I thought it would be interesting to consider the use of queer themes in music, especially since lately it has been seen a lot. A particular genre that has always been favored by the gays is that of the pop diva, which I do consider separate from pop as its own genre. Today it seems like these female musicians have really embraced their gay audience, as opposed to years ago where it might have taken years for someone like Cher to openly admit “this album was for the gays,” even though in the back of our minds we knew it always was. Now you have artists like Christina Aguilera who before even releasing her latest album came out and said she had the gays in mind when recording it. Britney Spears recorded a video message for the Logo Awards, talking about her love for the gays, and Beyonce basically reinvigorated her career by changing her persona to match that of a black queen. Interestingly though, not many in the mainstream might recognize this, so it brings up the question, are the gays getting the credit they deserve and is this credit giving them the appropriate kind of attention?
As I watched the premiere of this Christina Aguilera video today, I couldn’t help but notice the bondage theme, which is heavily associated with the gay culture, and of course, the woman she’s giving a lap dance to. She even says in the song “she’s kissing boys and girls” but the song is still called “Not Myself Tonight.” I get that the video is just for fun, but the abundance of sexuality in the video, along with the homosexual themes, is being used for shock value. She saves her reputation by stating several times “she’s not herself tonight,” so at the end of the day the idea of this girl-on-girl action is just being used for controversy, lacking any kind of substance, which is not what the queer culture needs. I didn’t really appreciate that Katy Perry song either, for the same reason. It’s not that I can’t appreciate the entertainment value of these songs, but I feel like they are using gay themes in the form of sexuality to grab people’s attention. People say, “wow look how far we’ve come,” but really I look at it as a step back because all we’re doing is alienating the gay culture as something that is inappropriate and not typical of normal human behavior. Christina happens to state at the beginning of the song “she’s out of character, and in rare form,” which I understand, because she’s heterosexual, but people should consider why it is she’s even using the gay scenario anyway. To represent her gay fan base? I don’t think so. What these divas can do to show their appreciation of the only people who *purchase* their records, is stop using gay themes for the sake of controversy, and just let people know who inspires their music. I don’t recall Beyonce stating any kind of formal support of gays yet, and we all know if it weren’t for her gay choreographers, she wouldn’t have won all of those Grammys. Christina might have made her latest album with the gays in mind, but she could have gone without featuring the homosexual scenes in her video, which obviously aren’t being used for any kind of advancement in awareness. If people hear about her interviews and how this album is inspired by her gay fan base and then watch this video, it would be very easy to associate them with ideas that only strengthen the stereotypes that we’re trying to move past.
Don’t get me wrong though, I LOVE this video. 😉