by Alyssa Toomey | Tue., Oct. 15, 2013 4:50 PM
While speaking at BBC 6 Music's annual John Peel Lecture, the Welsh singer took aim at the "male-dominated" music business which, she claims, has a "culture of demeaning women," according to published reports.
"What this industry seems to want of its women increasingly is sex objects that appear childlike. 'Take your clothes off, show you're an adult,'" the 27-year-old beauty said at the Radio Festival in Salford.
"The irony behind this is that the women generally filling these roles are very young, often previous child stars or Disney tweens, who are simply interested in getting along in an industry glamourized to be the most desirable career for young women," Church explained.
"The Flower Duet" singer—who first rose to fame in childhood as a classical singer before branching out on to the pop music scene in 2005—said females in the music biz "are encouraged to present themselves as hyper-sexualized, unrealistic, cartoonish, as objects, reducing female sexuality to a prize you can win," before recounting her own experience with feeling oversexualized in the industry.
"There was a big clamor to cover my breasts as they wanted to keep me as young as possible," she confessed. "Then it became, 'You should definitely get them out, they look great.'"
And she claimed the provocative image she was encouraged to adopt still has a negative impact on her career today.
"Whilst I can't defer all the blame away from myself, I was barely out of my teenage years, and the consequence of this portrayal of me is that now I am frequently abused on social media," she admitted. "Now I find it difficult to promote my music where it would be best suited."
Addressing Rihanna's latest music video, "Pour It Up," in which the sexy singer poses as a stripper, Church said: "You only have to look at the online response to see that it is only a matter of time until the public turns on an artist for pushing it too far. But the single, like all Rihanna's other provocative hits, will make her male writers, producers and record label guys a ton of money."
Church also called upon BBC Radio to take responsibility for the artists the channel promotes, and she expressed her support for an age-rating system for music videos after witnessing numerous stars strip down for the sake of YouTube hits.
"BBC Radio is notorious for misreading sexual metaphor and innuendo as innocent," she said. "But more recently, there doesn't seem to be a decency barrier at all."
She added: "If there are no sanctions put upon music that is written so zealously about genitalia, or uses soft porn in its promotion online, what is to stop artists feeling that making their music and videos more sexy will undoubtedly drive up their online views and subsequently encourage more radio play?"
Church concluded by noting that oversexualization of females in the music industry has become the norm, not the exception.
"The culture of demeaning women in pop music is so ingrained as to become routine, from the way we are dealt with by management and labels, to the way we are presented to the public."
What do you think of Church's speech? Tell us in the comments.
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