Daily Archives: August 7, 2014

Blast from the Past: Criticizing Today’s Sexuality


The hoopla over Nikki Minaj’s backside brought out the by now well worn criticisms of “over sexualized women artists,” “for the sake of the children, cover up,” and “in my day, our artists didn’t resort to such tactics to sell their music.”

It was that last comment “in my day….tactics….sell” that reminded me of the criticism TLC lobbed at Rihanna a couple of days.

TLC’s quote included “We became the biggest selling girl group with our clothes on, and that says a lot. It’s easy to sell sex. We could go around with booby cakes all day long.”

[I was looking to collect a collage of 90s fashion, but there’s actually a whole website dedicated to it, so….here ya go the great 90s]

TLC rose to prominence in this environment. Taking a look at them, their style, personalities and even their music…they fit right in with the cultural environment.
It was a time of looser fashion, (slightly) more musical choices, super models who were larger in size and with personalities, their seemed to be larger body variety shown period, and and and… my point is that TLC weren’t renegades who were going against the grain of what was popular – they were able to take what was popular, wear it in a genuine fashion and make it work for them.

The argument of “in my day….” tends to give the individual speaker too much credit for how they behaved.

But delving into why a culture as a whole endorses certain values is a difficult beast that seems well-nigh unbeatable. Instead, individuals are “appealed to” (this is often in the form of attempting to shame another person), in the hopes of trying to shame them/daring them to behave in the way that the speaker believes is more appropriate.