"Sex sells" is a saying that has swirled around in the music industry for years. Not even just the music industry - it goes as far back as the 1870s, when tobacco companies used sexual innuendos to advertise their product. The saying has maintained its relevancy for good reason: it works. Many performers are sexualized in the industry, more specifically, it's women who are sexualized. Take a look at Britney Spears
, Selena Gomez
, or Katy Perry
. They're all put in skin tight clothing two sizes too small.
Not that this is a bad thing. I'm a strong believer in wearing whatever the hell you want, and yeah, I love going braless just as much as the next girl! What I am saying though is, often female performers dress provocatively because they are told to, not because they want to. In Lady Gaga
's Netflix documentary Five Foot Too,
she reveals that she was told to dress sexier, "when they wanted me to be sexy, when they wanted me to be pop, I always put some absurd spin on it to make me feel like I was in control ... If I'm gonna be sexy on the VMAs singing about the paparazzi, I'm gonna do it while bleeding to death, reminding you of what fame did to Marilyn Monroe."
While the sexuality of some stars seems a bit disingenuous (was that "M.I.L.F.$" video actually Fergie
's idea?), there are some who make sexiness just one part of their personality. Take Rihanna
- she sings about getting head and grinds on top of Drake
on a daily basis - but you know that's only one piece of who she is.
The pop star doing this best right now is Tove Lo
. She flashes her fans at every show, you can't watch her music videos without seeing nips, and she sings about it too. In her song "Lady Wood" she sings about having the female equivalent of a boner "Dirty on the inside, damaged goods with nothing but pride / Yeah, you give me wood, give me lady wood." And on her latest single "Disco Tits" she sings, "I'm wet through all my clothes / I'm fully charged, nipples are hard." For lack of better words, those lyrics are so fucking Tove Lo.
You can tell by her style of writing. If we listened to Fergie or Britney singing about hard nipples, we'd probably wonder, "this is what their writers are coming up with?" but when Tove Lo does it, suddenly it works. So why? Maybe it's the excessiveness - she has beaten it into our brains until we are desensitized to her style. Or maybe it's her unapologetic personality. In the video for "Disco Tits," a muppet asks her about the meaning of the term "lady wood" and when she explains it, he gets super uncomfortable. She's fully acknowledging that what's normal to her may not be as normal to others.
There's simply no one quite like Tove Lo. She is the ultimate "Cool Girl
." No one blinks an eye when she tells us her nipples are hard. And maybe that's what she wants - for people to stop reacting to the image of a body. If that's the case, it's certainly working.