I watched Iggy Azalea in a concert on MTV last night. Or to be exact, my husband channel-surfed to it and we watched a couple of songs. Iggy is clearly a talented young woman with a lot to say. So why did she have to say it in her underwear?
Forgive me, this probably makes me sound like I was about 80 years old and the appearance of such scantily clad ladies had resulted in me dropping a stitch. “Young lady! Put some clothes on this instant!” But no! It’s not like that.
These day it’s a-okay to dance in your underwear in front of thousands of people. Well, as long as you’re normal weight. And when I say normal weight I mean bottom of the normal scale bordering on anorexic weight. Of course you also need to be very pretty, or otherwise you will elicit comments of: “Who wants to see her naked?”
But Iggy gets everyone watching, even me. I couldn’t help but be hypnotized by her black sporty bra and knickers that for some strange reason, which I’m guessing isn’t modesty, were covered with this tiny skirt-like thing made of some kind of gauze.
What made me stare at her was an odd mixture of fascination and wonder. Why is it necessary for female hip hop artists to be practically naked on stage? Male hip hop artists wear oversized t-shirts and over-sized trousers. Sure, they flash their underwear and sometimes they show off their muscles, but I’ve never seen a male hip hop artist wear nothing but boxer briefs for their entire stage appearance. (This could obviously be because I don’t actively follow hip hop, so please let me know in the comments if I’ve missed some gem.)
When female artists are dressed like this, it sends out a message. That message is not “Hey, look at me, I’m so liberated!” If this were true, overweight or even normal-sized women would also be allowed to flaunt their bodies. Instead, appearing (practically) naked is the sole privilege of extremely thin women with adequate cup size and no perceptible cellulite.
That last condition alone rules out most women, since according to Wikipedia, it is estimated that 85-98% of women “suffer” from cellulite. Women’s magazines let it rip whenever they capture on camera a celebrity bum with a touch of the orange peel. Women spend fortunes on potions that are designed to get rid of something that is a part of their genetic make-up. Don’t think women are liberated just because Iggy doesn’t wear a whalebone corset and a crinoline.
The message this kind of thing sends out is that the female body is supposed to be up to a certain, for most women practically impossible to reach standard, in order to be displayed and therefore coveted. It’s the new, self-imposed corset that squeezes women on the inside. You never see chubbier singers like Adele or Missy Elliot prance around the stage in underwear.
In the end, the only reason singers like Iggy do it, is because sex sells. Iggy’s thin and cellulite-free enough to qualify for what is considered sexy, Missy Elliot is not. Along with 85-98% of the rest of us.
Getting her kit off will probably help Iggy sell a lot more records. A smart move. I’d probably do the same thing if I were her, and laugh all the way to the bank. It’s not Iggy we should judge, but the narrow concept of female beauty that we allow to control our lives.
So. Let’s not judge those who go to work in their undies. They’re only trying to make an (reasonably) honest living. They wouldn’t be selling that product if there weren’t ample demand for it.
I’d written all this, when I found an article on Google that actually says Iggy is currently a model for Bonds underwear. Blimey. That explains a lot. There was something fishy about that underwear all along. It was too normal. It wasn’t weird stage underwear, nor seduction underwear, but relatively normal underwear. That’s why I stared. I thought I was watching a gig when in fact I found myself watching an extended underwear commercial.
Whew. I’m happy I cleared that up. Next time when I accidentally end up watching MTV, I’ll know what to expect.