst thing that has ever been created on the face of the Earth.” She didn’t name the Blunt song she disliked so much.

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The way ‘I Kissed a Girl’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

Regardless of Hanna’s feelings, “I Kissed a Girl” became a major hit. It was Perry’s first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. For seven of its 23 weeks on the chart, it topped the chart. Perry released the song on her first pop album, One of the Boys. One of the Boys peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 92 weeks.

“I Kissed a Girl” became popular in the United Kingdom too. The Official Charts Company reports the track was No. 1 for five of its 34 weeks on the chart. None of Perry’s songs stayed at the top of the U.K. chart for a longer period. Meanwhile, One of the Boys hit No. 11, lasting on the chart for 72 weeks.

Even if Hanna didn’t enjoy Perry’s singing, it seems the public did.

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