Charlotte Church on women in the music business, in this year’s BBC Radio 6 Music John Peel Lecture at the Radio Academy Radio Festival in Salford in October. (Salford! I’ve been to Salford. Kind of. I crossed a bridge into it, then crossed back.) She pulls no punches.
- I’d like you to imagine a world in which male musicians are routinely expected to act as submissive sex objects.
Picture Beyonce’s husband Jay Z stripped down to a T-back bikini thong, sex-kittening his way through a boulevard of suited and booted women for their pleasure.
Or Britney Spears’s Ex Justin Timberlake, in buttock-clenching denim hot pants, writhing on the bonnet of a pink chevy, explaining to his audience how he’d like to be their teenage dream.
Before we all get a little too hot beneath the gusset, of course, these scenarios are not likely to become reality, unless for comedy’s sake.
- The reason for this is that these are roles that the music industry has carved out specifically for women.
It is a male dominated industry, with a juvenile perspective on gender and sexuality.
Like so many other industries…TV and movies for example. Oh look, that’s all of pop culture accounted for.
When I was 19 or 20, I found myself in this position, being pressured into wearing more and more revealing outfits and the lines that I had spun at me again and again (generally by middle aged men) were
“you look great you’ve got a great body why not show it off?”
“Don’t worry it’ll look classy. It’ll look artistic.”
I felt deeply uncomfortable about the whole thing, but was often reminded by record label executives just whose money was being spent.
Whilst I can’t defer all blame away from myself, I was barely out of my teenage years, and the consequence of this portrayal of me is that now I am frequently abused on social media, being called ‘slut’, ‘whore’ and a catalogue of other indignities that I’m sure you’re also sadly very familiar with.
I am, though for the opposite reasons; but both “reasons” are fundamentally the same despite the opposition.
H/t Jen Phillips