For example, rapper Lil’ Kim, an artist with graphic sexual lyrics, is either praised for being outspoken, or is deemed a “slut” for being so explicit. On the flip side, an artist with not so sexual lyrics, like Taylor Swift, is either viewed as a great role model because she’s so “clean,” or gets criticized for not being “mature enough” or is accused of being in denial about her sexuality. When these types of artists come under the microscope of feminists or other women, similar judgments are made and it’s debated if the artist is helping or hurting the female community.
“Sexually overt” female artists have long argued that they are freeing and empowering women because they’re encouraging them to embrace their bodies, their sexuality and their desires. Some have also said that they are leveling the playing field, as it has always been more acceptable for men in the industry to be openly sexual. They claim that they are breaking down unfair double standards about gender and sexuality. Some from this side view their opposite female counterparts as sexually repressed, not as comfortable with their bodies, and conforming to the archaic expectations of men and society that women should be sexually conservative.
“Sexually reserved” female artists sometimes argue that being so sexually overt encourages sexual irresponsibility and promiscuity versus sexual empowerment, and that their counterparts’ behavior reinforces the objectification of women in entertainment. They feel that do not project sexual repression, but self-respect for one’s body and that they are a more positive influence on the female community. Some regard being overt as classless and a gimmick to sell albums. They feel that through their actions, they can reduce the pressure on women to exploit themselves in the industry.
I have much to say about all of this. First, I would like to highlight that BOTH groups of recording artists are criticized. They criticize one another, and they’re criticized by society as a whole. I feel BOTH sides have the same goal: to empower women and serve the female community; they just have different ideas on how to do that. I consider myself to be a feminist and fairly sexually open. Generally, I agree with and support the stance of the “sexually reserved” artists, HOWEVER, I do understand why the “sexually overt” female artists take the stance that they do and I agree with some of their ideas (I’ve put quotation marks around sexually overt/reserved because those are the labels that are used. The women who have been tagged with that label may or may not find that label fitting).
Me on the “Overts”
I’m all for turning stereotypes and double standards on their heads and equalizing things between men and women. I also believe sexual candidness is better than sexual denial or ignorance, and that women should embrace their sexuality. What I differ with the “overts” about is their approach. When it comes to flipping stereotypes and standards, I don’t think the overts are always successful. In some cases, “overts” try to flip things by doing things identical to how male recording artists do them. Mimicking people SOMETIMES just reinforces things instead of eliminate them. For example, I heard one female recording artist say that “men rap and sing about sleeping around, and they’re looked at as more sexually desirable and experienced, while women who sleep around are looked at as hoes. If we continue to rap and sing about our sexual experiences in an alluring manor and do it more often, it’s going to be less taboo for us to do so, and we won’t get looked at as hoes.” With this particular example, what are you leveling the playing field to do? You’re trying to get equal rights to sleep around? I guess depending on your opinion on whether or not “sleeping around” is a great thing, this may or may not be an equal right you want and would feel victorious with. I personally don’t support promiscuity for either gender, so a woman fighting for my right to be promiscuous is not something I’m interested in.
When it comes to sexual candidness, I don’t always agree with the degree and nature of the candidness of “overts.” Rapper Trina gloated about how she would make a man perform a sexual act on her while she was menstruating and how, if she had the opportunity to be a virgin again, she would start having sex at the age of ten in the song “The Baddest B****.” I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t see how that type of sexual candidness is doing anything for society or for the female community. Another concern I have with the candidness of “overts” is that some artists make sex their primary platform and depending on how they emphasize that platform, they run the risk of being labeled as “the girl who makes all those freaky songs.” You can overemphasize sex and do it in such a way where people miss your overall point and only focus on the sexuality. You don’t bust your tail in this industry just so people will define you as the “kinky girl” instead of the talented or groundbreaking artist.
I also disagree with the idea that all women who are sexually reserved are not comfortable with their bodies or sexuality. Yes, some indeed are, but not all. I wouldn’t even say most.
Me on the “Reserveds”
As I said before, I largely agree with their standpoint. What I disagree with is the idea that all women that are sexually overt are sexually promiscuous or promoting it. I’ve met many a sexually open woman that was not a “slut.”
I do believe that there are female artists that use sex as a gimmick, and the more female artists we have that are not OVERLY sexually illicit, we can prove that you do not have to exploit yourself or take off your clothes to make it in this industry.
The End lol.