Annie Lennox. Pornography in Music Videos. Self Esteem.
What do Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson have in common? Self esteem.
They are also two tremendously talented young women, who have chosen to let their gift triumph over sleazy tricks to get attention. In an effort to find others who fall in that infinitesimal and exclusive category, I found it almost impossible to find talented artists who weren’t masturbating, having sex, opening their legs, and taking her clothes off in a video, in a movie, or on television.
As a guest host on The Talk said today, the acceptance of pornography has become a part of popular culture. Virtually every big named female artist (e.g., Beyoncé, Miley, Rihanna, and Britney) feels the need to act as provocatively as they can, in an effort to shock you into paying them attention. The need for attention at any cost has become a chronic and pathological condition. Music icon Annie Lennox says, “The music business is turning Miley, Britney, Rihanna, and Beyoncé into virtual prostitutes.”
The days are long gone when porn was found only in Red Light Districts, on n 42nd Street in Peep Show Galleries, on obscure X-rated TV stations, or in Playboy or Penthouse type magazines. Today you find porn all over music videos, on prime-time television, on cable AND network TV, in magazines selling baby food, cars, and household tools. Sexual messages are found throughout fashion magazines, sports magazines, and even cartoons. Even milk advertisements have sexual connotations.
In discussing Annie Lennox’s comments, Aisha Tyler, a co-host on The Talk said, “Feminism is about making your own choices. If these women want to use their sexuality as a tool to sell their music, it’s their choice.” That sounds a lot like the words that came out of Margo St. James back in the 70s, when she argued in favor of decriminalizing prostitution. First, I don’t believe that our foremothers, who fought so hard for our equal rights as women, foresaw porn as being the new normal in mainstream America—especially when our young girls are the victims and sometimes the provocateurs. Secondly, I don’t believe that many of these girls choose to be industry whores—or at least that was not their initial intent. I think what it boils down to is: If they want to sing or act, they must take off their clothes and act as nasty as they can, and sadly, their mothers and fathers are supporting the pimping and pandering of their daughters.
As a lawyer with a number of entertainment clients, what I see is that these girls want to be actors, models, and musicians. They want to indulge in their craft and make music that sells. Once they get sucked into the industry they realize that to sell music or get a job as an actor, they must be willing to do ANYTHING asked of them. Sex is often the ticket to entry. Everything is about making money, and smart savvy business people understand that sex makes money. That’s prostitution. Everything sells better with sex. Period. These women are made to believe that if they choose not to participate, there are thousands of other equally talented girls who will do what is expected. Perhaps some folks see this as a choice; I see it as a bribe.
I can almost pinpoint when the tide turned in music. Madonna was the catalyst; she opened Pandora’s Box and it has never been the same. Since then hundreds of girls wanted to be Madge. Britney Spears attributes some of her success to Madonna. She was her role model. Now, Miley speaks of Britney as her inspiration. Anyone who says TV, movies, and music videos don’t influence kids is simply stupid or sly as a fox.
What do you think about sex in music videos, on TV, and in the movies?
I’m Francine Ward, attorney, speaker, and author stirring the pot. Join the conversation on my Esteemable Acts Facebook Fan Page, on my Esteemable Acts Twitter Page, or in one of my LinkedIn Groups.