When I was a kid I wasn’t allowed to own a Barbie Doll. As far as my mother, an educator, was concerned no 6 year old girl needed to play house with a tall, skinny, blue eyed, big breasted plastic doll. Perhaps if there was a short, curvy, monobrowed ethnic version she would have been a little more open-minded. But there wasn’t, and Barbies were off limits. So was ‘The Brady Bunch’, but I think that was more for the cheesy scripting, predictable plot lines and Peter Brady’s constant quest to overcome puberty.
Even at a young age, while I wanted to have the same sorts of toys as the girls around me, I understood where Mum was coming from and part of me respected her decision.
As a result of that decision, and many others along the way, growing up I honestly believed that my brains and hard work could get me the job of my dreams. It’s the job that I currently enjoy, hosting a Saturday morning music show.
As a side note - 80% of the clothes that are sent over for me to wear on said show look horrendous, and won’t fit over my awkwardly large boobs let alone button up. This would probably be an issue for me if my wonderful bosses hadn’t made it clear that they hired me for my brain - not my ability to be a clothes horse. Kudos to those legends.
As well as being the best job in the world, it gives me quite the insight into the psyche of the average Aussie teenage girl. Yes, I know the names, ages and hobbies of each member of One Direction, and I can sing you just about every Bieber song word for word. I also know that the Barbie dolls of my generation, are now living, breathing things. And they are called popstars.
Three years ago, one of our most popular and revered female singers was physically abused by her boyfriend. Images of her bruised face were plastered all over the media, and we were all suitably disgusted. That was three years ago. Now when she’s not posting half naked images of herself smoking cigarettes seductively in a messy bed, she’s posting pictures of her happily reunited with this unpleasant man (who is still selling out shows and being nominated for Grammies, and who still refuses to apologise for beating her black and blue). The message that sends to our young girls is a whole different article…one that I’m yet too angry to write.
It seems even Beyoncé, who is one of the most talented performers and business women in the world can’t simply rely on her immense vocal talent to sell records. I’m not sure if you’ve seen her perform lately - but she rarely bothers wearing pants. Maybe she’s allergic. I’m not sure. Beyonce, if you’re reading this and you are in fact allergic to pants then I apologise… and wish you all the best finding a suitable anti-hystemine cream.
But ladies, I don’t wanna know what faces you pull when you have sex. It’s awkward when you wink at me through the tellie with those seductive eyes. And I’d really really love you to not dry hump the nearest surface every time you sing. Don’t call it female empowerment - because it’s not. All it’s doing is adding to the number of 12 year olds I see with their butt cheeks hanging out of their short shorts every time I go to my local Westfield.
Let’s be clear. Both of these women are incredibly talented - Beyoncé’s Superbowl performance is one of the best pop performances I’ve ever seen. These women have worked hard to release successful albums, build huge followings, and massive empires. Yes, they should be celebrated. But I’m sick of seeing them dumbed down and stripped off. Surely these intelligent, successful, talented women could be marketed solely on their intelligence, their success and their talent?
I love music. I love pop music. I will always buy it, listen to it, spread it and celebrate it. But we must start to champion the talent of these performers over their ability to look good naked. Because I bet most teen girls would rather have Rihanna’s body than Adele’s voice. But I guarantee you 20 years from now only one of them will still be selling records. And if you ask me - she’s way hotter than Rihanna anyway.