It's About the Music

When did 2010 revert back to 1989? I could probably deal with the music shift, not that general Top 40 music has ever shifted that drastically in the last twenty years anyway, but there were plenty of good tunes floating around that we can all live with hearing.

The reversion that my aversion is focused on is much more specific, although it pertains to a bigger social issue: The stage outfits of women performers. In the last few months, we've seen the likes of Lady Gaga, Kate Perry, Xtina and Rhianna wearing outfits that hearken back to the days of Madonna expressing herself on a steam pipe on the set of Blade Runner.

I don't care about the outfits themselves. Skin is skin, a bustier is nice to look at and it's been that way since people wore clothes. As a hetero man, I like looking at them, so I'm not attacking the whole sexual morality of it all. For me, it's the reason they're wearing them that's disheartening.

When Madonna wore the cone bra, it was a feminist statement of women owning their sexuality, not hiding or covering it up, and being who they are. That's my sixth grade analysis. At the time, it was pretty bold, and it definitely gave off a sincere vibe of earnest female empowerment.

This time around, it feels different. Since we've seen this before, what statement is trying to be made? I'm not sure I can buy that wearing lingerie means something positive for a woman's emotional development anymore. I guess since I'm a father of two girls I look at it differently, but for me, it's irrelevant if a woman is wearing panties, a girdle, and suspenders because she's a strong individual, or if she is dancing at Cloud Nine Gentlemen's Club in St. Joe on a Tuesday night. It still looks the same, especially to a guy.

It might be different if it's for a play or movie- a visual medium where what you see may really mean something else. But this is music. The clothes are for the image, the stage show. Is this image really something being thought of by the artist to project an idea that relates to the music? Gaga and Perry write their own songs and lyrics- and a lot of them have nothing to do with sex and skin, so what gives? I get a feeling the idea comes from the manager, the label, the director of the video, because sex sells. It's disheartening that so little thought really went into a product that everyone can see, especially young girls. Even if there is a deeper meaning, would a ten-year old be able to figure it out?


A Stripper

What makes this a little depressing is that in the early 90s, when the indie rock and riot grrl scenes came about, you had women making music who had no concern about their sexual image, they cared about their music. Like any band with guys, they dressed the way they always dressed, and didn't feel a need to do anything but be themselves. Videos didn't have to convey any "girly" overtones. It's not that image wasn't an issue- their lack OF an image was their statement (and therefore, their image. Huh?). Regardless, it still made people focus on the music, and less on the chest. When women put the music first, and at least their clothes second, that becomes something infinitely more attractive, primal, and definitely rock.

Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl"

Who do you consider to be woman that would be rock role model for a girl? Give me Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, Neko Case, KT Tunstall, Loretta Lynn, Regina Spektor, Emmylou Harris (and the list goes on)...


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