Talking Point: Is pop porn?

01 March 2010

Lady Gaga in her second-skin leotards, Cheryl Cole in trousers cut to the crotch, Rihanna in bondage gear a page three model would shirk at. Nudity in the name of art? Or women exploited as ‘decorative objects?’ Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, for one, thinks it’s the latter and says videos of women in skimpy outfits should be banned before the watershed. She says female pop stars, out to make headlines from their outfits, are pushing the limits of what's socially acceptable. ‘It’s a drip, drip effect,’ she said, ‘The previously unthinkable becomes widely acceptable.’

To a degree we can understand where she’s coming from. Remember when Lady Gaga first burst onto the scene. 'Oh my God!' we cried, 'Can she go out in that?' Now, though her outfits get smaller and skimpier (with just a fig leaf scrap of lace covering her modesty), we’re so immune to her flashing the flesh, it’s like ‘oh there’s that Lady Gaga again. Yawn.’

But at least we’re got enough experience behind us not to go out and copy her looks (as if we could pull it off anyway). It’s the under eighteens who are, apparently, being coerced.

'Children and young people are not only exposed to increasing amounts of hypersexualised images,’ said Dr Linda, ‘They are also sold the idea that they have to look sexy and hot. They are facing pressures that children in the past simply did not have to face.’

But, historically, isn’t the best music often the most controversial? Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Relax’, The Prodigy’s ‘Smack My Bitch Up’, The Sex Pistols' ‘God Save the Queen’ – the list of bands who have engaged the PC brigade goes on. Back in 1990, MTV banned Madonna’s 'Justify My Love' video for being too raunchy and forty years ago, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin’s 'Je T’aime' was the first number one to be banned, after its lyrics were deemed too inflammatory (even for the swinging sixties).

Have popstars always pushed the boundaries of fashion, manners and social decorum? Or has this generation of stars crossed the line from entertaining to X-rated? You tell us…

By Amy Molloy


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