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Pop Goes Sex Positive: Now With 0% Slut Shaming

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October 23, 2012

When Christina Aguilera’s new single “Love Your Body” dropped several weeks back, I made the point to check it out. The artist has gone through as many unique phases as a chameleon, from teen pop royalty to blue-eyed soul icon. I was interested to see what the artist formerly known as Xtina had up her sleeve this time around. What I discovered was not just a really catchy pop song, but one with a sex-positive message.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cfCgLgiFDM

In the video for “Love Your Body,” Aguilera’s most recent incarnation (a new and improved version of her Dirty era persona but with the added bonus of neon braids) acts out a surrealist rendition of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. After playing video games, Aguilera hitchhikes a ride with an attractive guy who she later bombs with hot pink TNT. She then seduces another (equally attractive) man in a bar restroom, subsequently turning him into a pile of green goo. Lastly, she woos a third attractive man–a gas station attendant–and turns him into metallic confetti with a baseball bat. After her hard day’s work, Aguilera rewards herself with a bowl of Bits and Pieces cereal and an episode of I Love Lucy.

The video seems to be cheekily toying with the concept of misandry, or the hatred or dislike of men and boys. A recently-developed term, misandry is attempts to be the male equivalent of misogyny (the hatrid of women). This is problematic because we live in a patriarchal society where men–not women–are ushered into positions of power from birth. Contrary to what the term implies, women who elect to pursue lifestyles akin to misogynists will hardly make a dent in the patriarchy.

To quote sociologist Allan G. Johnson:

Accusations of misandry work to discredit feminism because people often confuse men as individuals with men as a dominant and privileged category of people.

The term makes so little sense. Fortunately, like Aguilera, feminists have a good sense of satirical humor about these things.

What fascinates me the most about “Love Your Body” is not the video, but the song’s lyrics:

All I wanna do is love your body
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Tonight’s your lucky night, I know you want it
Ooh ooh ooh ooh

It’s true what you heard, I am a freak, I’m disturbed
So come on and give me your worst (uh oh, yeah)
We’re moving faster than slow,
If you don’t know where to go,
I’ll finish off on my own (uh oh, yeah)

While the subject of “Your Body” is not Aguilera’s body but those of her various boytoys, her body and mind are also playing a critical role in these random acts of seduction. Women who choose to act on their sexual desire, are–for lack of a better adjective–brave. Simultaneously existing as a woman and a sexual person is very nuanced, risky behavior in the court of public opinion. In addition to potentially facing a barrage of character-damaging scrutiny, women who are open about their sexuality (and sexuality in general) may be subjected to unwanted sexual advances, even assault. Too often is the term “she was asking for it” used by those very people trained to prevent assault and attackers alike.

 

Such was the catalyst for SlutWalk. In January 2011, York University Constable Michael Sanguinetti gave a speech on campus crime prevention, in which he stated:

I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this, however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.

Three months later, 3,000 individuals gathered in Queen’s Park, wearing ordinary clothing and “slut wear” alike. Since the first March, the SlutWalk concept has spread across the globe, affirming the fact that slut shaming is no longer a valid assault prevention strategy.

Speaking of slut shaming: Christina’s not the only pop star inching back up the charts with a sex-positive anthem. P!nk’s most recent album, The Truth About Love, features this little gem:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjU0xAZbZkA

 

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One Response to “Pop Goes Sex Positive: Now With 0% Slut Shaming”

  1. Lydia

    This is a really cool piece. I’ve always been a Christina fan, in part because of what you’ve written about here. It’s really easy to look at her and call her “promiscuous” or any other descriptor steeping in gendered sex-negativity. But throughout her career, her music has carried themes of feminism and women’s empowerment – e.g., reclaiming her body, double standards about sex/sexuality, women being able to dress the way they want without fear of assault, ect.