Saturday, 2 June 2012

Keep Your Kit ON!

*First posted in 2012, updated in 2014*

This morning I was half watching a Saturday morning cookery programme, and saw 1980s iconic punk princess Toyah Wilcox showing us how to make an amazing recipe with pollock.

Of course, Toyah is now in her fifties - as is Kim Wilde, who regularly appears on gardening programmes.

Kim Wilde in the 1980s

Kim Wilde in horticultural mode, in recent years.

This made me wonder if, in decades to come, we will see Kimberley Walsh of Girls Aloud presenting 'Antiques Roadshow', or Jessie J fielding the two teams on 'Bargain Hunt'?       
Somehow, that doesn't seem as unlikely as it would have seemed, thirty years ago, to see uber-hip Toyah and sexy vixen Kim Wilde presenting gardening and cookery programmes.  Which made me think - were the female pop stars of the 1980s just so much more cool than they are now?

Take the beautiful yet delightfully homely Kimberley Walsh, above,  - very much the sort of girl you could imagine mucking around with bedding plants and fish stock.... opposed to 1970/80s Siouxie Sioux....

Leading on from this, I was watching an old edition of 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' a few nights ago, featuring Siouxie and The Banshees, and the first thing I noticed was:

Hang on a minute! She's

Think of not only Siouxie, Toyah and Kim, but also Bananarama, Chrissie Hynde, and even the lusted-after-by-every-man-in-the-world Debbie Harry.

Chrissie Hynde and Debbie Harry

They all wore CLOTHES. They were all cool and smart, sexy and edgy and 'street', which they managed to be without prancing around in their undergarments as if they were auditioning for porn movies..... 

Bananarama, compare their attitude with the writhing, acquiescent posturing of Rhianna, Christine Aguilera, Shakira, Cheryl Cole, to name but a few. What sort of role models are they for young girls today?  

The ever ladylike and classy Cheryl Cole...

They give out the message that in order to be successful, attractive and appreciated, you must be seen as indiscriminately sexually available.  And not only available, but positively gagging for it.
Forget all our mothers fought for - let's rejoice in being sex objects once more!

These days, even the older ones aren't much better. Madonna, the queen of cool and edgy when she first appeared on the scene, is never out of her hotpants. The glamorous and breathtakingly beautiful JLo seems to think she has to compete with the twenty year olds when it comes to her promotional videos. Come on, loves, put your crotches away! Sticking your fishnet clad arse in the air and simulating sex on stage looks a bit desperate when you're over forty, however great your figure is.  

     Sexy doesn't have to mean letting it all hang out - whatever happened to an air of mystery?


  1. Couldn't agree more, and Toyah & Debbie Harry are just as attractive as they were in the 80s. The youth of today are more fickle...more shallow! Everything about the 80s was cooler than today and I am privileged and proud to say, "I was there"!

  2. And I couldn't agree more with that comment!

  3. I agree. I do think, though, that some of the pressure on young women in the music biz today comes from their publicists, the media, etc. After all, sex sells. I wonder if Chrissy Hynde and Debbie Harry would even get a foot in the door today? I doubt it, because I don't think they'd be willing to compromise their principles for fame. I feel sorry for young women starting out in the business now. It seems like a slippery slope (or stripper's pole) to climb.

  4. ..... and we all know how 'empowering' those pole dancing classes are, don't we! Ahem!! Thanks, Katie xx

  5. Your anonymous correspondent is right - the female stars of today have to do this if they want their video to get made and their record publicised. However, the likes of JLo and Madonna can write their own ticket, and they STILL buy into the porno writhings. The feminists of the 1970 who fought for women's basic political rights would be beyond horrified. I'm so glad I'm not the mother of young daughters, what sort of role models are they given?

  6. Sadly, I agree that those clawing to get in the competitive music business today feel compelled to "squat" to that level. Except maybe, Adele...

  7. Julia, when I wrote the FB status update that prompted this blog, someone wrote about just that - not letting her daughter seeing the music videos of people like Rhianna! And Anonymous Katie, yes, Adele is a very good example - pity there aren't a few more like her. It's almost like she's become the 'token' serious female artist - what is the world coming to, eh?

  8. I have to agree. There is no interest in learning about someone when they're showing everything to begin with. I would think a little mystery would intrigue people.

  9. Monique/Anonymous3 June 2012 at 15:43

    When I mentioned Adele I couldn't help but wonder if she'd have catapulted quite so quickly/effectively had she been as physically "exposed" as the likes of Rhianna, JLo and Madonna. On the flip side of the coin, would they have become successful without that over-"exposure"? Doubtful

  10. Kim and Monique (sorry, I thought you were previous anonymous!) - I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say. Nice one. Monique - yes, a double edged one, I agree. Was it tokenism? Very interesting point indeed. I wrote this just because it was something that just popped into my head (as is probably evident!) - it's more complicated, indeed.

  11. No worries, Terry - I didn't know I could just enter my name (duh). I guess things started to change when musical ability became so closely linked to aesthetic appeal. (Thank MTV, YouTube, etc.) If we were just judging talent on what we heard I think our current "megastars" would look a lot different. Maybe that's why so many with only visual appeal have success (even if only temporarily) without having musical talent.

  12. I'm getting too old. My interest in women decreases the more they reveal. I fell about watching Cheryl Cole grasping her crotch last night on TV. It reminded me of a holiday in Spain a long time ago when a friend acquired unwanted lodgers in his lower half after an encounter with a precursor of today's young ladies.

    It's strange how feminism has enabled women to emulate the worst behaviour of men. In the 70s we expected so much more. I am glad I don't have daughters, but I'm afraid for my newly born grand-daughter in this world where the young are so easily sexualised for the sake of fame and wealth.

  13. JD, I have nothing to add to that, but 10/10 :)

  14. From the humble male perspective I have to say I totally agree. Watching Debby Harry on Top of the Pops repeatedly start to take off her jacket and then apparently change her mind drive my teenage self to distraction. Sex doesn't have to be explicit. From the mature vantage point I now occupy, I look at YouTube videos of Linda Ronstadt and realise that she is barely moving let alone grabbing her crotch. But that voice...

  15. Dear felldestroyer, thanks for commenting! I agree, I agree, I agree. Yes, I remember that Debbie Harry video!

  16. Fabulous post and discussion, Terry. It seems we all agree.

    1. Had so many tweets about this today, Norah!