In her article, “Adolescent Girls’ Sexuality: the more it changes, the more it stays the same,” Deborah L. Tolman discusses how coming of age girls are “sexually socialized” in our society. This so called sexual socialization teaches young women to suppress their sexuality in order to be considered “good” girls. I think that there is a connection here to Catherine MacKinnon’s argument that sexuality is completely based off of men’s desire for power and thus making women the subordinate being. In her song “Roar,” Katy Perry outlines this behavior from a personal standpoint.
What caught my attention in this song was the introductory verse in which Perry provides a perfect example of how girl’s are sexually socialized. Here she says:
I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything
Everything that Perry says in this verse, and as you can see in the video, is linked to her relationship with a man. Whether or not it is a romantic relationship or not, she is still displaying the fact that the male role had power over her actions. As Tolman and MacKinnon both highlight, society sexualizes women to be passive, existing as props for men and not embracing their own sexuality or control over their own choices.
As the song progresses, Perry has this epiphany that she is capable of so much more than what was previously expected of her. But why does is take this dramatic moment of realization in order for her to believe in herself? I want to know why it takes so much convincing for girls to feel empowered and why we continue this trend of being objects for men.