So there I am, eating my toast, sipping my tea, flipping through the Sunday newspaper, when the headline “Mauboy ready to go get ‘em”, with a photo of an attractive young woman wearing white wide-legged trousers, looking into the camera with a bit of a “can’t believe I’m here” look on her smiling face.
Oh, who is she, and who’s she going to get, I thought, and so I read on. She’s a singer called Jessica Mauboy (apparently from Australian Idol, which not being a big TV fan, I’ve never watched) and she’s made a new video with Snoop Dog as her next step of breaking into the US market – but the next bit nearly made me choke on my T&T.
She had to “get into shape” to make the new video, in which she wore tight leather pants that she didn’t think she WOULD squeeze into. But the restrictive program of eating meat and veges plus snacks consisting of four nuts and some blueberries, and boxing for two hours every morning AND every evening “paid off”: she lost 6 kgs in three weeks.
She’s been criticised for the level of raunch of the video, the article says, while it also highlights that the tight red leather pants made her “feel like a woman” though she’d not normally wear anything like that.
I was reminded of an article I read earlier in the week about how people – yes even men – are actually getting tired of seeing soft porn everywhere. I digress…
I find myself wondering at the whole deal – why do our singers have to work out like professional athletes, for a one day music video shoot? Oh yes that’s right, because music is actually about the singers looking and behaving “hot” so that people will buy the music. Jessica Mauboy though, says “I’m here and I want to make good music. And we did”. So why the raunchy video, where did the tight leather pants come into it, and why do tight leather pants make her feel more like a woman than she normally feels?
More importantly, what kind of a message does that send to the young people watching the video – and I’m imagining that her fan base is young because of the Australian Idol connection? Yes, no one is responsible for how other people interpret what we say, their interpretation is about their own filters etc. But here’s the thing: this singer, and of course others, set out to create an image which is deliberately raunchy. She’s allowed herself to be featured in a video which has been criticised for being very raunchy, and that deliberate focus isn’t difficult to interpret: even Jessica is living the message that this level of raunchy is what being a woman is about, and being raunchy makes you successful.
Put another way, it’s reinforcing the message that is so damaging to our girls and boys – that thin=sexy, and sexy, hot, raunchy is the most important thing a women must be, above everything else. Which sets up a huge range of beliefs that lead to expectations that simply cannot be met by natural means, and ultimately negatively affects emotional and physical health, and damages relationships.
It’s also adding fuel to another myth – that eating less and moving more will result in weight loss, when every bit of research into body fat tells us that at best, it’s only a short term loss and weight rebound WILL happen, and bring with it extra weight. An endless cycle then begins which can result in life-threatening eating disorders for 20% of people who suffer from the starvation kind of EDs.
So it’s more than just a music video, it’s not trivial stuff.
I get that Jessica has career aspirations, and her advisers and even her own eyes are telling her that doing whatever she has to do, to get thin and ‘hot’, so she can reach the heights that she feels will match her talents, I really do.
I also feel so sad that she is on this road, because I can’t help but think if her talent was really that good, wouldn’t it stand on its own aside from her hot red leather pants?
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