On Katy Perry’s “Roar”

I want to talk about the difference between Katy Perry’s song, “Roar,” and so many of the other pop songs written by women out there. This song is about triumphing, whether it’s over love or however the listener may interpret it. It’s empowering. She’s claiming nothing can hold her down and that she’s going to roar for all to hear.

It seems that many songs these days by women are about heartbreak and crumbling from it. Miley Cyrus’ song, “Wrecking Ball,” is almost literally about crumbling from love. She claims, “You wrecked me.” The song is surely catchy, and it expresses a theme that many women, and maybe even some men, can relate to, but I view that as the exact problem. In our culture, women are being destroyed by love. It is all too common for women to take the Miley Cyrus approach and allow the man to beat them down emotionally, or sometimes even physically, because they are caught up in the idea of love. Cyrus explains it as being addicted to the pain (this was her explanation for licking a hammer).

I think Cyrus did a phenomenal job of describing the destructive behaviors that have become commonplace for women. She talks about facing love head on, giving it her everything, and pushing so hard until she was in a place of vulnerability. When she was in that place, was when she was wrecked. Sometimes we want love so badly that this seems like the only way to go about it. It seems like we have to “[come] in like a wrecking ball” and “break [his] world.” But, in Katy Perry’s words, we “[forget we] have a choice.”

This is the first verse of Katy Perry’s song, “Roar.”

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath

Scared to rock the boat and make a mess

So I sat quietly, agreed politely

I guess that I forgot I had a choice

I let you push me past the breaking point

I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything


You held me down, but I got up

Already brushing off the dust

You hear my voice, you hear that sound

Like thunder gonna shake the ground

You held me down, but I got up

Get ready cause I’ve had enough

I see it all, I see it now

She still had someone, like Cyrus had, that pushed her down and took advantage of her love. But, the difference with her is she “got up,” and she didn’t stand for it. Maybe men are going to treat us like shit, but complaining about it will do nothing. We have power; we have a choice. We’re in control of the way we are treated.

My advice to women out there: instead of coming swinging in naked on wrecking balls, let the world hear you roar. 


photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/blazinred/9684636918/”>blazzzinred [vancityhotshots]</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;


5 thoughts on “On Katy Perry’s “Roar”

  1. We’ve been saying this since the early feminist movement days: women are their (our) own worst enemies. It’s important for all of us to remember that we DO have a choice. Good post, Brittany!

  2. Really good analysis. By the by, I agree with You, Joan. We should stop talking about women as if they were passive subjects, because this is performative over y

  3. Pingback: On My One Hundredth Post | Oshitbritt on Things

  4. Thanks for discussing this. My 8yrold loves pop music despite being homeschooled and I want to find the most empowering female role models for her.

    • No problem! Role models are hard to find in the pop music industry, so I understand it must be frustrating. My advice is to listen to the songs she likes and discuss their messages openly with her. You could teach her something with a song like Roar. That’s just my two cents though!

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