Bare-faced cheek! Why Nicki Mi­naj must butt out

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - UP FRONT -

HAVE YOU SEEN SINGER NICKI MI­NAJ’S new film clip for Ana­conda? It’s the one where she claps her butt cheeks in time to the mu­sic. That’s right. Butt cheeks.

Peo­ple used to clap with their hands. Now, thanks to Nicki, they clench and un­clench their bum mus­cles and clap with their bot­toms in­stead.

Throw in nude dancers, lots of twerk­ing and a very se­duc­tive lap dance per­formed by Nicki her­self, above, and you have quite a show.

Check it out now, for re­search pur­poses only, of course. You may as well watch it given that just about ev­ery­one else al­ready has. In fact, a record 72 mil­lion peo­ple saw Ana­conda on YouTube within a week of its re­lease, in­clud­ing 19 mil­lion in the first 24 hours.

This makes it even more pop­u­lar than Mi­ley Cyrus’s Wreck­ing Ball – re­mem­ber that one where the young singer was strad­dling a huge de­mo­li­tion ball and sim­u­lat­ing love with gar­den tools?

Such per­for­mances are a re­minder of the raunch cul­ture that’s all the rage right now. I don’t want to sound like a prude, but it does make me won­der when classy is go­ing to make a come­back.

Re­al­ity star Kim Kar­dashian is at the fore­front of this trend (sur­prise, sur­prise). If she doesn’t have her boobs hang­ing out while walk­ing down the street, she’s tweet­ing pic­tures of her­self in a teeny g-string bikini while sun­bak­ing in Mex­ico. And don’t get me started on that ex­treme-cleav­age dress she wore to the VMA awards that made her chest look like one of those joke bar­be­cue aprons men get from the of­fice Kris Kringle.

There is no doubt th­ese cul­tural trends are spear­head­ing a ma­jor de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of good taste on many lev­els. For in­stance, it seems there’s a naked craze sweep­ing Dar­win at present, with peo­ple spot­ted sun­bak­ing nude on the Es­planade.

There’s a new char­ity en­deavor called Boob Aid, which in­volves porn stars having their breasts squeezed for char­ity. Can you imag­ine all the old fel­las get­ting ex­cit­ing about that one, lin­ing up to “do­nate” (ie. cop a feel) in guise of rais­ing money?

And a new re­al­ity TV show called Dat­ing Naked in­volves sin­gles go­ing on a range of ro­man­tic en­coun­ters to­tally nude while be­ing filmed. It’s billed as “dat­ing in it’s purist form”. (If they can’t even get the punc­tu­a­tion and spell­ing right, what hope do you have for the show?)

I am not say­ing that Nicki and her bum, and Kim and her boobs, have di­rectly caused th­ese things. But I do think pop­u­lar cul­ture and so­cial me­dia are chang­ing our idea of what’s ac­cept­able in the public realm.

It used to be that you had to look at a dirty mag or porn flick to see this amount of flesh. Now, along with 23 mil­lion oth­ers, you just have to check out Kim Kar­dashian on Twit­ter.

Our teens can’t help but be af­fected. In­stead of learn­ing their al­ge­bra, they’re spend­ing maths classes sexting the kid be­hind them and watch­ing porn on their iPhones to work out how to make out.

Girls aged eight are wear­ing padded bras, talk­ing about boys in ro­man­tic terms and wor­ry­ing about how they look. Even girls aged four and five are not im­mune, with re­search show­ing they are us­ing Mi­ley Cyrus and Katy Perry videos to teach them to pout and thrust at kinder dis­cos. It’s a long way from Wreck­ing Ball to The Wig­gles, trust me.

There’s no point ban­ning or lim­it­ing th­ese things, be­cause the in­ter­net al­lows any­thing to be seen by ev­ery­one and ev­ery­thing to be seen by any­one.

In­stead, we have to teach our girls and boys to be savvy me­dia users. In­stead of see­ing th­ese singers and TV stars as role mod­els, we have to teach them to be crit­i­cal con­sumers of their prod­ucts. We have to teach them to see video clips as per­for­mances de­signed to at­tract at­ten­tion and sell songs.

We have to teach them that Kim Kar­dashian is a busi­ness­woman whose so­cial me­dia pres­ence is all about sell­ing her­self, and her im­age.

And we have to teach them that long be­fore they’re up to “dat­ing naked”, they should get to know some­one first.

I know that makes me sound like a grandma, but give me Nanna over nud­ism, Nicki and norks any day. Why do we have to choose ass over class, any­way? Blog with Susie at Susieo­brien.com.au and fol­low her on Twit­ter @susieob

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