Tag Archives: music

Female “Self-Love”- The New Trend in Pop Culture

28 Feb

Love her or hate her, Miley Cyrus has a knack at pinpointing things in the Zeitgeist and turning them into worldwide trends.

A scantily clad Miley Cyrus on stage in LA, hand on crotch

After making twerking so popular that it found its way into the Oxford dictionary, she debuted a racy video for her new song, “Adore You,” in which she rolls around while making masturbatory gestures.

But Cyrus isn’t the only celebrity giving new meaning to the term “self love.” A couple of months ago, Rihanna was spotted wearing a T-shirt saying ‘D.I.Y.’

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Yup, female masturbation is having a another pop culture moment and it’s about time. Still, men tend to have it easier—films such as There’s Something About MaryAmerican Pie, and Don Jon depict it as natural and necessary—and it remains something of a taboo for women.

Which is precisely why provocation-hungry celebs are eager to talk about it. But unlike the riotous, feminist rock stars of the ’80s—such as Blondie and Madonna, who simulated masturbation during performances of “Like a Virgin”—modern provocateurs are presenting self-service as an intimate practice. Instead of seeking out the male gaze, it seems like they’re building an allegiance with womankind. After all, isn’t masturbation social class, age, race, and marital status agnostic?

The shift that has appeared is largely based around an absence of the man: take for example Janet Jackson’s Take Care, where she sings: “I’ll lay here and take care of it ’til you come home to me.” For Jackson, masturbation is a bookmark. The Divinyls’ I Touch Myself– a pro-masturbation anthem if ever there was one – contains the line: “I’d get down on my knees, I’d do anything for you.” When it came out in 1990 it was intrepid. But the song is just as much about giving pleasure as getting it.

In a 2011 interview with CNN, Kathleen Hanna, feminist leader of Bikini Kill and now the Julie Ruin, questioned the purpose of Katy Perry’s sexual presentation on Perry’s 2008 debut single I Kissed A Girl. “The whole thing is like, ‘I kissed a girl so my boyfriend could masturbate about it later,’ said Hanna. “It’s disgusting. It’s exactly every male fantasy of fake lesbian porn.”

Considered alongside a line from the new essay collection by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Is It My Body? – “The body’s not theirs anymore,” she writes of rock stars. “It’s a public domain and public perception” – the discussion over whom a woman’s pleasure serves seems more relevant than ever.

“Masturbation is true girl power,” says Karley Sciortino, editor of the unapologetic, pro-sex website Slutever. Sciortino believes the current trend was influenced by  groups of young underground women artists who “use their bodies to make sense of their identity.” She also predicts that modern feminism will continue to encourage body reappropriation, and thinks that “discussing masturbation is an important step of this process.”

Delphine Gaudy, co-founder of hip Parisian, women-centric sex shop Dollhouse says part of our disconnect from proper sexual identity is that women usually first encounter porn that wasn’t intended for them—or, as she puts it, images that are “projections of male fantasies onto women.” But the landscape is changing. And instead of selling ultra-phallic shapes, Gaudy stocks her shop with pocketsize gadgets in fun colors intended for “yourself only.”

Personally, I’m pumped artists are bringing awareness and acceptance to a practice that was once seen as shameful (although their ways of alluding to such might not be the best, but hey it’s something right?!).

Beyoncé Redefines Perfection, Sex, and Flawlessness

17 Jan

Beyoncé has been constantly working toward perfection her entire life. She reminds the listener of this frequently over the course of her newest album, BEYONCÉ, with audio clips from her youth, when she competed in pageants and talent shows. She uses this device best as the prelude to “Flawless,” a reworked and expanded version of a song she released earlier this year as “Bow Down/I Been On.” In just four minutes, “Flawless” shifts from a Hit-Boy produced banger celebrating her competitive drive, to an excerpt from a TED Talk by Nigerian feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about how society places limits on the ambitions of women, to a final sequence in which Bey both mocks the idea of effortless beauty and exhorts her female fans to love the way they look.

“I woke up like this, I woke up like this,” she sings with a wink just before delivering the line, “We flawless, ladies tell ‘em!” with zero irony whatsoever. There are a lot of ideas packed into this relatively brief song, and they don’t all add up, but the conflicts in “Flawless” inform everything else on the album.

BEYONCÉ is the work of an artist who is doing her best to make sense of her role as a feminist pop icon, and working out a way to have a positive influence on culture without apologizing for or disowning anything she’s ever done. She’s putting the idea of flawlessness in scare quotes, and attempting to demystify herself so fans can recalibrate their expectations for themselves and envision a form of perfection that’s within their reach.

She’s asking women to be beautiful on their terms, and for themselves. She’s framing ambition and the will to succeed as a greater virtue than simply seeking the attention of men. She’s declaring that women should not be ashamed of loving sex, and asserting that they should be as open about their desires as men. These ideas have always been big part of Beyoncé’s music, but “Flawless” revises and clarifies those thoughts. BEYONCÉ at large is a manifesto in the form of a stylish, creatively adventurous, and resolutely adult R&B record.

The 7 Most Controversial Female Celebrities

30 Oct

The Hollywood lifestyle of glamour and glitz, though coveted by many, also has a dark and hazy downside. Staying relevant and “on trend” usually coincides with the necessity of both positive and negative publicity stunts. But, many celebrities have repeatedly made headlines for all the wrong reasons. The following women are proof that wealth does not always mean felicity, and that scandal is just another part of the job.

7. Paris Hilton

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The socialite and heiress who could be credited with starting the ‘celebrity sex-tape’ trend, Hilton’s hard-partying lifestyle and rumored short-lived relationships with Leonardo DiCaprio and Oscar de la Hoya, led her to earn a position as a fixture in entertainment news.

Critics have stated that Hilton epitomizes the title of “famous for being famous.” She is an example of the modern phenomenon of the “celebutante”: the celebrity who rises to fame not because of their talent or work but because of their inherited wealth and controversial lifestyle.

Hilton made headlines just this past weekend she attended the Playboy Mansion’s Halloween party wearing a replica of Miley’s famous MTV VMA bear costume.

6.  Rihanna

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Rihanna is a good girl gone bad, at least that’s what she has noted on several occasions since her 2007 titled album, released when she was only 19. From ”Birthday Cake” to ”S&M,” nearly every year Rihanna has released a single naughtier than what came before. She seemingly delights in pushing both boundaries and buttons, and tweaking parental units with a string of hits that were as gleefully raunchy as they were, well, unsubtle.

5.  Miley Cyrus miley-cyrus-hot-1252408940

The 20-year-old pop star has been deemed “Certified” by VEVO for having five of her music videos reach over 100 million views, including her most recent hits, “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball.” While Cyrus shuns the critics, she celebrates with her fans, whom she calls Smilers.

So despite the unyielding backlash the singer has received for her controversial MTV VMA performance and the nudity in her “Wrecking Ball” video, she keeps moving forward with her millions of fans backing her.

“For me, nudity has never been something that I’ve ever tripped about,” she admitted. “I don’t really see it the way everyone else sees it. I’d rather be naked in front of people than cry in front of people because I don’t like showing weakness and that shows a lot of vulnerabilities.” I suppose this helps us understand how Cyrus was easily able to turn the other cheek when nude photos leaked over the internet a few years ago.

Despite her many naysayers, it’s hard to deny she’s on to something big, as it seems her fan base continues growing every day.

4.  Lady Gaga

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The 27 year-old performer has a rabid following that she calls her “little monsters” and she is a favorite of the gay and lesbian set. Lady Gaga has always emulated musical icon Cher to a degree, in that she wears costumes that often completely ignore good taste in favor of spectacle.

“Mother Monster” was very busy over the weekend playing “controversial catch up” with Miley Cyrus. After giving a live performance on the English television show The X Factor in a flesh colored nude bra and panties, she later went on to give a surprise nude performance in the popular G-A-Y London nightclub.

3. Britney Spears

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It’s Britney bitch! Spears became an international pop culture icon immediately after launching her recording career. Rolling Stone magazine wrote: “Spears is one of the most controversial and successful female vocalists of the 21st century.” However rising to stardom at a young age undoubtedly affected Spears. She has checked into rehab facilities several times, shaved her head completely bald, and has been the spectacle for many parenting mistakes.

2. Kim Kardashian

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When the sex tapes of Kim Kardashian, Tyrese Gibson, and Ray-J were released, Kim was thrust into the media. She took the opportunity to rise to the spotlight. In August 2011, Kardashian married basketball player Kris Humphries in a widely-publicized ceremony. However, following 72 days of marriage, she garnered significant criticism after filing for divorce that October. In June 2013, their divorce was finalized with an undisclosed settlement. Kardashian then began a relationship with rapper Kanye West in April 2012, gave birth to their daughter North West in June 2013, and later became engaged this month.

1. Lindsay Lohan

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It’s hard keeping up with all of the highs and lows in troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan’s tumultuous life. In and out of jail and rehab facilities, scorned for habitual drug use, careless driving scandals, and photo leaks, Lohan is both a victim of the all-consuming celebrity culture and a perpetrator of bad decisions, the lack of self-control and an unhealthy sense of entitlement.

This past Saturday night/early Sunday morning, both Lohan and Miley Cyrus partied together at a Manhattan club. Talk about trouble…

Being known for one’s talent and accomplishments is admirable, but being famous for controversies and issues tarnishes a person’s reputation forever.