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Do women in the music industry have to sell sex over talent?

CONTROVERSIAL: Rapper Lil Kim

Each week we ask two writers with contrasting opinions to answer the question...

MARISSA FORRESTER
YES!

WE ARE all familiar with the term sex sells, so why are we still debating the inevitable?

Sex has been used to sell everything. In music, starting way back with Elvis gyrating his hips, and The Beatles attracting fans because of their sex appeal. Moving to more recent times, artists like Madonna achieved success with her raunchy shows and music videos. The point is sexy images shift records. 

Our attitudes toward sexuality (not just sex) have changed significantly since the 80s. Most women don't mind watching or listening to a woman in music who is not afraid of her sexuality. 

As long as people support the music and buy into the brand of the artist, it would appear that this is the entertainment that audiences want. 

Let's face it, it’s not only men who are keeping these women in business. It’s time we move away from the ‘male gaze’ way of thinking.

It was women that used go crazy at the sight of Elvis in the 50s, and it was women who were Madonna's biggest fans. Just as today, it is girls who sing along and mimick pop stars like Rihanna. 

People shouldn’t play victim to what they choose to watch or listen to.

Beyonce is another example of a woman in music dominating the industry and achieving great success. 

You can say what you want about the booty shaking, hip thrusting choreography in next to nothing stage costumes. But credit is due, because she has found a way to market her sexiness in a not so trashy way. 

Like many women in the industry she has identified her best assets and plays on them. Not necessarily to mask her talent or as part of a marketing plan. 

She brings women together in a club with her sexy choreography and almost every women feels empowered by one at least one of her songs. Most girls are confident to tell their cheating ex boyfriend to move to the left and are more than happy now to upgrade them because of Beyonce.

Yes, we are now exposed to a more raunchy culture than before and it may come as a shock to some. However women in music are now challenging the old outdated hypersexual critique. 

To say that women in music sell sex over talent for sales may be true. Sex does sell after all.

But, this does not mean that women can’t express their sexuality with confidence, bask in their femininity, sell music successfully, all without jeopardizing their authority in that boardroom full of male music executives the very next day.

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ROSA DOHERTY
NO!

IT SEEMS some women that want to get ahead in the music industry feel they can only do it by flaunting sexy attributes first and talent and personality second. For every Adele you have 10 Rihannas and I'm not just talking about those selling music.

You only have to go to YouTube - it’s awash with budding music presenters embarrassingly flirty interviews in next to nothing outfits competing for those views. Our male industry counterparts (JLS excluded) don't do interviews with tops cut lower than Asda price at Christmas. So why is it some women feel that is all they have to show off about?

The Jump Off ( a music, sports and entertainment platform online) recently ran a online competition called Want to be A Jump Off Host? What is a Jump Off Host? According to the You Tube 'auditions tapes it’s something that involves strutting up and down with your best sexy 'look at my bum walk' and 'come to bed eyes'. 

Can I walk? Yes. Can I wiggle my bum when I walk? Yes. Would men like to see both in tandem? Yes, probably. Does this constitute as gainful employment I should feel proud of? No. I have nothing against a good bum. By all means be proud you have it, but do I want to be a walking wiggling bum girl on the internet? No. However this is an example of how women are encouraged and invited to be involved in an industry where we are capable of so much more. 

My Twitter timeline is flooded with girls (my peers) desperate to break the industry with nothing but a backside for a face. These women want to be taken seriously as presenters, singers, models (I use the word loosely) and journalists.

It saddens me even more when I look at these same young women online allowing themselves to be the butt (no pun intended) of every mediocre barley entertaining sexual joke known to mankind when actually behind this misguided mistake and misjudgment lies a wealth of ambition and passion to succeed.

Many have talent beyond a bum like JLo but they are not being encouraged to use it.

I am not yet one of the many who think ‘they are talentless girls trying to get attention.’

I believe they are making a mistake and playing a role that is far easier to play in a male centered sexually charged industry. 

*THE 'HEAD TO HEAD''COLUMN IS BY THE LONDON 360 REPORTERS
To find out more about what our reporters are up to go to www.communitychannel.org/london360
-WE ARE LONDON!

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