Kesha’s Ownership of her Body and Sexuality Through Music and Performance

Kesha’s Response Womb Envy

Screenshot from “Dirty Love”

Kesha isn’t someone who rarely wants to love someone forever or the cliché romance. When I was 13 years old, I relied on my older sisters’ iTunes account to download anything on my hand-me-down iPod touch. Out of the 72 songs that were chosen for me, I had “Blah Blah Blah” by Kesha featuring 3OH3!. This was the first time I have heard another song from Kesha besides “Tik Tok.” The lyrics that took me surprised were, “Don’t be a little bitch with you chit chat/Just show me where your dick’s at.” This led me to understand that she just expresses the use value that a man is worth for her. In her general musical performance and persona of a party animal, she doesn’t see her body as a means of producing children, but as a source of sexual pleasure. Kesha provides a sex positive attitude of owning her body and sexuality through performance, which Spivak’s concept of “womb envy” is apparent, especially since she has been dragged into rape culture in the music industry.

Her song and music video for “Dirty Love,” Kesha shows her control over her body and sexuality, while being under control of a major record label. She takes part in writing all of her songs. She worked with people for this song, so she still had control and say about what the song was going to be about and the direction musically and lyrically. Kesha directed her own music video for “Dirty Love,” so she had control over the visual performance of the song. She chose to remove Iggy Pop, who is on the album version of the song on her third album “Warrior.” Without a doubt, Kesha has some power over her performativity of the song and brand not only in “Dirty Love,” but all of her songs. This power comes into question when you look at the law suit against Dr. Luke, her contracted producer.

First, I want to look into the two verses in the solos version of “Dirty Love” that Kesha sings. Her first verse is:

Don’t want your money/I got my own/You’re not my daddy/Baby I’m full grown/Don’t complicate it/Don’t tell me lies/I’m not your girlfriend/I ain’t never gonna be/Or your wife

The opening verse is a series of answers to a man that is trying to pursue Kesha in a way that she doesn't want. Kesha is simply trying to get the “use value,” to use Marx’s term, out of the sexual interaction she wants. She is not willing to put in the energy to do the labor of a (probably short lived) relationship the man is trying to create for them. Within the first verse, she is not taking the offer of a relationship that the “surplus value” will be in favor for the guy. Kesha will get the sex that she wants, and the guy will take the ownership of her body as her “daddy,” sex, and the title of husband/boyfriend. There is a lot more that the guy is wanting to have, than what Kesha is willing to give. Not only to mention that the guy should be in questioned for maybe having his own type of daddy issues (that is my attempt at applying Freud’s psychoanalysis).

In her second verse, Kesha continues with:

I don’t want your baby/I don’t need a man/For anything but/This matter at hand/I got this feeling/Stirring in my new blue jeans/And I need some loving/Or I, just might, have to, scream!

She is having a conversation with either the same guy or someone new, and the conversation leads to her womb and need of a man. Spivak thinks it “is not absurd to suggest that the question of “giving” might be reformulated if one thought of the large ovum “selecting” among millions of microscopic spermatozoa, dependent for effectiveness upon the physiological cycles of the woman.” For some reason, the guy is using language that expresses his obsession with her egg choosing his sperm in order to have sex with her. For Kesha, she doesn’t need his sperm or anyone else’s sperm to “give her a baby” as a reason for her to have sex. She just needs him for her own sexual needs, and then he can leave forever because he only has a one time use value. The lyric shows that some guys that like women can’t take the hint that they have a one time use value for sex.

In the music video, which was directed by Kesha, she is essentially dancing erotically on a stage in a bar type setting. Through her dancing there is a sense of pleasure she is feeling. She is enjoying herself through the sexual movements of taking off or ripping her clothes. Towards the end of the video it is revealed that the music video is edited into a sex negative informative video. She is trying to create a visual that she is taking pride in her sexuality, and wants to explore her sexuality.

Photo from hollywoodreporter

With the pride of owning her entire body, she still has issues of sexual and physical abuse of the man in charge of her. She is physically and creatively under complete control of her rapist. Her contracts made restricted her from being able to freely perform her sexuality. This case turns Kesha from a performer who expressed her sexuality through her dance and body to a body that Dr. Luke felt entitled to having. Her ownership of her sexuality in her performances and music could, according to Spivak, made Dr. Luke want to have more control. Today, even though Sony let him go, he still has legal control over Kesha’s body.

Kesha made light that men, did not only want her womb, but they wanted to take full ownership of her being. For some reason, the scenarios she is providing have men trying to use her womb as a form to seduce her. Personally, I feel like if someone like being wild and free they wouldn’t think “that guy looks like he can give me a good kid.” Sadly, she shows that in the upper class, in the very least, men still feel entitled to any womb they feel fit. Here we have someone who proudly expresses her sexuality and desire, but was susceptible to be a victim into rape culture.