Taking out the Trash: Sex in the Music Industry

Miley Cyrus isn’t the only one who should be ashamed

Important Note: This is an individual opinion piece that may or may not reflect the views of the editorial board and the publication.

Miley Cyrus. Lady Gaga. Beyonce. All these artists are guilty of using sex appeal to promote their music–and they’re not the only ones.

We’ve all taken a turn rolling our eyes at Cyrus and her foam finger, for the most part agreeing that her recent antics are in bad taste. Artists like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry are more controversial, but are generally accepted as “quirky” or “being themselves.” Beyonce, scantily clad on the cover of her album “Beyoncé,” is downright worshiped by the masses.

All of these high profile artists use sex to sell their music. Why? Sex sells. It appeals to our most basic and primal senses, an instinct so strong it is second only to our will to survive. It grabs our attention as nothing else does and holds us fast. I even used it to get you to click on this article.

According to Chris Molanphy of NPR’s music news, Cyrus’ recent hit “Wrecking Ball” moved to No. 1 on iTunes largely due to its music video, which is complete with nudity and suggestive sledgehammers.

“If it reached the penthouse largely due to a racy video, can we actually call it the biggest song in the USA? Doesn’t her move to the top of the chart reflect more about our collective prurience than our love of the song?” he said.

My answer to the last question is absolutely.

Only when the industry sees that its consumers care more about the caliber of their music than the lasciviousness used to sell it will they change their ways.

— Amelia Eversole

For years, sex has been running rampant through the music world, and more recently it has become the main focus of a surplus of notorious music videos, album covers and song material. But consumers are as much to blame as the artists themselves. The consumers demand it, the artists supply it.

I’m here to put my foot down and say this has to stop.

The more we respond to the music industry’s attempts to use sex to sell their merchandise, the racier and more explicit their material is going to become.

But what’s the big deal? Why does it matter if Rihanna poses naked on the front of her album? Why should I care?

There’s a reason the quality of mainstream music has decreased significantly since the early to mid 1900s. As musicians increasingly use sex to promote their work, it changes the focus from the music to the sexual allure. They don’t have to work as hard to create a high quality song, album or video, because the erotic images pasted over it and woven into it will sell it for them.

Besides, all of this material–that borders on being pornographic–is easily accessible to young children. Do we really want our 10-year-old sisters watching “Wrecking Ball”?

And what about Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” music video? It blatantly demeans and portrays women as sexual objects. No wonder most women have such a distorted perception of what they should be.

So what can we do to change this?

Next time Cyrus (or anyone else) comes out with a racy music video, don’t watch it. Don’t buy the song on iTunes.

Ignore it.

Only when the industry sees that its consumers care more about the caliber of their music than the lasciviousness used to sell it will they change their ways.

It’s time to take out the trash.