Everyone has a different opinion on what's attractive; people come in so many shapes, sizes and colors that the spectrum of beauty is widely interpreted. This in turn brings up the question, what's the defining line between "sexy" vs. "slutty?" This inquiry came up for me after viewing the music video for "Can't Remember to Forget You," by Shakira ft. Rihanna.
Personally, I love the song and think both Rihanna and Shakira are very talented singers. The video did give me pause at first since I couldn't see how it related to the song, but I found nothing wrong with it in the end. The comments on YouTube, however, presented a wider range of perspectives.
For one, both the song and video received positive and negative feedback, as does every musical creation. The disappointing factor was how much of the commentary focused on the female singers' bodies. Just as frequently as they talked about the song, viewers commented on the sexual nature of the video, referring to how hot and sexy the two stars are. Half of the comments on the Vevo video discussed a variety of feelings and reactions towards the sexual content, the majority involving references to the singers' butts and a if-you've-got-it-flaunt-it type attitude. Other comments included favoring the video over the song (for obvious reasons) and on the more lewd end of the scale, calling the clip a "soft porno." Somewhere in between the "sexy" comments were the sadly typical slut-shaming comments.
Granted, there's a valid concern for the message being sent to society, but the message itself lies more so in people's interpretations of the video than in the actual clip. Does this video promote the freedom of sexual expression or does it promote the objectification of female bodies? Are these women sexy and powerful for being proud of their sexuality or are they attention seekers and "slutty" for dressing so scantily?
On the one hand, some viewers found the video perfectly fine and ridiculed others for trying to put restrictions on the singers. Matt Daniells, who is in agreement with this viewpoint, expressed the lucrative side of the video, pointing out that "... sex appeal is a proven way to sell more and [if] they've got it, there's nothing wrong with it[.]" On a similar note, another viewer turned on society, blaming men for sexualizing women:
Maybe women wouldn't need to be so provocative all the time if men didn't hypersexualize them and say that all they're good for is sex. Even then, who [f******] CARES what they do? Let them live, it's the twenty first century. Get over it.
-- tommy berrios
Taking the offensive side, religious commentators aside, were the viewers who held the singers to higher standards:
Shakira is such a good artist and a brilliant dancer -- why did she let herself be persuaded she needed to do a soft porn video? Maybe because this song is so average compared to so many of her other songs. All she is going to drum up with this video is the wrong sort of fan base.
-- my fair hands
Laura Joyce felt the same, posting that, "People forget about the music and just watch the video. These girls are talented but they don't use [their] talent wisely!"
Was the video provocative? Yes, but does that make the starring participants inappropriate? Does the lack of clothing and caressing take the video so far as to be a soft porno? A lot of singers, both male and female, use sex-appeal in their music videos, but does that make them sluts and man whores, too? What makes a female singer "sexy" versus the derogatory and distasteful term, a "slut"? Sex appeal is a part of life, and it's unfortunate where it falls in terms of money involvement. That being said, with such mixed opinions on what's sexy in the media, where do we draw the line?