Into My Mind

Saturday, June 04, 2005

.........Barely There......

Barely There

It's no secret that female recording artists have used their sexuality to sell records. The mother of reinvention, Madonna, has been doing it for over twenty years. So, why are people still stunned when Christina Aguilera arrives to an award show wearing a halter top and a miniskirt?

Celebrities are the LAST people that should be viewed as role models. They live a life of excess and luxury. Therefore, they have their own set of rules. This is can be confirmed by the certain television shows like “The Fabulous of..” and “It's Good to Be...” However, what people seem to forget is that celebrities are human and humans make mistakes. The difference between Robert Downey Jr. and John Doe is that Robert lives his life in the public eye. When he messes up, the press has a field day. The same can be said about Britney Spears, when pictures of her smoking were printed in every tabloid it caused a big controversy. If she were not Britney Spears the superstar, she would just be another smoker.

The minute a celebrity falls from grace, he or she immediately gets condemned and in some cases they lose their role model title. This is just absurd because everyone has their flaws and if a role model is someone that is perfect or close to it, then a role model is just an idea and not an actual person. People are going to live their lives the way they want to despite what others say or do and yes, celebrities are people too.

Frankly, it gets tiring to constantly hear parents blaming Britney or Christina for the way their seven-year-old daughter dresses. Christina and Britney do not wear revealing clothing when they are out on the streets and this is obvious from the numerous paparazzi photos and video footage that is taken of them. At most, they will be seen wearing a halter top or a short skirt. The outfits they wear on stage or on magazine covers are costumes; it's just for show. Entertainers are paid to perform for people, nothing else. It's not their job to raise America's children; that is the parents’ responsibility. Parents should not blame a pop princess because they can't control the way their own child dresses.

It's amusing how Britney and Christina get called “whores” or “sluts” by the media and parents whenever they wear a provocative outfit, but when Beyonce Knowles does the same, it's “Sexy” as some critics have said. Beyonce is not that much different than Britney and Christina. In fact, Christina is a year older than Beyonce while Britney is four months younger. The songstresses have topped the pop charts since their late teens, each has their own dolls, they' have all worn revealing clothing and have posed on the same magazine covers. The only difference is that Beyonce is African American while Christina and Britney are Caucasian.

When Britney wore her now infamous flesh colored, rhinestone covered two-piece costume at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards, The New York Post called her a “A stripper without a pole.” In 2003, Christina wore nothing but a guitar on the cover of Rollingstone magazine, she was labeled a “whore”. For her 2001 Grammy performance, Beyonce, much like Britney, stripped down to a green bikini top and hot pants and no one said a word. After the performance, she accepted a Grammy while still wearing the barely there outfit. Christina arrived at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards wearing a revealing halter top and miniskirt that was very similar to one worn by Beyonce in Stuff magazine a year before. Yet, as expected Beyonce escaped criticism while Christina was called a “hooker” by the press. It's completely unfair how Beyonce can get away with being scantily clad but Britney and Christina cannot.

Since the beginning of their careers, Britney and Christina have always been criticized for being overtly sexual in their music videos, photographs and with their music. Beyonce's most recent album has a number of songs that are equally provocative. In the music video for “Baby Boy” Beyonce's upper torso is barely covered by a skimpy halter top as she seductively writhes around on a bed. While she is gyrating, her sweaty body, she is crooning about how she wants her lover to “fulfill her fantasy”. Yet, she received no criticism whatsoever. Christina Aguilera's music video for “Dirrty” was called “Pornographic.”

Unlike Britney and Christina, Beyonce has refused to comment on her sex life when asked by the press. However, there are various songs on her solo debut album Dangerously In Love,( penned by her) that are sexually suggestive. On the song “Baby Boy”, she croons about how she wants her lover to “fulfill” her “fantasy” and on the track “Naughty Girl” she sings about how a specific man is making her feel “nasty” and she likes it! The hit “Independent Women” contains this provocative line, “Only ring your celly when I’m feeling lonely/When it’s over, please get up and leave.” None of her songs have been skewered by the press and parents like Christina’s “Dirrty” or Britney’s “Slave 4 U.” It’s as if Beyonce has a free pass and while her Caucasian peers are constantly being condemned for committing the same “crimes.”

Minorities, especially women, are frequently featured in many hip hop videos wearing next to nothing as men are pouring bottles of Cristal all over them. Also, talk shows like Maury Povich or Jerry Springer feature minority women wearing next to nothing and yet, both of these shows have remained on the air for years. This image of minority women being degraded by men is so common that society is almost desensitized by it. Female rapper Lil’ Kim is constantly expected to be wearing barely there outfits whenever she arrives to an event. So, when Beyonce wears a see through diamond link top on the cover of her album, it does not even register with anyone, not even with conservative Christian family groups who have constantly attacked Britney and Christina and definitely not with the critics. One can only imagine the kind of reaction Britney would get if she did the same.

All three women are extremely talented and are very smart businesswomen. They are just using the same tactics that their predecessors like Madonna and Janet Jackson have done before them. Female sexuality is a very powerful weapon in the entertainment industry because it’s been proven many times that sex does sell and it sells really, really well. However, its use should not be condemned based on an individual’s age or race. If anything, these young ladies should be admired for their success and ambition. Each of these young ladies is living proof that goals can be accomplished, despite one’s age, gender, and race. Their determination is what little girls around the world should strive for and emulate, not their clothing. They each have worked so hard to get where they are at today. Their talent should get more recognition than their clothing and personal life. But in today's celebrity obsessed society, this seems very unlikely.


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