Katy Perry isn’t necessarily known for her modesty. On her candy-coated Teenage Dream cover, she posed naked amongst fluffy pink clouds. On occasion, she’s also been known to shoot whipped cream out of her bra. But the increase in female nudity in pop has her concerned.
In conversation with NPR’s Scott Simon, the singer said, “females in pop-- everybody’s getting naked [...] I’ve been naked before but I don’t feel like I have to always get naked to be noticed.” She explains that she isn’t targeting any one of her peers; she sees nudity all over the place. She doesn’t have a problem with all nudity, just nudity for the sake of nakedness and hypersexualization: “I'm not necessarily judging. I'm just saying sometimes it's nice to play that card but also it's nice to play other cards,” she says.
She eloquently avoids shaming her peers, but her comments are vague and inconclusive. When exactly is the appropriate time to bare all? When it serves an artistic purpose and demonstrates an authentic point of view? In Perry’s cutesy yet sexually adventurous Teenage Dream, newfound physical freedoms were at the core of her expression. Perhaps she sees other pop stars forced to use nudity as a means not of self-expression and actualization but of headline-grabbing. If the work is-- directly or indirectly-- about physicality or sexuality, it makes sense to express that. If not, it ends veers into the territory of female objectification. But I cannot pretend to be capable of judging when baring all serves the work and when it detracts from it, so I leave it in the hands of the female artists themselves.
What do you think of Katy’s claims? Is the increase in female pop stars’ concerning or liberating?
Image via ecouterre