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Pink is a refreshing antithesis to the sexualized pop star

By December 4, 2013 4 Comments

Recently, I was fortunate enough to attend a concert on Pink’s “The Truth About Love” world tour.

Pink doing acrobatic moves in a performance.

Pink is undoubtedly a sexual performer.

For a few years now, listening to Pink has been my “guilty pleasure.” I never really wanted to admit that I loved her, because my musical tastes are not usually so mainstream.

But, I’ve come to really enjoy her music, and respect her for breaking the pop-star cookie-cutter mold. Her songs make powerful statements about hot-button issues like politics and celebrity culture.

Pink is well-known for the unbelievable aerial acrobatics she performs during her concerts. So when I found out she was doing a show in my town, I knew I had to go.

Yes, the concert was amazing, but during it I also found myself thinking about the sexualization of pop performers. I couldn’t help but compare the performance to Miley Cyrus.

I don’t know about you, but I reached Cyrus twerk overload about a hundred articles ago. I really don’t want to devote more pixels to dissecting that particular situation.

But something was bugging me about how these two performers seem to have similarities, yet Pink’s brand of pop garners so much more respect.

Like Cyrus, Pink also wears a variety of scanty costumes and sings about sexual themes. She also dances, flies on a high wire out above the audience, gyrates, and somehow manages to stay singing in tune throughout it all.

So how is Pink’s sexualization different from Cyrus’s?

Well, I think there is a fine, but definite, line. Pink is clearly in control of her sexuality: physically strong, confident, talented, and daring.

Miley Cyrus performing with Robin Thicke.

In Cyrus’s brand of sexualization, she appears less in control.

Pink’s costuming is more akin to a gymnast’s necessity for form-fitting clothing. In contrast, Cyrus’s costume, especially in contrast with the three-piece suit of co-performer Robin Thicke, seems to have a more submissively sexual purpose.

It’s a subtle distinction, but an important one.

About Miley Cyrus, Gloria Steinem said: “I think that we need to change the culture, not blame the people that are playing the only game that exists.”

Yet somehow, Pink manages not only to play the game, but also to control it on her own terms.

What do you think about the sexuality of these two performers?

Tessa Needham finished her PhD in Performing Arts at the University of Western Sydney (Australia) in 2008. Her thesis explored the potential of performance to provoke change, and part of her research was Bodily, a solo theatrical performance about body image. She loves technology and the creative arts, and is passionate about the different cultural forces affecting the body image of girls and women. She teaches computers and does freelance creative work: www.tessaneedham.com.