Why This Pop Star Will Never Take Her Clothes Off In Public

charlotte-church

Welsh pop music sensation, Charlotte Church, who has been in the public eye since a young age has already seen a lot of things in her 27 years so far.

She originally started out in the classical music world, and in 2007, just as she started branching out into the pop world, she had already sold over 10 million albums worldwide at the age of 21. What a crazy “coming of age” gift to receive!

But frankly, she is fed up. Being in the global spotlight for so long, you definitely see trends, attitudes and industry directions come and go. While she has been lucky enough to not only have a successful music career, but now as a TV presenter in England, she has a huge problem with the way women are portrayed in popular music.

Church delivered the annual John Peel Lecture for British Radio Station BBC 6 recently, and it was a pointed articulation of what Charlotte observes as dangerous trends for women, as well as challenging to the way we all think when it comes to pop culture and the portrayal of women. For those not familiar, the John Peel lecture was named after BBC radio’s longest serving music DJ’s who had a massive influence on pop culture in British life. Following his death in 2004 at the age of 65, the BBC created a series of lectures in his honor.

The BBC 6 Music John Peel Lecture  is a keynote speech given by a leading figure in music and/or broadcasting. The John Peel Lecture aims to discuss and create insight into music and music-related media from the past, present or future. So Charlotte’s speech was relevant and timely.

Being a teenager when she started in the Classical music genre, things were a lot more innocent and “clean”, but as she got older the pressure to promote her sexual side grew increasingly.

The industry always told her, “don’t worry, it’ll look classy, it’ll look artistic,” she says during the speech.

She goes on to say that she always felt uncomfortable and managed to expressed this to industry folk, but was met with replies which reminded her of the money and time being spent on her to become a star. Oh ok, no worries, better take your clothes off then!”This is what happens when someone is thrust into the limelight as a child star by a male-dominated music industry with a juvenile perspective on gender and sexuality,” she said.
Charlotte ChurchShe started off the speech by sharing an important observation, that women in pop music seem to be forced to fit into three key roles:”One of the Girls’ Girls, the Victim/Torch Singer, and the Unattainable Sexbot. All of which do women little justice.”

“The One of the Girls’ Girls role is a painfully thin reduction of feminism that generally seems to point to a world where, ‘so long as you can hang out with your girls it’s possible to sort of wave away the evils that men do.’  This denigrates women and men equally, and yet is commonly lauded for being empowering.”

“The Victim/Torch Singer can be divided into the sexy victim (ie, Natalie Imbruglia in the ‘Torn’ video) and the not-so-sexy victim.  One female artist who does not use her sexuality to sell records is Adele.  However, lyrically, her songs are almost without exception written from the perspective of the wronged woman, an archetype as old as time.  Someone who has been let down by the men around her, and is subsequently in a perpetual state of despair.”

“But to me, the Unattainable Sexbot is most commonly employed and most damaging, a role that is also claimed to be an empowering one.  The irony behind this is that the women filling these roles are often very young, often previous child stars or Disney tweens, who are simply trying to get along in an industry glamorized to be the most desirable career for young women.  They are encouraged to present themselves as hyper-sexualized, unrealistic, cartoonish, as objects, reducing female sexuality to a prize you can win.”

Charlotte questions whether the media such as radio stations, youtube, vimeo and the like are responsible for promoting role models who aren’t positive for their young audience. And yes, she shares her thoughts on Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ and why young pop stars think over exposing their sexuality is the ultimate form of freedom and proof of adulthood. Listen to this speech, share it with your girlfriends and please share your thoughts below. It is crucial for young women to be questioning the things thrust upon us by the media, especially when it comes to the female role models and what we choose to give attention to.

Well done Charlotte for choosing accepting the John Peel Lecture offer and being willing to speak out about where we need to improve. While there may be points some of us disagree with, as sexuality is a topic that has differing opinions across the board, good on her for using her platform to challenge the way we think and hopefully influence the minds of young girls and decision makers in the music industry.

7 Comments

  1. Smart young woman. She is correct too, women don’t want to be viewed as sex objects, but what some of these artists are doing, portrays them as one. It sends the wrong message to younger fans, both boys and girls. I hope more artists speak out about this and put their foot down.

  2. God for her! After all female nudity is disgusting and their flesh hidden away at all times.

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