'Justin Bieber was very much sold on his sexuality' - Sinead O’Connor

The Nothing Compares 2U singer explains how Bieber is the victim of exploitation

Ella Alexander
Monday 11 August 2014 08:52 BST
Sinead O'Connor on the cover of her new album I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss
Sinead O'Connor on the cover of her new album I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss (Nettwerk Records)

It’s not just Miley Cyrus who has been “sexualised” by the music industry, says Sinead O’Connor.

Justin Bieber has also been exploited, claims the singer, who says that young male artists are also victims of sexualisation in music.

“I think that people focus an awful lot on the female aspect to this, but it is also the males,” she said during an interview with Magic FM. “The very young male artists who are practically children or look like children are also being sexualised.”

“Justin Bieber is a great example,” she continued. “When he came along he was only 16 years of age.

“Obviously he was extraordinarily talented, so I'm not trying to negate that, but he was very much being sold on his sexuality.”

She also highlighted Britney Spears’ first music video, “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, in which the singer was dressed in a provocative version of a school girl’s uniform, aged 16.

“Britney Spears, of course was quite inappropriately young to be sold in that way, dressed up in a school uniform, but I think that really people forget that the guys are going through it as well, and I think that is quite important,” said O’Connor.

The Nothing Compares 2U singer – who is soon to release her tenth studio album, I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss – famously penned a series of open letters to Cyrus in October 2013 warning of how the 21-year-old is being “pimped” by the music industry.

O’Connor was prompted to pen the letter after Cyrus said she was inspired by “Nothing Compares 2U” when she made her “Wrecking Ball” music video, in which she rides nude on a wrecking ball.

“I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way 'cool' to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos,” she wrote. “It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether it’s the music business or yourself doing the pimping.

“Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent,” she continued.

Cyrus responded by referencing O’Connor’s battle with mental illness on Twitter and comparing her to US actress Amanda Bynes.

O’Connor responded with another letter in which she demanded Cyrus removed the tweets and threatened legal action.

“You have posted today tweets of mine which are two years old, which were posted by me when I was unwell and seeking help so as to make them look like they are recent,” she wrote,

"In doing so you mock myself and Amanda Bynes for having suffered with mental health issues and for having sought help.”

“It is most unbecoming of you to respond in such a fashion to someone who expressed care for you,” O'Connor added.

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