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Rashida Jones Speaks Out Against the “Pornification” of the Music Industry

Rashida Jones Speaks Out Against the "Pornification" of the Music Industry

Near nudity is the new normal. 

The race to the skimpiest bottoms among female pop stars (and video vixens in the background) arguably began in the eighties, when Madonna writhed around on a MTV VMA stage in a then-scandalously short wedding dress, purring “Like a Virgin.” But the clothes disparity between male and female singers seems to have reached a staggering imbalance in recent years, as pants especially seem to have gone the way of girdles among the Top 40 set. Nowhere was that clearer than in Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus’ excruciating performance at the most recent VMAs, where Thicke performed in a suit, while Cyrus danced araound the stage in a skin-tone, latex bikini. 

In a Glamour editorial, actress and screenwriter Rashida Jones decries the seeming uniform of a birthday suit among female performers like Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj. She sums up her irritation and dismay by describing the ubiquitous displays of these women’s bodies as, 

This isn’t showing female sexuality; this is showing what it looks like when women sell sex. (Also, let’s be real. Every woman’s sexuality is different. Can all of us really be into stripper moves? The truth is, for every woman who loves the pole, there’s another who likes her feet rubbed. But in pop culture there’s just one way to be. And so much of it feels staged for men, not for our own pleasure.)

Though she never comes out and says so, what makes many of these practiced poses of “sexiness” so dull and homogenous is that they’re essentially just copied from mainstream porn. “Every star interprets ‘sexy’ the same way: lots of skin, lots of licking of teeth, lots of bending over,” she states. “I find this oddly… boring. Can’t I just like a song without having to take an ultrasound tour of some pop star’s privates?” 

Read Jones’ full piece here, which includes her advice for record execs, women, men, and pop stars. 

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She's right. And the truth is, as a man, I never watch or listen to this stuff. Is it aimed at me? I don't think so. No men that I know listen to any of these female pop artists. Miley Cyrus is laughable to me on every level. Women and children are watching and listening to this. I have no interest in Miley Cyrus naked on a wrecking ball. But for some reason it's everywhere in pop culture. I never asked to see it or know about it. Stop showing it to me so I can wash that image out of my brain, thanks.


It's not just about women, it's not just about pornography, and its not just about the music industry. There is a dehumanization going on in culture that is all-encompassing. I happened to catch one of Miley Cyrus' offending videos and really couldn't believe how cheap and exploitative it was. If someone wants to see porn, why not just watch porn, why waste your time with a semi-softcore music video? The fact is this stuff is aimed at children and young women who might not otherwise be immersed into porn. Apparently entering into womanhood these days entails pleasing your man in the most humiliating and degrading of ways. And this is the promise of feminism realized?

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