Kgomotso Matsunyane

Woman, what are you selling?

2007-11-01 10:06

Kgomotso Matsunyane

So I'm sitting at a restaurant with a friend and her 10-year-old daughter, and there is a flat screen TV set on a music video playing in the background with the sound off, and Bob Marley singing "Don't worry about a thing" from the sound system.

Bob Marley always makes me happy, so everything is going quite hunky dory. Until the video changed to some half-naked video vixen (they even have a name?), simulating sex with her size zero "bootay". My eyes immediately went to the 10-year-old with us and thankfully she had her back turned to the TV.

The question I would love to ask the performer is: "What are you selling, woman? Are you selling music, DVDs, or soft porn?" We know men have been exploiting us for our sexuality since forever, but what I don't understand is why we women voluntarily prostitute ourselves in the name of "art" to make a quick buck.

This disturbs me particularly when I see women who are actually very talented singers and musicians, also sink to this depravity, especially when their male counterparts do nothing of the sort to sell the same commodity. In the world of music videos, what's good for the goose is definitely not what's good for the gander, and I think that sucks. Chunks.

Spare me the judgement

Lest you think I'm an old fashioned prude who shouldn't be watching music videos anyway; I actually believe in the legalisation and taxation of prostitution and marijuana, and not just for medicinal purposes.

Oh and do spare me the judgement; decriminalisation has done absolutely nothing to stop sex workers from working or from the Johns to keep buying, and is actually prohibiting the Eastern Cape, Lesotho and Swaziland from being financially independent.

I will also confess to some hypocrisy, having been a total fan of that sexy video of D'Angelo (Untitled/How does it Feel?) - where he's flashing his twelve-pack (honestly, I'm not kidding), with the camera suggestively zooming in and out of his rock-hard, drop-dead gorgeous body.

My point is though, there's a disproportionate number of underfed girls and women on TV taking it off and strutting all their bits for the world to see, and that this sends a terrible message to young girls and boys.

The message of the medium

The message, both obvious and subliminal, is that women are sexual objects only here to satisfy men's urges, and that a woman's worth can be measured by how hard she gyrates, and not what's between her ears.

I had the pleasure of watching dynamic soul star Leela James perform in Cape Town last year, and felt completely vindicated when she declared that she will never sell her soul or body to sell music.

Bottom line, I think, is women with university degrees are least likely to gyrate their behinds in a music video.

Our girls have to be taught to value themselves enough to reject the images of girls and women shoved down our throats.

Young girls have to care about how they project themselves to the world - branding is everything, because lets face it, if you're a video babe, you cannot honestly expect to be respected for your Mensa membership.

Send your comments to Kgomotso.

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