Charlotte Church Throws Down on Sexualization in the Music Industry

by Kat Hamilton

This morning I read another feminist manifesto to add to the apparent trend of music industry tell-alls. This time, it was delivered by none other than Charlotte Church at the BBC 6 Music John Peel lecture. It began, “I’m Charlotte Church. And This Is How Women Are Routinely Demoralized by the Music Industry.”

I used to own a Charlotte Church CD. On the cover, she was wearing a long formal gown that covered her shoulders. Once I hit puberty I rejected Church’s operatic ballads and traded them in for loud, fast, punk music. Her image always struck me as very wholesome, but even the woman who didn’t have to compete in the circus that is the Top 40 had experienced the pressure to bare it all.

Church explains, “When I was 19 or 20, I found myself in this position, being pressured into wearing more and more revealing outfits.  And the lines I had spit at me again and again, generally by middle-aged men, were, “You look great, you’ve got a great body, why not show it off?”

Church goes on to categorize the roles women play in the music industry. It is not just that we are sexualized, marginalized or demoralized, but on top of that, we must fall into an acceptable trope to be successful.

“From what I can see, there are three main roles that women are allowed to fill in modern pop music, each of them restrictive for both artists and audience. They are mainly portrayed through the medium of the music video; you’ll find them very familiar.  I call them, ‘One of the Girls Girls,’ the ‘Victim/Torch Singer,’ and the ‘Unattainable Sexbot,’” she said. 


Reading Church’s descriptions of these tropes had me reflecting on Katy Perry’s first record—the spunky, pop/punk driven album that consisted of gems like “If U Can Afford me” and “Fingerprint.” Since her rise to fame, Perry alternates between “unnattainable sexbot” and “One of the girls’ girls.” I started going through every other famous female pop star in my head, and they all rotate in and out of these 3 tropes.


Charlotte Church made some excellent arguments and I have a feeling this will soon be today’s latest gossip, especially since the singer hasn’t had any exposure in a while. This speech is a must-read. 


Sound off below, yo.



Thanks Digital Music News

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