How the most successful and influential female music artists contribute to society’s negative perception of women
Elijah Muhammad once said that “no nation can rise higher than its woman” and when you think about it, that makes perfect sense. The importance of women to society and indeed the world can never be over stated. They are our mothers, our carers and our first teachers. Without women not one of us would be here.
However, today’s oversexed music industry seems intent on giving viewers the impression that women are little more than sex objects to be lusted after.
While many have blamed rappers and male R&B singers for creating this perception of women, few have examined the role female artists have played in diminishing the value of women in the minds of young viewers.
The likes of Rihanna, Beyonce and Nicki Minaj are among the biggest stars in the industry and are idolised by millions of young women who see them as the epitome of success. However what kind of role models are they?
Despite being branded as powerful and independent women, few appreciate them for the contents of their mind. Each of them routinely perform in the skimpiest of garments and as a result their talent plays a supporting role to their sexual appeal.
Beyonce is known across the world for being “booty-licious” and often leaves little to the imagination in music videos and her live shows.
Nicki Minaj has become famous for her vulgar lyrics about bi-sexual adventures and tradition of giving lap dances to fans at her shows. Earlier this year she was fined by Jamaican authorities for her heavy use of profanity and sexual dance moves during a performance at the Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay.
Rihanna is well known for the graphic sexual content present in her songs such as the erotic “S&M” and “Rude boy” in which she challenges a man to sexually satisfy her.
In December of last year during a pre-watershed performance on the “X-factor” television show, she had her male back-up dancers remove her dressing gown, revealing a strapless bra and her underwear.
This week she made international news after being ordered to cover up or leave by the landowner during a video shoot on a farm in Ireland after stripping down to a bandana bra. While the 61 year old farmer was disgusted, her actions are deemed socially acceptable by the media and the general public.
Today, young women are following the examples of these role models.At increasingly younger ages, they flaunt their figures by dressing in the most revealing of garments. They are pressured into promiscuous party lifestyles in order to keep up with the trends and current culture.Virtue and self-worth are now at an all-time low because women of such standards are rarely if ever promoted.
Wonderfully talented singers such as Jill Scott, Janelle Monae and Jasmine Sullivan are somewhat successful but will never achieve the global superstar status of their regularly half-naked contemporaries. Those who are willing to strip down and devalue themselves are always the most successful and recognised.
As Nation of Islam leader Minister Farrakhan explained in a lecture entitled the Divine value of women earlier this month, women have been made to think their “bossom and backside” are their “stock in trade”.
Earlier this year, Claudia Aderotimi, a 20 year old aspiring rapper and dancer died during an illegal operation to increase the size of her backside. The risky procedure is banned in the UK as it requires silicone to be injected into the buttocks and this man made material is often rejected by the body due to it being an unnatural substance. However this young lady was prepared to put her life on the line as she believed that the implants would “make her famous”.
This is a tragic example of the consequences of the culture that the aforementioned popular artists promote. Miss Aderotimi lost her life because she and many young women like her have been taught that a woman’s sexual appeal is her only “ticket” in life.
Last year, Rihanna took to social networking site twitter to explain that she was “not a parent” and as such had no responsibility to those who see her as a role-model. As far as she’s concerned her music and style of performing is a reflection of “true society”.
Now if this is the case, what kind of society are we living in? These so-called stars have little or no interest in the effects that their behaviour has on young viewers.
For these artists and their record labels it’s about making money and the saying “sex sells” hold especially true in the music industry.
Regulatory bodies such as Ofcom, whose sole purpose is to monitor the media industry have extremely low standards.
In response to thousands of complaints following Rihanna’s risqué performance on the Xfactor which was then followed by Christina Aguilera who performed in an extremely short skirt with lingerie clad backing singers, Ofcom charged neither of them. Despite the fact that it was before the watershed, Ofcom claimed that both performances were “editorially justified” and only guilty of conveying “mild sexual overtones”.
Whether broadcasters, record labels or the artists agree or not, female performers have a responsibility to young viewers. How many female doctors or architects are known around the world? How many hard working mothers and teachers receive the recognition they deserve?
The likes of Beyonce, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj among others are the most famous women in the world. They have the power to shape the perception of women in the eyes of the general public as well as unparalled influence on young women. Nonetheless, they will continue to mis-educate our precious youth until we put a stop to it.
The sexualisation of the music industry is validated only by our acceptance of it. It’s time for us to stop supporting artists who portray themselves and by extension women as a whole in such a negative light by no longer purchasing their music or watching their dirty music videos. We need to stand against it, first and foremost in our own households.
Our daughters, sisters and nieces should be made aware that these so-called stars are essentially selling their bodies for money and fame. We should make it clear that they are not role models to be admired but that they should be frowned upon and ignored.
Perhaps then young girls such as Claudia Aderotimi would understand that a woman’s worth is not determined by the shape of her body but by the contents of her heart and mind.