Katy Perry concerned where Miley’s tongue has been

After a public kiss, Perry disses Miley -- and Miley fires back brilliantly

Topics: Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, LGBT, John Mayer, Russell Brand,

Katy Perry concerned where Miley's tongue has beenMiley Cyrus, Katy Perry (Credit: AP/Paul A. Hebert/Jordan Strauss)

Here’s your day in ersatz celebrity lesbian high jinx, all. Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry are engaged in a public war of words over a whopping one-second kiss they shared.

It began with Cyrus, who just kicked off her new Bangerz Tour last month, asking the audience at her Los Angeles show to make out during her performance of “Adore You,” telling them, “I don’t know if you know this, but tongue is really appreciated at a Miley Cyrus show.” And when she spotted a notable guest – Katy Perry — she went in for a little action. In a video of the magical moment, Cyrus is all swagger, coaxing Perry toward her for a smooch. But a moment later, Perry emits a shocked squeal at whatever move Cyrus was trying to pull and hastily withdraws. Cyrus later coolly told the crowd, “I just kissed a girl and I really liked it a lot.”

Nearly 8 million YouTube views later, that might have been the end of it, had Perry not taken such conspicuous pains to distance herself from the kiss. During a recent interview with Australian television, she squicked, “I just walked up to her to give her a friendly girly kiss. You know, as us girls do. And then she like tried to move her head and go deeper and I pulled away. God knows where that tongue has been!”

It’s true Cyrus tongue gets around. It’s been everywhere lately but the inside of her mouth. But let’s just take a moment here and remember that Katy Perry is a woman who had her breakthrough with the bi-curious “I Kissed a Girl,” a woman so unafraid to exploit her sexuality that she’s willing to pose with a fire extinguisher between her legs. But that’s different. That Miley Cyrus, she’s such a whore, right?

The hilarity of Perry’s eagerness to distinguish herself from “a friendly girl kiss” and the kind of skanky shenanigans that the likes of Cyrus and her promiscuous tongue would pull was not lost on Ms. Cyrus herself. Cyrus tweeted Wednesday, “Girl if ur worried abt where tongues have been good thing ur ex boo is ur EX BOO cause we ALL know where THAT been” – a reference to Perry’s multiple-famous-girlfriend-having, perennially-gross-things-saying boyfriend John Mayer. She then added a fan-made drawing of their kiss, with the message, “Dontchyouuuu act like you didn’t lurvvvvv it.” Points for Team Miley, because if God forbid there were ever a contest called Whose Tongue Has Been in Worse Places? I do believe John Mayer would win it. But Perry then playfully fired back, telling Cyrus on Twitter, “Oooo gurrrl I’m gonna give you the BIGGEST spanking when I see you in the UK bb!” Jesus, get a room, you two.

All of this alleged “feuding” is great publicity for both women – what could the press love more than an apparent catfight with girl-on-girl kissing? Hello, jackpot! And Cyrus and Perry know this and are, in their typically provocateur ways, playing it to the hilt. But what’s unpleasant about it – more unpleasant than John Mayer’s tongue, even – is the way the entire conversation has been framed around which woman is more or less squeamish about kissing a member of her own sex. It’s an old ploy both of them have used throughout their careers – Perry coyly singing of snogging girls, Cyrus grinding on her fellow females (and well, everything else in the room) in her videos and puckering up with models.

Both women have been outspoken in their support for LGBT rights; Cyrus sports a marriage equality tattoo and two years ago penned an Op-Ed in which she wrote, “I believe every American should be allowed the same rights and civil liberties.” And last summer, Perry confronted Australian politician Tony Abbott over marriage equality, telling him, “Love is equal.” Unlike Cyrus, however, Perry has an obvious discomfort with actual same-sex activity – and a pretty real sounding harsh judgment about other women she deems as somehow less well-behaved than she is. If she didn’t want to French kiss Miley Cyrus, that’s her business, but she chose to make that choice not about her own anxiety but Cyrus’ perceived free and easy ways with her tongue. And Cyrus was right – in her own kooky, poorly spelled Miley Cyrus way – to call out Perry for casting aspersions on her reputation when Perry’s been involved with a man who calls his penis “a white supremacist” and married a man who’s an admitted sex addict. Where’s her judgment of them? Kissing a girl – even crazy, button-pushing Miley — should not be this big a deal. And a celebrity trying to vaguely slut-shame another woman just leaves a bad taste in everybody’s mouth.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

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