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I am a woman and I love sex. I’m somewhat of a liberal in this sense. I support social freedom of choice and expression in regards to one’s sexuality, gender and lifestyle. I believe it’s not only important – but healthy – to live a life that’s true to your heart’s deepest truth and that this equality should extend out to everybody, with the obvious exception of a few harmful so and sos.
My vision of an ideal society is one that is free of discrimination and narrow-minded ignorance, and taking its place instead, a society which supports and tolerates all of our unique quirks and contrasts.
So this being said, let me first say before I continue that I have no problem with sexuality of any kind in music; our sexuality is a part of who we are. The problem I have is that in my opinion, sexuality is the only route to mainstream success for female artists. And young women are quickly taking note.
This is something I call ‘The Miley Cyrus Problem’.
Miley Cyrus, by her own doing, transformed herself from child pop-icon to the embodiment off all things sexual over-night. She grabbed the world’s attention in an instant. Do you know what her music is about? Can you remember any other line besides “He came in like a wreckin’ ball…”?
As someone who listens to and loves music as much as the next person, nothing else about this girl other than her large tongue and twerking has stood out to me. That’s the only message I got. And guess what? I’m her target audience; a young twenty-something year old fresh out of my teen years.
Miley Cyrus has the talent and the right support to grant her access to fame. But taking her clothes off and dry-humping people and stage props is the quickest avenue she saw into major mainstream success.
As someone who qualifies as her target-demographic, I don’t (only) feel wild and crazed and un-tamable nor do I (only) feel like a sex-starved beast whose ascension into adulthood is defined by getting laid! There’s more to me and there’s more to twenty-something year old ladies than their sexual appetites and physical appearances.
But sadly, this is what our mainstream female pop-heroes are selling. The easily accessible mainstream music is supposed to be widely relatable to a generation but as a woman I have to search elsewhere for artists who’ll entertain and appeal to more in me than the urges of my libido.
And this is fine for me; but what about your seventeen year old sister or daughter who is being bombarded by the message “Sex equals success”?
Female artists such as singer/song-writer PJ Harvey who represents women in an equal light as men and doesn’t just drone on about how she can make boys like her is automatically considered ‘alternative’. She and others like her (Tegan and Sara, Tori Amos, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Patti Smith) are the type of female artist I’d love to see more young girls listening to. Female artists who’ll supply girls with more depth, more passion and who’ll sing to them about worldly, real-life experiences. It’s the vulnerable and insecure young women who listen to pop-music because its supposedly ‘cool’ who I worry about and the ideas about themselves that they might grow up believing.
So where do we go from here? We could argue that women in the music industry who sell their sexuality to promote their music, like Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Katy Perry also do a lot of good with the money that they make from their image, like charity work, visiting sick children and making time for their fans. And this is entirely true. However the bottom line is that they are famous and in the mainstream eye because of ‘selling sex’ as a brand in the first place.
And why do we need to seek out ‘alternative’ music to find a female artist singing about something else? Well, let’s face it – sex sells. It grabs our attention and keeps us interested. But with people reflecting the media and the media reflecting people, I think it’s time to stop being blasé and to become more conscious about the messages we’re being fed 24/7 via the airwaves and TV sets. Lady GaGa seems to be the only female pop-icon making a statement other than ‘Take me, I’m yours and give me some money while you’re at it’, (whatever that statement may be… Do you know? I sure don’t but I like it!).
I think there’s hope for the future though. Beyoncé who is currently on the European leg of her Mrs. Carter tour has trained and invested time in herself and in her mind to empower girls. She sings about loving her husband Jay-Z because he is ‘loyal’, and ‘patient to her’ and she thanks him profusely for this and sings about sex between them as a loving act which is a symbol of their trust and appreciation rather than a symbol of ‘I’m doing this so you’ll like me.’ She promotes education and self respect and is adored by millions.
So what I’m trying to say is this: Listen to music you love; music that speaks to you, moves you and inspires you. Listen to music that fills you with courage and is a voice for your emotions. Listen to music you can go wild to and dance to. But also be aware of your own mind and remember that there is more to who you are as a person than how you look or than how much sex you’re having. Don’t become part of the Miley Cyrus problem and be just another girl shaking her bum for attention just because you heard it in a song.