A Communication Blog.

Katy & Elmo?

Posted on: September 26, 2010

My immediate reaction upon hearing about the collaboration between the two was that it was rather… odd. After all the two parties have practically nothing in common. One is an imaginary children’s character aiming to educate our young and the other a pop star famous for her quirky song lyrics. Both have different audience demographics, children and young adults respectively. However, that was precisely what aroused my curiosity and caused me to check out the video on YouTube, which featured a play date duet between the two.

The video, which went viral less than a week after release and has almost three million views as of writing, was not aired on television after producers received feedback from parents about the video’s supposedly questionable content. Katy Perry’s plunging neckline was too revealing, many complained. While Perry rebutted by claiming that a flesh coloured mesh had been donned all the way till the neck, it was left to no avail as the idea of promiscuity had been communicated, albeit non verbally. One school of thought was that children would watch the clip and somehow glean the idea that short hemlines and revealing cleavage were perfectly acceptable in public. I would like to say that technically it is tolerable, depending on occasion and venue. Even in semi conservative Singapore, we often see women slip on clothing that would raise more than a couple of eyebrows on Orchard Road and when they hit the clubs. Plus, it has been commented that Perry’s dressing resembles that of Tinkerbell, a popular Disney character.

However I do agree that the video does not have much value, apart from being mildly entertaining. The song has a club worthy beat and its lyrics have the educational value of a Happy Meal toy. Besides being an obvious publicity stunt, I guess its other purpose was to entertain general audiences rather than educating four year old toddlers. It is true that opposites attract, and in this case, opposites attracted truckloads of attention (and controversy). An outright ban on the three minute video would be a tad ridiculous though, which I suppose is why the producers deemed it acceptable to leave the clip on YouTube, where self censorship could be practiced. (rather than have children inadvertently discover Katy Perry’s relatively admirable cleavage in the middle of watching Elmo and friends, which would somehow be a factor in premature sexual maturity as argued by some child rights extremists)

The reason why there was so much controversy from the video is largely related to the fact that many have picked up non verbal cues that have led to possible unintended innuendos. For example, Perry’s dress was deemed socially unacceptable on a children’s educational programme. After all, clothes are often read as a sign of character and are especially important in creating first impressions. In a video, communication is only one way (sender-based) and any feedback is delayed (people would only comment after a video is uploaded and viewed). Therefore, it was not known that her dressing would cause outrage only after the damage has been done. Moreover, perhaps due to personal constructs (Perry has been known for controversial song lyrics), parents would not want the latter to be associated with a show so commonly watched by their offspring.


9 Responses to "Katy & Elmo?"

I guess everything in world is becoming very sensual. It is very cool collaboration through, and it this shock value that gets people attention. Everyone loves Elmo, and it is sad to have Elmo in such limelight. Nowadays, we should not question on how much women wear in television; when in reality the young ones get exposed to so called legal body parts that women in society display. If cleavage was a issue then how about the very SHORT shorts they wear everywhere. It definitely exposed lots of skin to entire world. So lets be mindful what we do first before we get even started on whats right or wrong.

I really do love Sesame Street & them having celebrities to guest star in every episode. However, having Katy Perry wearing that gold coloured thing simple conveys the wrong message. I think little kids watching this probably won’t get the cleavage thing but parents watching it with their kids might feel offended.

& the “very SHORT shorts” aren’t really much an issue as I don’t think butts/thighs are as controversial/taboo compared to cleavage.

But right! what about the all the fashion ads with models almost buck naked/stuff like that on the mass media that everyone including lil kids see on a daily basis? why arent those as controversial… and if little kids dont get affected by her dressing why should their parents be bothered!

I kinda like the idea of katy perry in the show! Shes quite cherry, lively and cute! which suits the audience(kids). Everything is fine with her except the dress that she wore which was quite short and cleavage could be seen too. Overall it was interesting to watch: )

Yeahhh and seriously when we were all four and watching sesame street who really knew what breasts really were?? I think the real thing that appeals to the children here would be the catchy song, and the colourful costume! Furthermore, many kids nowadays(even the really young ones) idolise katy perry. Which is why I would think sesame street even decided to collaborate with her in the first place. She really is a talented young woman, who I believe achieved stardom based on her own abilites, primary to her alluring character and sex appeal.

Yeah and they said that the costume resembled that of disneys tinkerbell and if what she wears is acceptable why cant katy perry wear it too right? i think KP is quite okay, shes not half as outrageous as say, britney spears who is probably idolized by many many little kids.

Jolyn! 😀

Personally I don’t find the video offensive. To begin with children aren’t gonna focus on her clothing. Besides like you mentioned, it’s near impossible to censor all material we deem as inappropriate for children. The Mass Media is everywhere and children are exposed to it every single day, even in TV advertisements. So well, if parents are really bothered by it they should educate their own children.

On a sidenote, I’m pretty impressed by Katy Perry changing the lyrics to cater to the children. Children today are exposed to pop music and it is inevitable that they might pick up the offensive lyrics from the radios and singalong to it. So, Katy Perry changing the lyrics actually helps quite a bit. It’s much better than kids singing along to Bieber’s songs about first loves and broken hearts.

this music video is so cute! However, looking at it from the perspective of the parents, i guess that is true, that by showing these videos, we are telling the kids that this is acceptable, numbing them to what the dark side of being revealing is. Especially when we are associating the two of these, katy perry-a wild child and elmo-the innocent kid puppet together, we are actually telling them that even when you dressed this way, its totally okay. In an age where sex is so common, it is better that the kids should learn it from their parents.


I think the controversy over Katy Perry’s outfit is simply due to a matter of perceptions. To conservative parents, the first thing they notice would be Katy Perry’s dressing, rather than her song or even Elmo. To young children, however, I think their attention would be drawn to the brightly coloured set and outfits, and the catchy song, and not so much on her controversial cleavage. Therefore, I think that the censorship of this video is uncalled for.

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