Stuff That I Don’t “Get”: Girls on Record Covers

I was going to save this and include it as part of a list of things that piss me off about music right now, but then every aspect of the list grew kind of out of control. I’m afraid that this little “snippet” looks a bit po-faced and serious and whiny on its own (other items on the list were going to be a bit more light-hearted) but then I decided to post it anyway. I mean, it’s only a paragraph. How worked up can you get over the course of one paragraph? Here it goes:

The new White Lies cover has a couple of grown-up-“Shining” twins, Vampire Weekend had that random girl on ‘Contra’. Critically acclaimed hotshots The Vaccines have a skinny girl hugging a big red ball. The list goes on. It’s basically the same as that 80s metal trend as parodied by Spinal Tap’s “Smell The Glove” – the album cover girls may be wearing more clothes in this more current, more indie incarnation, but they’re still being objectified. Girls are just blank slates, to be designed, dressed up and posed in the best way for the all-male band to project their stupid “image”. The girls are invariably wide eyed, with long hair and washed-out, vintage-looking clothes. They shouldn’t be too “different” looking to put off a mainstream audience (because they’re on the cover of “indie” records on the precipice of mainstream success) but they should certainly look cool, curious, teenage or collegiate, even slightly nostalgic – the onlooker is still supposed to be sexually attracted to them. And of course they’re white. It certainly seems to suggest that women are to be seen, men are to be heard. Listen to these guys’ music, whatever they may look like, but if you want to communicate an idea visually, you’d better stick with a picture of a girl.

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