Dirty dancing…and it ain’t with Patrick Swayze.

February 6, 2012

The following article appeared in the paper yesterday – a perfect follow-on to my last post.

It hits the nail on the head.

How have we allowed the music industry to portray women in such a soulless demeaning way?

OK. Do you agree?

I’m going to go down Nostalgia Avenue again – Sorry, I can’t help it…

Music and I have always had a close love affair. My earliest memories were of my best friend, Katy, and I preparing endless dance routines in her living room. It had a perfectly placed mirror to be able to watch the ‘magic’ unfold – our best work being a fabulously choreographed number to ‘Copacobana!’
Our dance moves were heavily steeped in 70s disco influences…and we looked fantastic! This music love affair continued with the birth of the walkman – a device I HAD to have. Music everywhere I went? How wonderful! In Year 11, I worked in a chicken shop (called ‘The Game Cock’….I kid you not), to pay for said walkman. My Duran Duran cassettes certainly got a work out…

At this time, music videos really took off. Of course there were music videos before, but they started to take on a new life – it wasn’t just an artist standing in front of a microphone and singing; stories started to be told through the videos.

I LOVED it. There was nothing like watching Countdown on a Sunday night (the cause for GREAT conversation on the bus the next day) or Sounds on a Saturday morning. I remember the pure excitement of waiting for the premier showing of a video….it was simply awesome….*sigh*

Now, I don’t think I sound the same as parents of the day, shielding their burning eyes from the thrusting pelvis of a certain Elvis Presley – I actually love some dance music, House in particular – really love them. I do, however, feel that things have definitely gone down a dark road for women in music videos. The worst part is that many women artists are perpetuating this image.

Pussycat Dolls – enough said. I always felt that they sent out very confusing messages to women – not needing a man being the main message in one song, to tormenting a boy whose girlfriend is not “hot” like her (or a “freak” like her), to practically begging a man to “loosen up her buttons”. But one thing always stayed the same – their videos were like soft porn.

On a different branch, one of the things I feel most disappointed with, is the fact that female artists that made it BIG being ‘wholesome’ and gained a very large, young fan base, all turned to soft porn to sell more albums. The unfortunate part, is that as they were watching the older market of consumers they could ensnare to buy their music (with means that had nothing to do with music), they turned their backs on the young ones, who continued to watch…and learn.

The first words of Christina Aguilera’s song ‘Dirty’ are of a man saying, “Dirty, Filthy, Nasty.” There’s that word again – dirty.

The accompanying video was just what they guys wanted to see – Christina in a dark and dingy boxing ring being cheered on by beefy men, as she danced as though she were in a strip show…I don’t really think it was for us. This was at a time when all of this was starting to warm up.

Here’s a shot of her from around the same time.

Of course there was also Britney – she who performed a lap dance every night of her last world tour, to a male audience member (amongst other things):

Both these women have sons. They will ALWAYS be able to access images of their mothers in this way….forever. It’s such a shame that the allure of more money took precedence over anything else. I wonder if they regret it, now that they’re mothers.

So, there are still music videos on a Saturday morning – but my daughters can’t watch them. Which is a real BUMMER. I want my girls and their future ‘Katy’ dancing to great songs in the living room.

I would love to think that there is a way to make a change with this.

Question #11: How is change possible, when women are helping perpetuate the soft porn image in their videos?

4 Responses to “Dirty dancing…and it ain’t with Patrick Swayze.”

  1. VPR said

    I agree with you. I also remember doing dance routines at school and they were nothing like today.
    I have a 10 yr old daughter and there is so much I cannot let her watch or listen to.The messages that have come from these music videos take us back 100yrs. I have seem clips with women chained and in cages and at mens feet in subjugation .. not submission which is voluntary …
    They are definitely soft porn, some of it no so soft…
    there is little classification and almost no regulation about when and where they can be played.
    And the saddest thing is that women are doing this to each other having being sold the great con, that it is empowerment. when really we have put ourselves exactly where the men want us to be. we just haven’t realised it yet ,and they are laughing at us!

    • questionsforwomen said

      Yes, Yes and Yes! That’s the core of the problem – that whatever we see, it’s women saying, “OK”. My daughter’s 9 yrs old – On Sat morning, Rage was still showing some oldies and we got to see Rod Stewart’s, ‘Young Hearts’ (be free tonight). All the girls in the video were wearing jeans and t-shirts. JEANS! Who could have imagined! I called my daughter in and we had a boogie! It was nice.

  2. eightiesrock@hotmail.com said

    If it’s any consolation, any guy who actually goes to a britney concert probably didn’t even enjoy the lap dance.

    It’s a shame these bands might affect young girls behaviour but it’s probably not as bad as you think-for example, there’s millions of guys out there who would’ve loved to have been slash, but we didn’t all develop heroine addictions.

    Besides, guys find the clips boring after a while, they are all the same. The best clip I’ve seen lately was Born to Die which had no nudity at all.

    Maybe an 8 year old girl would disagree though.

    Great that you’re writing a blog Paula!

    • questionsforwomen said

      I think the guy(s) at the Britney concert were picked especially for their beefy, hetero-ness…they certainly seemed to enjoy it.
      Guys wanting to be Slash is different – in the sense that you don’t HAVE to be a heroine addict to be a rock star (just to use your example) BUT I think women are only being portrayed ONE way and that is – to be a success you have to appear like you’re not only gagging for it but to be an expert in how to pleasure a man.
      Guys our age were raised in a different time, as they weren’t saturated with the porn that’s available now – and yes, they probably/may think it’s boring – but unfortunately our youth ARE being saturated with these images and it really needs to stop.
      Of course, there are many GREAT artists who are being true to themselves and are wonderful – on the whole, though, they’re not in the pop culture our kids are immersed in.
      Thank you SO much for your comment and supportive last sentence! *big smile*

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