Miley Cyrus continues to see blowback in the music industry over her recent behavior, this time from Annie Lennox, the singer who fronted the 80s band the Eurythmics.
Lennox took to her own Facebook page Oct. 5, to decry the “overtly sexualised performances and videos” being foisted on the world by today’s music industry.
The veteran singer accused the industry of caring solely about the cash and not what it is doing to “impressionable young girls.”
“…certain record companies are peddling highly styled pornography with musical accompaniment,” she accused. “You know the ones I’m talking about,” she said.
Lennox pointed out that young girls are easily misled by the glitz of show business peddling this stuff which, Lennox says, tells young girls “that misogyny, utilised and displayed through oneself, is totally fine, as long as you are the one creating it.”
Almost immediately people in the music industry jumped on this as another example of a pop icon slamming Miley Cyrus (recently Sinead O’Connor also slammed Cyrus’ behavior in a series of open letters). But Lennox wasn’t afraid of the controversy.
After her first public comment raised some dust, Lennox came back on her Facebook page to try and press some points in stricter terms.
Noting that she didn’t name Cyrus–even though it was apparent what sparked her comments–Lennox went even farther on what she feels is the responsibility of both artists and the industry where it concerns impressionable young girls.
“I tried to be carefully measured with my comments,” Lennox wrote before going on to affirm that she thinks sexuality in life is not only natural but perfectly fine to express. But that wasn’t her point in the first post. Lennox said there is more to it than mere free speech.
But if a performing artist has an audience of impressionable young fans and they want to present a soft porn video or highly sexualised live performance, then it needs to qualify as such and be X rated for adults only. I’m talking from the perspective of the parents of those young fans. The whole thing is about their children’s protection. Is it appropriate for seven year olds to be thrusting their pelvises like pole dancers? I really don’t think so. Boundaries need to be put in place so that young kids aren’t barraged by market forces exploiting the “normalisation” of explicit sex in under age entertainment. That means – no audiences under 18. Simple! Well – not quite. The Internet has put paid to “boundaries” and “simple”.
After that post, Lennox posted several more entries asking parents how they feel about the “powerful” market forces that are acting on children and made to define pornography in further discussions with her fans.
Lennox also went on BBC Radio 5 to discuss her points about Cyrus. She insisted that her second post was in no way a “pulling back” of her criticism.
I don’t think there’s one parent of young boys and girls in this country that would honestly, comfortably say that they were fine with seeing their kids exposed to that kind of thing,” Lennox continued. “There isn’t a boundary for it. There are so many millions of hits on YouTube. With this barrage, how do you stop your kids being exposed to it? It’s so powerful. I’m sure I talk for millions of parents… it’s into the realm of porn. You don’t want to see your 7-year-old girls twerking all over the place. That’s not right. It’s not age-appropriate.
Lennox is initiating a very interesting discussion, here, one that the music industry has been avoiding for decades. Just how far should popular entertainment be allowed to go, how far should we want it to go? Where or how does responsible entertainment temper free speech?
This is a long overdue debate, and Lennox certainly has the bona fides to start it. She has a long history of working to empower women and support their advancement both in the arts and in life in general. No one can say Lennox is a Joanie-Come-Lately to women’s issues.