On a long drive to Worcester I paged through the Sunday Sun Newspaper (Sunday 27th August) and came across an article written by Karen Brady from the UK show The Apprentice. No, not the one that everyone wants to kick in the teeth. The intelligent, classy one. The article was titled “Mariah fat jibes prove pressure all women face”. You can read it here.
In this article Karen writes about how women are set impossible targets to be “…great at their job, have fabulous hair, a sexy husband, perfect nails, be an amazing mother and look thin and hot at all times”.
I share Karen’s opinion that women are more pressured than men – particularly to look a certain way. But I pose the question, who puts this pressure on women?
In the opening lines of the article Karen mentions Pavarotti – the Opera singer whose waistline was almost as big as his voice. “Pavarotti was famous for his glorious, rich singing voice. Who gave a flying fig about his trouser size?”
I don’t ever remember Mr Pavarotti (God rest his soul) being on stage in fishnets or a swimming costume – always shirt and trousers. A big shirt and a big pair of trousers, but yes, the man had an extraordinary voice – who cared about the size of his trousers! Anyone who went to see his concert would have gone for one thing – the pleasure of hearing his voice!
On the other hand, we have female artists like Rhianna, Mylie Cyrus and even Little Mix, who wear very little on (and off) stage. Why the need to be so raunchy on stage – are their voices not good enough to sell their music? Do these women have no say at all as to what they wear on and off stage and what example they set to the millions of young women that look up to them as role models? And in years to come, will it not be these same women crying foul and feeling pressured when they can no longer meet the standards that they themselves created? Let’s see 48-year-old Rhianna rock this bikini!
Admittedly, I don’t know the ins and the outs of the music business. I presume that there is some influence on image from managers – but if your manager asked you to turn up to work wearing a sexy nurses uniform, would you? Surely not unless you’re a nurse! And how do singers like Adele, Leona Lewis, Rebecca Ferguson and Mylene Class manage to maintain their dignity and class in all of this?
Does a diva like Mariah Carey have no say as to what she wears on stage? Karen rightly says, “Guess what world? We are not 28 anymore.” At 48, why feel the need to prance around wearing clothes you wore when you were 28? They will not fit you like they did when you were 28 – that’s just a sweet sweet fantasy baby. Mariah Carey has an incredible voice, she doesn’t need to use her body to sell her music. She is worth an estimated £388 million and is known for her love of shopping, yet she turns up to a photoshoot in fishnets and black panties (that you can get from Primark for a total of £5 in case you’re considering your own photoshoot). And what’s with wearing a swimming costume on stage? (Also available at Primark.)
Are women forced to dress the way they do, to increase the size of their breasts or butts, or inject chemicals into their faces and lips? Why are women doing this? Who are women doing this for? Are we being forced to do this? By who? Who is putting pressure on women to look a certain way? And by succumbing to this pressure are we not making it even worse for ourselves?
Towards the end of Karen’s article, she says “…I think all of us have a responsibility to say “Enough!”” And I totally agree. I think as woman, we do have a responsibility to say “Enough!”
Enough of being ‘made to’ wear what you don’t want to, enough of feeling that we have to look a certain way to be beautiful, enough of feeling inadequate, enough of feeling that old is not beautiful. Enough!
You may not look like Beyoncé or Alicia Keyes, or have a butt like J-Lo’s, but you are beautiful. You don’t look like Beyoncé because you are not Beyoncé. You are you, a unique individual. Don’t spend your days imitating someone you are not, or letting photo-shopped images be your definition of beauty. Accept who you are, love who you are, and be the best you that you could ever be. Love your body and look after it as best you can. And if anyone tells you to change you, tell them to kiss your ass – whatever colour, shape or size it may be!
And female singers (and backing dancers), please put some clothes on! We all have boobs, butts and vaginas – we don’t need to see yours. If men want to see boobs, butts and vaginas, there are TV channels for that – keep it off the music channels!
NB: Most of the pictures on this post have been taken from other websites like the Telegraph and Daily Mail so you can see what I’m talking about. The featured image on this blog – the glamorous lady in red – was taken by the talented photographer Alexander Ivanov.
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