By now you may have heard, though it seems more likely that you haven’t heard, Rita Ora’s new song “Girls,” which features Charli XCX, Bebe Rexha, and Cardi B.
It’s basically a simple pop song about girls who get a little high, get a little drunk off of red wine, and want to kiss a gal. But the pop song, which isn’t particularly memorable and has nothing on Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” angered a few pop stars who viewed the song as nothing more than a group of perceived straight girls making a mockery of gay and bisexual romantic relationships. In the words of Blur (sort of): the girls who like girls don’t like girls who like boys, pretending to like girls, singing on “Girls.”
Singer Hayley Kiyoko, who has been vocal about her desire to sing about her female love interests in an industry that would largely rather pronouns be neutral to appeal to straight audiences, wrote on Twitter that the song “fuels the male gaze while marginalizing the idea of women loving women.” After Kiyoko’s comments, the stan accounts came for her Twitter archives, pulling up old tweets in which she used racial slurs. Artists like Shura and Katie Gavin of the band MUNA also tweeted about “Girls,” the latter echoing Kiyoko’s claims about the male gaze and writing that the song is a reminder that “we still have a lot of work head of us.” And Kehlani, who identifies as queer, sub-tweeted that the lyrics were “harmful.”
Rita Ora tweeted her own response to the backlash, explaining that “Girls” speaks to her personal experience dating both women and men in her life.
Whether you find “Girls” to perpetuate sexy, dated stereotypes about girls kissing other girls, or just a silly pop song, I think we can all agree on one thing: we will forget this song in one to two days. Sorry Rita!