I don’t think there’s any denying that nudity, or close to it, has become a trend amongst popular musicians of our generation. Sure, there are plenty of musicians that do not fall into this trend, and their success may be just as great. However, in order to get the headlines these days, artists should bring little to their performances besides their best-lotioned skin. It’s a sad turn that musicians have taken, and to me it is nothing more than a distraction from their real talent. Some of them, of course, have little to no talent at all, which is why they have taken to this fad. Others, I believe, have taken this turn simply because sex sells.
While it is interesting that relatively new artists such as Ke$ha and Lady Gaga consistently present themselves as scandalous, I think it is more important to look at artists that have been around for a while. The trend I look to point out is that they have gotten progressively more promiscuous with time, as the hyper-sexualization of our culture continues.
It would take days to list all of the artists that have turned to this scandalous “sex sells” strategy. What speaks the most to our culture, in my opinion, is that it works. When Miley Cyrus came out with her extremely scandalous VMA performance and her soon after music video, people were outraged. Parents ranted about how she was a bad role model. Young people ranted about how her body isn’t “good enough” for that type of exposure. What these people didn’t realize, is that they were doing exactly what Miley wanted them to do. By talking about her, they were only making her more famous. The video that everyone was so angry about now has over 300 MILLION views on YouTube! Feminists were outraged by Robin Thicke’s scandalous Blurred Lines video- which I can’t even post here because of the explicit nudity- and that has over 218 million views. Sex sells- whether we like it or not.
The only hope for our generation of popular musicians lies in the musicians that do not feel the need to conform to this. Sure, most of them show a little skin once in a while, but they recognize that it is not necessary. One performance that was refreshing to see was Katy Perry’s performance of her hit Roar at this year’s Video Music Awards. The video presents women in a way that they usually are not. Perry carries the image of a fighter- not just literally, but figuratively. Finally, something for young girls to look up to, rather than a naked girl dancing for record sales or YouTube views.
Another type of artist that provides hope is the one that relies solely on talent to sell records- what a concept! Artists such as Adele and Sara Bareilles are a breath of fresh air to any consumer who seems to be drowning in bras and underwear worn as full outfits. The difference in the image that is portrayed, as well as the content of the music, is amazing.
So musicians are doing this because it works. Plain and simple. The next question I seek to answer is how this affects youth- not just females, but males as well. By perpetuating this norm of nudity, girls are taught that this is normal and boys are taught that this is what girls should conform to. It is destructive, without a doubt, and the only way to change it is by refusing to buy into it.