Reactionary boobs got Katy Perry pulled from kids TV
Well it looks like Katy Perry – pop chanteuse, novelty wig wearer, man-tamer and controversy stoker – has done it again.
Entertainment news site TMZ reported yesterday that Sesame Street producers had pulled her recently filmed duet with Elmo. The charge? It’s too boobtastic.
In March, Perry filmed an ostensibly kid-friendly version of her hit song “Hot N Cold” with Elmo for the show’s upcoming season, to teach young viewers about opposites. Namely, up/down, fast/slow, stop/go, yes/no, human/muppet.
In the clip, Perry rocks up in a hokey bridal veil and lime green dress that would be dangerously low cut were it not for some strategically placed sheer stocking material. She then proceeds to chase the little red monster around to try and get him to play dress ups. As for the ending, I won’t spoil the twist – you’ll have to see it for yourself.
Sesame Street uploaded the clip to YouTube on Monday. What followed, apart from over one million views, was many a comment from cranky parents and concerned citizens who didn’t think it appropriate that little kids be exposed to Perry’s ample bosom.
Cue debate about the sexualisation of childhood and jokes about Boob Bird and Sexame Street. One commenter even made a direct link between the clip and teen pregnancy rates. Others were content to merely liken Ms Perry to a “hooker getting married”.
And then Sesame Street cracked.
“In light of the feedback we’ve received on the Katy Perry music video, which was released on YouTube only, we have decided we will not air the segment on the television broadcast of Sesame Street, which is aimed at preschoolers,”, the show said in a statement. As of this morning, the official clip had mysteriously disappeared from the video sharing site.
Perry is the latest in a long line of celebrities to make a guest appearance on Sesame Street, which has been giving three and four year-olds the letter of the day since 1969. But while her outfit is admittedly more racy than Destiny’s Child’s jeans and t-shirts, Gloria Estefan’s overalls, Jessica Alba’s cardigan or Eva Longoria Parker’s turtleneck, it’s a long way from tarty.
The dress wouldn’t be suitable for a job interview or a court appearance, but that has just as much to do with the pukey lime colour than the cut. When you compare this outfit to some of Perry’s recent costumes – which range from a whisp of fairy floss, to sparkly hotpants and a whipped-cream shootin’ bra – she’s as demure as a Victorian-era nun.
Apart from that, Perry’s demeanour and moves in the clip are all G-rated. Some viewers may sit up during the scene where she runs after Elmo and her boobs bounce around quite considerably. But fear not, there’s not a stray nipple in sight and Elmo is safely off screen. She’s not being sexy with the muppet.
In fact, for connoisseurs of Sesame Street’s endearing and clever way of appropriating pop culture for educational purposes (think Feist’s I,2,3,4 redone as a counting exercise or Patty LaBelle’s gospel version of the alphabet), Perry and Elmo are quite cute.
Rather than the sexy dangers of educating your pre-schooler, what this really highlights is the mob-rules power of online commentary. The pull of this form of public opinion can be hard to resist as it takes off and hundreds or thousands of commenters feed off each other – just ask Catherine Deveny and Stephanie Rice. But while it’s an amazing tool to be able to see (some) people’s reactions instantaneously, it’s not always an accurate one.
Of course, as news of the Perry-ban hit the media, the tide of opinion did a 180. Arguing that the clip is harmless, commenters uttered a vociferous WTF, requesting that Sesame Street reinstate the clip. As one viewer noted, “the target audience of Sesame Street wouldn’t even have a CLUE that breasts can be sexual”. Some even went so far as to critique Perry’s breasts as looking too small in the video (or at least smaller than they usually so gloriously appear).
So I guess Perry has given us a lesson in hot and cold after all.
The moral to the story? When it comes to info-taining bubs and showing your boobs, you really can’t win.
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