Monday, 6 June 2011

Is Nakedness Always Sexual?

In real life, especially in summer, we are bombarded with images of women in bikinis and men in speedos advertising the latest fashion range in magazines and on billboards, but we also encounter girls walking down the street in hotpants and crop tops and spotty teenage boys with missing shirts. From these points we can immediately conclude that whether we like it or not, not all nakedness is sexual.


I am a big Lady Gaga fan, and of course she is known for her fashion, but she is also quite well known for not wearing many clothes. She graced the cover of Q magazine topless and with a dildo in her trousers - was she doing this to be sexual? I'm not sure. Did she do this to question our views of sexuality - I would say definitely. I'm sure many men looked at that cover because Gaga looks attractive and is topless, but then seeing the dildo, what did they think then? In my opinion, Gaga doesn't want to position herself as an object of sexual desire for men and women, she almost wants to be 'asexual'. Many of her fashion choices are not attractive, they are so OTT and haute couture but most of the time quite 'un-sexy', and when she does strip off down to a bra and panties combo it is often to make a point, not to be sexual. Let us look at the video for 'Born This Way', in one segment of the video Gaga is wearing black and white underwear and is surrounded by dancers who are male and topless or female and in plain black bras. Is this look about being sexually attractive, or is it about stripping down to your most vulnerable and accepting that you were indeed 'born this way'? I'm not saying that Gaga never acts in a sexual way, because she does, but it maybe feels like people can be quick to judge her for wearing a bra and pants and not look further into the potential reasons for that styling.

With the Bailey report being released people are now discussing the potential rating of music videos, meaning that videos with a inappropriate content for children would be rated 15 or 18, much like a film would be, but how do we judge what is inappropriate? Personally, I would say that Rihanna's S&M video is completely inappropriate for young children to watch and I would urge this to be rated 18. However, although Gaga spends a lot of the 'Born This Way' in underwear, I don't see the video as sexual and therefore wouldn't worry about younger teenagers/children potentially seeing it. I guess that is where the debate lies though - is it about nakedness? Is it about sexuality? Is it generally about inappropriate behaviour? What makes something explicit? Personally, I really don't want to be warned that a music video may contain moderate sex reference or a scene of mild peril. These arbitrary statements mean nothing to the average viewer and have since become a joke (well, in my household anyway) and I think if music videos are really going to be rated this system needs to be clear and laid out in simple terms.

What are your thoughts on the proposed rating of music videos? Do you think nakedness is automatically sexual? I would be really interested to hear your thoughts.


Maddalena said...


Laura said...

Thank you! x

Jazzy E (hivenn) said...

This is an amazing post. I'm with you on the fact that lady gaga's not sexual all the time even though naked, i'm off the google the dildo now.
I think the ratings are a good idea, maybe if they were done worldwide (which isn't going to happen) it would influence the 'stars' to put on some clothes. Not completely sure whether they'll be able to implement the ages though. x hivenn

Jazzy E (hivenn) said...

apparently it's been banned in the us?

Laura said...

Thank you so much! :) I think the ratings in theory would be good, but i'm just not sure how they will implement it - I guess it's a wait and see thing, but I hope that it doesn't result in less creativity in music videos. It's crazy that Q was banned in the US for her showing off her lower boob - I have to see topless men all the time, what's so bloody offensive about the lower half of a woman's breast?! madness!x

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