A bit of a rant…
So while we’re on kind of a feminist theme…
It deeply saddens me to see so many female figures in the public eye - and for now I’ll focus purely on those in the music industry - who are using sex to sell their ‘product’. While I’m well aware that this is not exactly breaking news, it remains something that is yet to be addressed in any active manner.
Yes, one might argue that a woman, and let’s use Rihanna as an obvious example here, whose lyrics focus largely on sex, is exerting her power, just as men do, over her body and sexual desires. I get that. But is it really about that? Is Rihanna, by donning PVC and grinding against some equally under-dressed girls, really making a political point about the empowerment of women or LGBT rights? Not sure. I think, if she were, she’d surely be making more of a big deal about it. Seems a lot more like she just desperately wants to be seen as desirable by the opposite sex and, as they say, ‘sex sells’. Say what you want about Lady Gaga but she is a woman who does not have any qualms about repulsing men. She doesn’t wear what she wears to turn on straight men. She expresses her artistic ideas, no matter how weird they might seem by normal standards, and uses the fame that ensues as a means by which she may protest for equality amongst everyone to an international audience - she fights for the underdog.
In an era in which the charts are (finally) permeated by females, why are more of them not using this as the extraordinarily far-reaching, virtually instantaneous platform it could be for projecting the message - ‘Girls, we are all equal to men - in sex, sure, but also in relationships as a whole, in our intellect, in our mental strength. We might be the weaker sex, physically, but that’s about all you have on us, boys.’ If we’d evolved from monkeys straight into a world replete with tampons and condoms, our physical shortcomings (the menstrual cycle is a bitch, and its only in relatively recent times that contraception, and, when the time comes, proper hospital care, have prevented us getting pregnant and then risking death in childbirth), wouldn’t have been nearly as focussed upon and we would not have been deemed as inferior in our physicality as we still are. Basically, we didn’t stand half a chance against the woolly mammoths, and men did, because they’re stronger. We were labelled the under-dog and it stuck.
Rihanna, Katy Perry, if you have to use your sexuality to sell your music, its probably because you don’t have anything more interesting to say, and, in marketing yourself this way, you are perpetuating the belief amongst men and women alike that all the female gender has is our sexual allure. Stop it.
‘Where have all the Riot Grrrls gone?’, is essentially what I’m saying. It’s certainly true (as I wrote below) that there are many strong, intelligent, talented women creating beautiful music, but why are they not the ones consistently in the top 40? Perhaps the fault lies with the consumer as much as with the pop star. Perhaps Rihanna et al. aren’t wholly to blame. Let’s just all buck up our ideas, eh? Girls are great. But we’ve got a lot more to say and a lot more to do than merely profess that we are ‘so hot we’ll melt your popsicle’ or ask you, ‘don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?’. Surely we’ve got more than that.