Our daughters, the little ladies of the world, are idolising (and emulating) pop stars like this:
A performer comes onto the stage. If they look ordinary, maybe interesting, but not particularly sexy – we wait for them to start performing and then judge them on that. When a pop star comes on stage in a sequin bikini, we judge them on what they’re wearing. And then we hear that they’re singing. But we remain a lot more focused on their booty and bouncing breasts.
Why? Because we’re not used to seeing women prancing around in bikinis when we’re not on the beach.
Now add to that some pornographic poses (leaning forward, ready for someone to take them from behind, sucking their fingers) and we’ve got a live porn show. Being watched by millions of little girls.
What will those girls think when they’re watching Rihanna, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus perform? They’ll think that in order to be as successful (and famous: most little girls want to be famous) as this woman they’ll need to plaster themselves in make-up, rip of their clothes, pose like a pornstar and strut around the place looking like they’re ready to be fucked. Except they don’t even know what sex is because they’re 8 or even 6 years old.
Rihanna’s response to this issue (that young girls idolise her and that the way she behaves and dresses isn’t appropriate for innocent eyes) is that she never asked young girls to look up to her. Mature.
Beyonce’s response is that she’s a strong, independent woman – living off her own $$$. Yes, and that’s great, but does it take a breast-and-bum baring get-up to achieve that? And, if so, isn’t it then less about the musical talent and more about the body? In which case – selling your body for profit isn’t really so strong and independent, and isn’t the message we want to be sending out.
And I’ve saved the most recent – Miley Cyrus – for last. Because it’s also the most controversial. This is why…
Miley Cyrus started out as an actress in the Disney series Hannah Montana. Her character leads a double life: Miley Stewart by day and pop star Hannah Montana by night. When Cyrus ceased filming the series, she wanted to launch her own pop career and decided (or, more likely – was told by MALE management) that she needed to sex herself up to sell records.
The problem was, Cyrus still had all those little girls idolising her, dressing like her and wanting to be her. And she couldn’t simply shred them as she shredded her clothes. Little people are often the most fanatical fans. They’re in it for the long haul. So when she started twerking (shaking her arse up and down in a sexually provocative manner) at the VMA Awards, those girls (and their parents) were a bit shocked. Let’s be honest, we all were. And then she released the video for Wrecking Ball – see here – in which she’s naked, sucking a sledgehammer like it’s a penis. This was Sinead O’Connor’s response.
Cyrus already had an established fan base of little people, so surely has an obligation to be a good role model. But, to be honest, just because Beyonce and RiRi didn’t launch careers as TV characters aimed at girls, they need to recognise their audience and check the messages they’re sending out too. And I’ve got this far having barely even mentioned their music. Why? Because all attention is focused on their sexual allure, and – seemingly – a lot less on their music.
Do we want our daughters growing up thinking that being talented is the aim, or being dressed like a pornstar?