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11.18.2009

Feature: Sex Sells: The Descent of Popular Music

I recently came across the latest Beyonce video, "Video Phone," and needless to say, I've become increasingly disheartened by the downward spiral of popular music. The video was laced with all types of gyration, provocation, and sexually suggestive lyrics and movements. Which, of course, occurred in the first few seconds of the video.

Surprisingly, one mom and former avid Beyonce fan, let MTV and Beyonce know exactly how she felt about the video. Her comment was posted on the forum below the video and she openly spoke of her disgust with the music video. Furthermore, she challenged Beyonce to consider the message that her video would send to her own children one day. But above all, this mom absolutely won my heart when she made a bold statement, which was something to the effect of, "Beyonce, you have a beautiful voice and you don't need to use your body to sell records. I know sex sells but don't sell out. "

I never quite made it through the entire music video because I couldn't help but think that 20 years ago, this video would have been X- rated, and never would have made it to mainstream television. They may have shown it on a pay-per-view music television channel, like The Box. You all remember The Box, that cable station where you could order any video, especially those with various sexual innuendos and risque lyrics not shown on VH1 or MTV. Like many curious children, my siblings and I would try to catch the video previews to see if they would at least let some PG-13 footage slip through the cracks. But much to our dismay, the previews were always subtle and clean.

Today, the attire for popular music has become the unnervingly skintight- spandex sequined leotard, 5 inch stilettos, plunging necklines, and multiple cut-outs. Female artists like Beyonce, who started out in the business with more tame images, often leaning towards cute and tasteful, have long left the role model road and joined the likes of their pop music predecessors. In the realm of sex appeal and selling records, less is more, sex sells and you've got to put it out to get paid. Its an unarguable fact that Beyonce is one of the hardest working, innovative, corporately endorsed female musicians of this decade. Celebrities like Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, and Shakira each have at least one song or music video that is reminiscent of the songstress, proving that she is indeed often imitated but never duplicated.

However, when the tween crowd progressively wears less clothing, the pregnancy rate soar higher, television shows, advertisement billboards, and commercials all say sex sells so get sexy, its difficult to differentiate whether art imitates life or life imitates art. In the next 20 years all curse words will most likely be permitted on basic cable television, more unfiltered and unadulterated sex scenes and nudity will seep into mainstream media, and a 13 year old can watch an R-rated movie with nothing short of a high school identification card. Its a scary thought, but this is where we're heading towards, and its up to us to stand up for classic morals and ethics before raising socially conscious and responsible children become almost impossible.


Images from:
Carina100
Real Talk NY
MTV.Com

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