Not My "Teenage Dream"

I'm sure that anyone reading this has heard Katy Perry's new hit, "Teenage Dream" on the radio or TV.  I have to admit, it is a very catchy song, but like many pop songs out there today, it does not portray the right message, and it doesn't quite sit well with me. Let's break it down:

The song is about a girl who was "a wreck" before she met this really tough, sexy guy, because, of course, all she needed was a man in her life to make her feel better.  Later on in the song it even says she found her "missing puzzle piece."

Other lines in the song inlcude:  "Let's go all the way tonight/No regrets, just love."  The biggest theme in this song is sex, which is obviously what this lyric is about.  I feel that this supports having sex without thinking about the consequences.  Being in love doesn't protect against STDs or unwanted pregnancy, which are things that you would probably regret in the future.  There are many lines that repeat the idea of not thinking about the future, such as, "We can dance until we die/You and I/We'll be young forever."

I also think that this song isn't a very accurate description of a good relationship.  Katy sings that "this is real,"  but the only things she says about this guy is that he thinks she's pretty, he thinks she's funny, and he's sexy and exciting.  Is that all it takes to make a good teenage relationship?

One of my biggest concerns with this song comes from the line, "Let you put your hands on me."  Because she uses the word "let," does that mean she doesn't really want him to put his hands on her, and that she only "lets" him because that's what he wants?  Because she wants to be his teenage dream?   Does this mean that a teenage boy's dream should only consist of a girl who will "let" him do with her what he wants?

This whole song is only based on love, sex, youth, partying, and drinking, and these should not be the only aspirations of a teenage girl.  This song describes completely reckless behavior without acknowledging the terrible consequences that could arise.  This line of thinking should not be anyone's "teenage dream."  I understand how exciting it might be to have a boyfriend, and that right now it feels like that is all that matters in the world, but we need to change this kind of thinking.  Instead, girls should dream of becoming confident and smart young women who make informed decisions about the things that they choose to do in their lives.  Girls should aspire to be something great for themselves and the world, not just somebody to roll around in bed with.

More articles by Category: Arts and culture, Feminism, Media
More articles by Tag: Activism and advocacy, Music, Sexuality, Social media



Brenna F
Sign up for our Newsletter

Learn more about topics like these by signing up for Women’s Media Center’s newsletter.