Following Emma Watson’s inspiring speech at the UN last week, the ‘HeForShe’ campaign has now been launched worldwide. The young Hollywood star’s stirring speech, as part of her new role as UN Women goodwill ambassador, got me contemplating what exactly the music industry was doing to help (or not help) the campaign against gender inequality.
We currently have numerous global pop stars calling themselves feminists, but which of these artists are actually doing their bit to help eradicate sexism and prejudice? Is Nicky Minaj writhing away in the jungle to the words “Oh my gosh, look at her butt” really going to help Emma Watson and her ‘HeForShe’ crusade against the constant sexualisation of women?
Wrecking balls and breaking walls
Miley Cyrus, self proclaimed “world’s biggest feminist”, who has been seen ‘twerking’ relentlessly against Robin Thicke and gyrating naked on a wrecking ball this past year certainly isn’t concerned with herself being sexualised by men.
But is this where the music industry stands in this present day? In order for women to be seen as influential and their views heard, they must take most (if not all) of their clothes off and use their bodies to aggressively impose so called “girl-power” on us all?
You certainly never saw Aretha Franklin engaging in such antics and yet through her cover and slight rework of Otis Redding’s ‘R.E.S.P.E.C.T’, Aretha provided an anthem to the campaign against discrimination in the 60s.
Find out what it means to me
Even Beyoncé, the long-standing stalwart in the world of modern feminist crusaders, uses her sexuality and provocative live shows to convey her message of strength and independence. That said, at least ‘Queen Bey’ combines such performances with explicit definitions of what feminism is; recently sampling Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s empowering 2013 TED talk on her world tour that states feminism to be “the belief in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes”.
This explanation is of utmost importance. In the words of Emma Watson, “fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating…this has to stop”.
I can’t help but feel aggrieved that in 2014 the music industry seems to require nudity and provocation in order for women with strong views to have their beliefs heard. I for one, as a ‘He for She’, certainly hope this industry will find a way to give a voice to its less controversial female artists, allowing the support of Emma Watson and all other gender equality campaigners across the world in their far overdue success.