An Open Letter To Katy Perry From Jessie Spano


Annoyed by the overwhelming popularity of Katy Perry’s hit single, “California Gurls,” actual California resident Jessica Myrtle Spano of Bayside High wrote in to share her thoughts on the song’s lyrical content.

Dear Ms. Perry-

Many years ago, I had a problem with drugs. Caffeine, to be specific. I thought at the time that I was invincible, that nothing could stop me. But you know what happened? I got stopped. Big time. I had a nervous breakdown that lasted one episode and had to quit my up-and-coming band, Hot Sundae, forever. We were going to make it big with positive messages about breaking into a sweat not because you’re doing it with someone on the beach in a jeep, but because your mind is working overtime. But now you’re the spokeswoman for the women of California, and I feel that perhaps I only have myself to blame. In an attempt to right my wrongs, I thought I’d write you this letter.

Due to the fact that I often spend time with two young women who regrettably fall for the worst that pop culture has to offer, I have been exposed to your recent single, “California Gurls,” a tune that attempts to speak on behalf of every woman who lives in the 31st state. It’s a lofty goal, don’t you think, to try to label every female citizen of the most populated state in America as someone who wears “daisy dukes, bikinis on top?” It reeks of small-mindedness and, dare I say, sexist pigism: some of us don’t want to melt anyone’s popsicle, thank you very much. Some of us are wise enough to not wear stilettos to the beach (it took Lisa three broken ankles, but even she’s given it up). Some of us have better things to do in California, like cut down on our waste by encouraging recycling, or attending Stansbury, the Harvard of the West.

My boyfriend is a macho pig and therefore enjoys your song and video very much, as it fits his limited view of femininity and sexuality, namely, that I, a California girl (your intentional misspelling may be an homage of sorts, but that doesn’t make it any less offensive to those of us who enjoy proper English), should exist solely to provide sexual excitement whilst wearing a bra made out of whipped cream cans. I have no problem with celebrating junk food on occasion—I enjoy a good Twinkie during a panic attack myself and even performed with a band named after a delicious ice cream treat—but turning yourself into a snack of sorts, something to be consumed and discarded, is disappointing at best. It is all well and good to assert yourself sexually, but with your song and video, you have literally turned yourself—and every woman in California—in to eye candy, and some of us in California wish to be more than that. Except for Kelly. That’s pretty much her only goal. I hate her sometimes. I need to make new friends.

In closing I would like to applaud you for drawing attention to our fine state and for noting, accurately, that those who live here are “fine, fresh, fierce.” All I ask is that you perhaps expand your definition of ferocity to include those of us who don’t think it’s cute to turn ourselves into giant cupcakes and melt the popsicles of strangers. Until you can come up with a song that celebrates California girls for being more than just hot bodies on a beach with projectile dessert breasts, I won’t be listening to your songs. Instead, I’ll be listening to this new Beau Revere tape my friend Zack just gave me. Have you ever met Zack Morris? He’s the blond Tom Cruise!

Rock and roll, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet-
Jessica “Jessie” Spano

Bayside High, Class of 1993

“Caffeine Free Is The Way To Be”

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