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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Women in the music industry

Some of the biggest names in music right now are female. Adele, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Pink, Katy Perry... the list is endless. They've all experienced a great deal of success over the years, but I feel as though the sexualisation of (or, in some cases, society's attempt to sexualise) these artists and their music has been a constant throughout their careers. Whether it's through the use of raunchy magazine photoshoots, suggestive lyrics, music videos that are essentially borderline porn or just a fixation on the artist's looks, female artists are being portrayed as little more than sexual objects.

And it seems as though certain stars are comfortable with that.

Rihanna, in particular, appears to have no problem with the idea. Her song 'S&M', as well as the controversial music video to go along with it, is all about sex. Fair enough. If female artists want to sing about sex, then they should be given the opportunity to do so without being cruelly labelled. Male artists can, have and will continue to sing songs about sex, some highly derogatory, and yet, we allow them to get away with it, even though we refuse to do the same with female artists. The gender bias never fails to confuse me. 

With the likes of Katy Perry and Rihanna, they have allowed themselves to be sexualised in their music videos. Pop, in general, is becoming a very sexualised genre. Increasingly so, because it feels like pop stars are always on the look out to out perform each other. Sadly, this is very rarely done through the use of their music, but rather through the craziness of their music videos or how controversial they can be on their social networking sites. 

So, we have artists like these on one end of the spectrum, who allow themselves to be judged through the sexual nature of their music and/or music videos. On the other end of the spectrum, we have artists like Adele.

Adele has always been focused on her music. She doesn't feel the need to dress provocatively in her music videos. Yet, people still want to focus on her appearance. They point out that she doesn't look like your average chart topper. At this point, I like to remind them that she isn't your average chart topper. For one, she's won so many awards that wikipedia had to make a seperate page to accommodate for them all. Both critically and commercially  she's achieved more than many artists could ever dream of. But derogatory terms are still thrown about by people who are intimidated by her success or insulted by her weight. It's sickening to read, in all honesty. 

I think part of the problem is that we put a lot of pressure on female artists. Not only do they have to perform catchy songs, they have to look fantastic at all times, they have got to be nice, they have got to be down to earth, they need to be funny, and keep their fans in mind at all times. Basically, we want perfection. 

Which is ridiculous. 

We should be focusing more on the artist's music, rather than their personality or looks. Social networking sites and the media make it so tempting to look past the music entirely and focus solely on the person behind it, but in reality, what is being portrayed is merely a shadow of their actual self. It is the music that defines them, and the music that will end up making a significant impact on your life.

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