Katy Does Sesame: Yet Another Opinion

Posted by on October 1, 2010

So, as you’ve probably heard by now…Katy Perry taped a segment for Sesame Street, people complained and they scrapped it—all over the internet, people sounded off on the story.

I watched the clip on BlogHer.com while reading a post called “Katy Perry Cut From Sesame Street For Turning Moms On.” In said clip, Perry is wearing a strapless dress and yes, she shows a little cleavage but honestly, it’s hardly pornographic and she doesn’t do anything I would consider suggestive while singing a G-rated version of her song “Hot & Cold.”

But somehow, I’m still disturbed to see Perry on Sesame Street. I really wasn’t sure why although I can assure you that it’s NOT because she is turning me on, as suggested by the post on BlogHer.com.

After giving it some thought, I finally figured it out—

Perry invaded what I regard as a safe space; a place where kids can tune in and, unlike in the real world, there’s nothing inappropriate waiting to jump out and chip away at their innocence. Nobody gets beat up. Nobody gets shot. Nobody gets murdered. And nothing is sexualized.

There are very few places like that in the television realm but of those that exist, Sesame Street is pretty much the pinnacle and having her on there kind of spoils that for me.

The fact is, I can barely watch regular television with my kids around—if it isn’t the content of the actual show I’m watching, it’s the previews, trailers and ads for other shows that send me leaping for the remote— but I’m not going to launch into a big lecture about that. I think any reasonable, rational, responsible adult can agree that most of what’s on TV, regardless of the time of day, is not fit for young kids. Period.

And yes, I’ve acknowledged that Perry’s performance on Sesame Street was largely benign. BUT…there’s just something disturbing about having a woman who does this in her videos turn up on Sesame Street. Those two worlds should never collide. Ever.

My kids will grow up someday and then they can, if they so desire, watch a woman simulate ejaculation via whipped cream cans attached to her breasts while mimicking double-fisted oral sex, as much as they want.

But RIGHT NOW, one of my many important jobs is to let them have a childhood, to keep them from growing up too fast and according to Chris Rock, keep my daughter off the pole.

Having someone like Katy Perry invade my safe space interferes with that job—I don’t need someone who cannot even BEGIN to conceive of how hard it is to raise kids in today’s world getting in my way and making it any harder.

The verdict: Sesame Street used poor judgment in the first place but at least they had enough sense to rectify their misstep. To all the people that roll their eyes and say “You’d see more skin at the beach” you’re missing the point entirely.


  • Headless Mom says:

    I SO AGREE!!! That’s it exactly! While my kids are well above the Sesame Street age I take issue with them using pop culture figures in their shows that are controversial for sexual reasons, like you just mentioned. What happens when the kid innocently tries to google that person because they saw something ‘innocent’ that they made and then come up with the ‘other crap?’ My kids are entering the internet age and are taught how to google stuff at school. Enter: Why the computer is in the kitchen.

    • IzzyMom says:

      Exactly—it doesn’t just end when Sesame Street is over. It’s the opening of a door to a world my kids are nowhere near ready to properly filter or process (they’re 10 and 5).

  • For a while I had no complaints about this clip, other than Katy Perry’s bad acting. I took the position that had it been almost any other personality it might have gone unnoticed. Until my cousin, who is the father of a 13 year old girl, said that he was bothered by it not because of the cleavage, but because in the clip “playing dress up” means donning skimpy clothes. He was put off by this subtle message to girls.

    I see his point. I think I’m in for a rude awakening when my daughter gets a little older.

    • IzzyMom says:

      I hadn’t considered that specifically although I recall something nagging at me when she was prattling on about playing dress up so maybe I did on a subconscious level.

      In any case, that’s an excellent point and kind fits in with my “safe place” complaint.

  • I also initially thought, “what’s the big deal?” because I don’t think her outfit is any more inappropriate than many of the ones the Disney Princesses wear. But then I thought, why do you put a singer/actress on Sesame Street? If my daughter saw that clip when she was younger she would have liked the song and asked for more of Katy Perry. And therein lies the problem. Most of what she does is not suitable for young children so why would Sesame Street want to “sell” her on their show? My daughter is 6 now and knows the California Gurls song well because she first saw the video in between episodes for Full House on TeenNick. My son (9) & daughter call it the “naked” video. Lovely. Even a benign show like Full House isn’t safe for viewing, apparently!

  • Allyson/HBMomof2 says:

    I agree with you also. I personally like Katy’s music, but it isn’t anything my children listen to and I agree about keeping it out of the protected world of Sesame Street. It’s interesting that this objection is coming up only for her. Last season, I objected to Jenny McCarthy, a playboy playmate, and Heidi Klum for the reasons of superficiality and objectification of women, even if my kids don’t know who they are/were in real life. That is when I started to dvr every show and I sit with my kid(s)when they watch. I fast forward what I don’t approve and I hate that I have to do that with what is supposed to be a “safe” show. There is very little that they are allowed to watch and it is made even tougher now that my 6 year old has figured out how to defeat the parental controls on the satellite’s remote. This parenting gig is tough.

    P.S. Keeping my girl off the pole is my job, but it is even more difficult to not dress her like a slut with what is offered in what passes at department stores these days!

    • IzzyMom says:

      I didn’t even know about Jenny McCarthy or Heidi Klum but I’m guessing because Perry is more visible on the pop culture radar at the moment than the Klum and McCarthy, she was more likely to be singled out. Of course, the whipped cream thing doesn’t help her case at all.

      I hate being a TV/DVR cop, too, but I learned the hard way that even seemingly benign channels like The Food Network run commercials for things that are incredibly UNfamily friendly.

      And don’t even get me started on the clothes. My daughter is a very innocent age ten and shopping for her gets a little harder each year. How do you explain to someone who doesn’t even know what sex is yet that certain clothes are just too slutty?

  • JenGid says:

    Shouldn’t they realize their target audience? If the demographic that watches Sesame Street knows who Katie Perry is I’m afraid for the world. Why have a “special guest” unless the kids will recognize them? Casting fail.

    • IzzyMom says:

      Sesame Street said they like to have guests on that will entertain the parents so they’ll sit and watch the show with their kids. Um okay, I’ll admit I was pretty captivated by Jack Black when he was on Yo Gabba Gabba but were he the same type of entertainer as Perry, I’d have the same objections. In short, I agree. Total casting FAIL.

  • Apryl's Antics says:

    I agree. It’s one thing to have R.E.M. singing about happy monsters or the Goo Goo Dolls singing with Elmo. I’m sure there are less ‘controversial’ pop culture icons to include on Sesame Street.

  • marty says:

    Whew. When I saw this, I was afraid that it was going to be another person talking about over-reacting and stick up the ass parents. Thank you for not being that voice.

    It bothered me because of what Daddy Geek Boy mentioned – the message that the bustier was appropriate dress up clothes for little girls, and I don’t even have little girls.

    But it mainly bothered me because they scripted it as though Katy Perry was a playmate of Elmo’s – an equal to him – and then put her in an outfit that was very adult. To me, it made it seem a little predatory and pedophile like. I’m SO glad they pulled it.

    I love that you pointed out that comparing it to what women wear at the beach is completely irrelevant. I would like to add that also irrelevant is the comparison to breastfeeding. Grasping at straws, there.

    • IzzyMom says:

      lol…I kind of did set up the post like that, now that I look at it again! But yeah, lotta straw grasping going on with this one. I’m glad you and I are of the same mind :)

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