Charlotte Church slams 'hyper-sexualised' music industry and 'unattainable sexbots' Rihanna and Miley Cyrus

 

Charlotte Church has launched a scathing attack on the music industry branding its depiction of women as “hyper-sexualised”, “cartoonish” and “male-dominated”.

In a far reaching address, the former classical-singer-turned-pop-star warned female artists of “denigrating” themselves and said decisions she had made at the behest of the music industry had left her open to a barrage of abuse that was still harming her career.

Speaking in Salford at an annual lecture in honour of the late broadcaster John Peel, Church, 27, said women were being “coerced” into sexual roles to cling on to their careers, while those using sexual imagery to boost their careers such as Rihanna and Cyrus were classified as “unattainable sexbots”. 

“The irony behind this is that the women generally filling these roles are very young, often previous child stars or Disney-tweens, who are simply interested in getting along in an industry glamourised to be the most desirable career for young women,” she said. “They are encouraged to present themselves as hyper-sexualised, unrealistic, cartoonish, as objects, reducing female sexuality to a prize you can win.”

Drawing on her own experiences the Welsh singer, whose top 10 hits included Crazy Chick and Call My Name, recalled her transition into pop music from a clean-cut classical singer. “When I was 19 or 20, I found myself…being pressured into wearing more and more revealing outfits and the lines that I had spun 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?’ or ‘Don’t worry it’ll look classy.  It’ll look artistic’”

And in a warning to emerging stars, she added: “Now I find it difficult to promote my music in the places where it would be best suited because of my ’history’. But at the time it was the option presented to me.”

She added: “Whilst I can’t defer all blame away from myself, I was barely out of my teenage years, and the consequence of this portrayal of me is that now I am frequently abused on social media, being called ‘slut’, ‘whore’ and a catalogue of other indignities that I’m sure you’re also sadly very familiar with.”

The comments are likely to intensify debate over pop music’s increasing use of sexual imagery which has intensified since August after Miley Cyrus’s controversial performance at the MTV video music awards.

The former Hannah Montana actress’s performance drew widespread condemnation not least from Irish singer Sinead O’Connor who said her work was a measure of a music industry that was intent on exploiting her.

O’Connor later threatened legal action after Cyrus replied to her open letter with a series of Tweets which appeared to mock her history of bipolar disorder.

But in an unflinching speech, that will be broadcast at midnight on 6 Music, Church described the exchange as symptomatic of “online pissing contests” that “only serve to detract from the strong messages being put forward by [other] artists .”

Even those not known for propagating sexual imagery were addressed in Church’s speech which will be broadcast on Radio 6 at midnight. Taking the example of Adele, Church said: “Lyrically her songs are almost without exception written from the perspective of the wronged woman, an archetype as old as time, someone who has been let down by the men around her, and is subsequently in a perpetual state of despair.”

She added: “The culture of demeaning women in pop music is so ingrained as to become routine, from the way we are dealt with by management and labels, to the way we are presented to the public”.

Church’s fame started at the age of 11 when she sang classical music during a telephone interview on ITV's This Morning. She went on to release a number of classical albums before having a successful pop career. In her speech she said: “If Rihanna had not grown up watching the videos of the nineties then it might not be quite so essential for her to portray her sexuality so luridly, so constantly, and so influentially upon the next generation.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

art
Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

music
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Clothing items bearing the badge have become popular among music aficionados
musicAuthorities rule 'clenched fist' logo cannot be copyrighted
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson will star in Seth MacFarlane's highly-anticipated Ted 2

film
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in 'Gone Girl'

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style