Following controversial videos by Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, Lennox hits out at trend for female performers to behave like, 'pimp and prostitute at the same time'
c/o Guardian music theguardian.com, Tuesday 8 October 2013
Dismayed … Annie Lennox attacks 'highly styled pornography' peddled by record companies.
Annie Lennox has attacked the sexual imagery of music videos, saying many are now "pornographic". Talking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the former Eurythmics singer said: "I'm all for freedom of expression, but this is clearly one step beyond, and it's clearly into the realm of porn."
Lennox first spoke out on the subject on Saturday, when she posted a critique of the current style of pop videos on her Facebook page. "I have to say that I'm disturbed and dismayed by the recent spate of overtly sexualised performances and videos," she wrote. "You know the ones I'm talking about. It seems obvious that certain record companies are peddling highly styled pornography with musical accompaniment …
"It's depressing to see how these performers are so eager to push this new level of low. Their assumption seems to be that misogyny – utilised and displayed through oneself – is totally fine, as long as you are the one creating it. As if it's all justified by how many millions of dollars and YouTube hits you get from behaving like pimp and prostitute at the same time. It's a glorified and monetised form of self harm."
She followed that with a clarification on Sunday. "There is absolutely nothing 'wrong' about our sexuality or sensuality per se. But if a performing artist has an audience of impressionable young fans and they want to present a soft porn video or highly sexualised live performance, then it needs to qualify as such and be X-rated, for adults only. I'm talking from the perspective of the parents of those young fans. The whole thing is about their children's protection … Boundaries need to be put in place so that young kids aren't barraged by market forces exploiting the "normalisation" of explicit sex in underage entertainment."
Speaking to Radio 5 Live on Monday, she called for parents to apply pressure to establish "very clear boundaries" on what is acceptable in music videos. "I think this debate is about getting the voice of reason back there to say: 'Look, we want to protect our kids.'"
Lennox's remarks follow, most obviously, the furore in the wake of Miley Cyrus's video for Wrecking Ball. However, the debate around ratings for music videos predates that. David Cameron is believed to favour ratings for promo clips, and the Bailey review on the sexualisation of children called for tighter regulation. In the wake of the review, the BPI (the trade association for the British record industry) extended its parental advisory scheme so explicit songs and videos would be labelled.