I recently saw this post on Tumblr. The post has four gifs. The first is of Rihanna shaking her butt in the ‘Pour It Up’ video. The second is of Britney Spears whipping another woman’s butt in the ‘Work Bitch’ video. The third is of Miley Cyrus swinging naked on the wrecking ball in ‘Wrecking Ball.’ And the fourth gif is prefaced by “And then we have Katy.” The gif that follows is of Katy Perry painting an elephant’s toenails hot pink in ‘Roar.’
What struck me about this post was how femininity was being dichotomized–a woman is either sexual or childlike, but there is no in between. All of the gifs are meant to be seen as outrageous, no matter where they fall on the spectrum. Katy Perry is seen as a better alternative to the three previous gifs, but she is still someone to be made fun of. All of the women are presented as being people who should not be taken seriously. It seems that women cannot be seen as anything outside of their sexuality or lack thereof.