Annie Lennox: Music videos should have ratings just like movies

“It seems obvious that certain record companies are peddling highly styled pornography with musical accompaniment,” the former Eurythmics rocker said.
Fri Oct 11, 2013 - 7:31 pm EST

ROME, October 11, 2013 ( – The lead of one of the biggest pop music acts of the 1980s has said that music videos have become just another form of pornography.

Annie Lennox, the lead singer of the Eurythmics and a 40-year veteran of the music industry, wrote on her Facebook page that young people are already being faced with a “tidal wave of sexualized imagery” and there need to be “boundaries” to protect them from “market forces exploiting the ‘normalization’ of explicit sex in underage entertainment.”

“I have to say that I’m disturbed and dismayed by the recent spate of overtly sexualized performances and videos,” wrote the 58-year-old Lennox. “It seems obvious that certain record companies are peddling highly styled pornography with musical accompaniment.”


The Scottish rock and roll singer called the trend towards sexually explicit performances by women, “a glorified and monetized form of self harm.”

Lennox’s comments have followed an uproar in the media over the controversial and sexually explicit performance by pop singer Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards in August. Lennox described such performers as “behaving like pimp and prostitute at the same time.”

“It’s depressing,” she wrote, “to see how these performers are so eager to push this new level of low. Their assumption seems to be that misogyny – utilized and displayed through oneself is totally fine, as long as you are the one creating it.”

After receiving many negative responses, Lennox added on the following Sunday, October 6, “There is absolutely nothing ‘wrong’ about our sexuality or sensuality per se. But if a performing artist has an audience of impressionable young fans and they want to present a soft porn video or highly sexualized live performance, then it needs to qualify as such and be X-rated, for adults only.”

The comments received attention from the British press, and she later told the BBC, “I don’t think there’s one parent of young boys and girls in this country that would honestly, comfortably say they were fine with seeing their kids being exposed to that kind of thing.”

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She told the BBC that pop music videos should be subject to a rating system, similar to that of films.

In 2012, Lennox was listed at number 22 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music, and in her heyday in the early to mid-1980s regularly raised eyebrows over the content of her own music videos.

Her breakthrough 1983 video for the hit single “Sweet Dreams are Made of This,” featured Lennox in closely cropped orange hair and men’s clothes, and placed her in the forefront of the controversial “genderbending” trend of the time.

At the same time, the British government appears to have stalled in its efforts to place controls on internet pornography. Government coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, have rejected the proposal of automatic porn filters for all computers in the UK. Liberal-Dememocratic delegates at the party’s conference described the plan as “illiberal” and overwhelmingly rejecting them in a vote.

The policy will now have to be redrafted. In its current form, all new broadband contracts would automatically have the filters turned on, and those customers who wanted to use internet porn would have to specially request that they be canceled.

Floella Benjamin, a Liberal Democratic member of the House of Lords and former presenter of children’s television programs, strongly supported the government’s plan, saying, that online porn has created addicted children.

“This motion is about protecting children from online pornography and inappropriate material – it’s not about censorship or stopping adults from accessing legal material…This pandemic crosses a sacred line - although the internet is a wonderful resource, it also has a dark side.”

  annie lennox, culture, music, video

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