Why Sex Shouldn't Sell

Author: Mel Brownlee /

It’s not unrealistic to say that 2013 was the year of Miley Cyrus, of even raunchier music videos and performances, of it officially becoming acceptable to have near enough completely naked women in almost everything. Heck, I have seen more of celebrity’s tits and bums than I have of my own over the past year. The aforementioned Miley Cyrus was the leader of the pack in 2013, followed by the unquestionably creepy Robin (is) Thicke and as always, the perpetually semi-nude Rihanna.

I have seen a lot of naked women, a lot of crass and overtly sexual performances, but what I have not come across much this year is actual talent and truly fantastic music.

Beyoncé came close after surprising the world by releasing a new album – but even she, a highly talented and seemingly intelligent individual has now completely bowed to the pressure of getting as much kit off as possible, to sell as much as possible. She was always a bit of a skin-shower, but her latest music videos - and not to mention that horrific Grammys performance with Jay Z - have really sealed her status as just another woman who has given into the pressures of baring all to sell.

For most of 2013 I spent the year complaining to my fiancé about how it wasn’t just the men in the music industry trying to sell sex in their videos by use of naked, vacuous models, but it was the women as well. Since when did female artists decide that their talent and intelligence had become entirely irrelevant, and all that mattered was that they satisfied the industry and their male fans by making everything about their sex appeal? Have they just given up on themselves and their integrity?

They say “sex sells” and evidently it does – how else can you explain Miley Cyrus reaching number one? (Though I struggle to find anything sexy about a girl that looks like a sexually confused pre-pubescent boy). Her Wrecking Ball video not only highlighted her crass taste, lack of talent and originality, but also the fact that as long as a woman is showing a sufficient amount of skin, she can make money.

When did this happen and why? The last time I actually paid attention to the music scene, the likes of Adele and Florence and The Machine were laughing all the way to the bank – not because they exposed themselves all of the time and made it all about sex, but because they have raw, unequalled talent and creativity, and the ability to make millions solely because of it. Not only is their music much more impressive than Miley’s, Katy Perry’s, Robin Thicke’s and all of those other desperate, lazy and untalented “celebrities” (even that of Rihanna who has plenty of talent, but has cheapened herself to the lowest standard and has forgotten about her music), but they are also extremely likeable and respected people because they have not sold themselves cheap and have every inch of their dignity intact.

So why did this drastic swing from having to have talent to make music to just having to be naked happen? I have absolutely no idea; the music industry will have to answer for that. I am guessing it’s from the fact that we live in a rather shallow and superficial world, and music moguls believe that a beautiful, sexy woman without talent will sell more records than an average, modest women with talent in abundance. Why is that? As a woman I would certainly rather listen to someone who can actually sing and make good music, than watch another half naked girl prance around, shaking her ass (and then some) who cannot sing for toffee. And so would most of the men I know, but I can only assume there are a lot of men out there who buy records and watch music videos because of beautiful, nude women who are willing to flash it all in the name of their “art”.

To these men (or even women) I say this: stop ruining it for the truly talented women out there. Beauty is skin deep, it fades, we grow old, things start to go south but real talent, intelligence and self-respect are the things that will never go away. A woman is worth so much more than what she has beneath her clothes, and funding these so called celebrities who are only good for exposing themselves as much as possible, and only worry about their sex appeal is taking up too much room and creating a stereotype.

We are not all beautiful, or skinny. We do not all like to act like glorified porn stars just to get attention and recognition. We are not all worth only what we can provide sexually. The majority of us are smart, grounded, interesting and unique people – who care more about using our brains to get us places. We care about people respecting us for our intelligence and personalities, not sexual appeal.

I would like to round this piece up by quoting a man I once worked with, just as a demonstration to how much we have regressed:

Upon looking up a woman at a rival company who had gone from Associate to Vice President in the space of year, he said: “She must have sucked a lot of cock to get there.”

To say this man is a chauvinistic, arrogant pig is obvious, but I fear that the men and particularly women in the music industry are setting a precedence and demonstrating that women have next to no value, and cannot do anything in life without the help of their bodies. That the only way they can have a successful career, make money or sell records is by exposing themselves for the gratification of fickle men who are too dumb to appreciate real talent and intellect, and only care about what a woman looks like, how big her breasts are, what she would be like in bed.

But this is simply not true. Adele is where she is because she is a sensational singer, song writer and altogether savvy businesswoman. The aforementioned woman who shot to Vice President got to where she is because she is clever, and worked her ass off as much as any man ever has. These are just a couple in millions of women who have proved that sex appeal means nothing and that the days are numbered for the women who are selling their bodies for the sake of their music - because they are boring and have nothing substantial to offer to the world, and they know it.

We need to go back to the days when it was the music, the lyrics and the voice that truly mattered and we need to go back there soon, before the next generation of girls are taught to believe that they are only worth what they can offer sexually, when really it’s our brains that make us truly beautiful.

Yours truly,



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