Patti Smith, self-confessed Rihanna fan, on the sexualisation of women in music: ‘No one should allow themselves to be exploited’

One of the original pioneers of rock 'n' roll discusses Miley, Rihanna et al

Ella Alexander
Wednesday 02 April 2014 17:35

Patti Smith, the godmother of punk and lifelong poet, has weighed in on the music world's increasingly pertinent issue of the sexualisation of women in music.

And she's not as scathing as you might think. In fact, we should all stop being so judgemental and think about the bigger picture.

"I can't judge how another person does their work," she said.

"Everyone has a choice and the music industry is much more open that it was when I was younger. Certain things are sadly gone, others have developed, but everyone makes their choices. Pop music has always been about the mainstream and what appeals to the public. I don't feel it's my place to judge.

"I just look at things as a fan, I like or I don't like it, but I would always say to anyone, you make choices that are important to you. Don't allow yourself to be exploited by something as fleeting as fame and fortune. If you're presenting yourself in a way that important to you in communicating your vision, then so be it. No one should allow themselves to be exploited ever."

Smith is a self-confessed Rihanna fan and last year covered the singer's recent single Stay at a New York concert, describing it as "the 2013 song of the year".

"I love that song," she told us. "I didn't know much about it, but I found it so touching, so beautiful and it didn't bother me that in her music video she sung it naked in the bathtub. I thought it was beautiful. I have bigger concerns that what pop stars are doing."

Perhaps surprisingly, she stops short of getting embroiled in any purely feminist discussion because, as she says, she has a son as well as a daughter.

"Right now I don't want to see any injustice," she continued.

"I have a son and a daughter, people always talk to me about feminism and women's rights, but I have a son too - I believe in human rights. For me, the issue that's more important than any other on our planet right now is the environment because that's what will sustain our children, our grandchildren.”

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