Should Music Videos Receive Age Ratings?

Annie Lennox calls for restrictions on "pornographic" videos.

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The media has been afire with debates surrounding the sexualized content in music videos in recent weeks after the controversial new clips from the likes of Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. Now, in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, former Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox has called for Music Videos with sexual content to be censored in the same way as pornography: "I'm all for freedom of expression, but this is clearly one step beyond, and it's clearly into the realm of porn.

"How do you stop your kids being exposed to it? It's so powerful. You don't want to see your seven-year-old girls twerking all over the place." The comment follows a statement that Lennox posted on Facebook earlier this week: “If a performing artist has an audience of impressionable young fans and they want to present a soft porn video or highly sexualised live performance, then it needs to qualify as such and be X rated for adults only. I'm talking from the perspective of the parents of those young fans. The whole thing is about their children's protection. Is it appropriate for seven year olds to be thrusting their pelvises like pole dancers? I really don't think so.

"Boundaries need to be put in place so that young kids aren't barraged by market forces exploiting the 'normalisation' of explicit sex in under age entertainment. That means - no audiences under 18. Simple! Well - not quite. The Internet has put paid to 'boundaries' and 'simple.'" But what do you think? Should we be questioning the sexualized content of music videos? Is censoring music videos with sexual content the answer to the problem? Let us know in the comments.

53 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Because having restrictions on things has definitely has stopped people from getting around said restrictions....
    Trust me 7 yr old would not try even to watch videos that are not for their age and it says so in the video
    When I was 7, I didn't give a crap about music, but when I saw SOAD or Britney Spears on tv, I wanted to watch whatever was on. 7 year olds will look at anything. They don't give a shit.
    Are you serious? I was 8 when I first started watching South Park which is 18+...Children won't give a crap about the video's rating.
    It won't work anyway. My parents wouldn't let me get the original GTA when I was 10. It didn't stop me playing it at my friends' houses though.
    That would probably slightly fight the industry model for adding unclothed women as a means for a successful video (cough cough, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus).
    Somebody call Dee Snider! But in all seriousness, while I don't like Miley, she has every right to put out the music video that she wants, even if she is running around naked in it. And that's just an example, this right goes for all musicians. It's not the industry's job to censor things for children, its the parents!
    But unfortunately, some parents just don't give a shit what their children do on the internet or what music they listen to. This is a really complicated matter and needs public discussion. Respect to Annie for bringing it up.
    It's not that they don't care that they listen to that... It's because they AGREE that their kids listen to that! How many times I've heard people say: "The Beatles? (or bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius...) they are satanic / they suck (because it's not "pop" music) / they're just show offs." And then they say: "Listen to Kanye West instead!"
    I think that people focus upon image to much and ust because someone wears all black or wears clothes with something bloody and disgusting they are automatically considered weird, a bad influence, an awful person, or in some situations satanic. But if someone wears Aeropostale and listens to rap music they are considered to be nice or something of that nature but in lots of cases they are not.
    It's never going to be 100% possible to completely shield your kids from some of this stuff. They could watch it when their home alone, when you leave the room, at a friends house, on the internet. It's almost everywhere. Although it is the parent's job to set standards and practices and help guide their children through most of this stuff, it would be a lot easier if they provided warnings or didn't show it on TV.
    if i had a son,i wouldn't mind him watching Cyrus as much as him listening to Cyrus...
    this lol i don't like miley's music or even rihanna's but they have the right to do what they want in their shows and videos. the thing is i also agree that those tyupes of videos should not be available for little kids, although that's the parents job right there. maybe get the parental advisory label or something
    It is a wonder how anyone survived up until now. Everything now has a rating or a dumbass warning label (i.e. Superman Costume doesn't make you fly). Maybe if everybody didn't fly off the handle about every f***ing thing, it wouldn't be such a big deal.
    Finally a voice of reason. Couldn't have said it better myself. You know they just banned the game of 'tag' near where I am from. Remember tag? That's the game little kids play where they tag eachother. Apparently, since the "force" of each tag varies, it is possible for bystanders and children playing to get severely injured, so tag is no longer allowed on elementary school property. That was the actual wording used. I realize it's not the same as this music video argument, but it does go along with what you just said. People being way too sensitive, overly PC, and forgetting that their children's protection from the entertainment industry doesn't trump the rest of the population's right to enjoy it, in whatever form it comes.
    This going to sound cruel, but . . Kids are supposed to get dirty, get hurt, get into trouble . . .ya know, be a frickin kid. This country has gone way overboard on raising kids to not get hurt, get left out or have anything be their fault. Which in turn is going raise a bunch of kids unable to cope with loss, rejection or anything else life throws at them.
    I say yes - if I had a kid and I saw her twerking I'd slap the shit out of the bitch.
    We should be questioning the REASONS behind overly sexualized music videos by these types of singers. It's basically because the music, usually written by faceless producers, is shite and there seems to be a need for some other content to deflect attention/add something naughty to spice it up. I disagree with Annie Lennox in principal, as people like The Prodigy and other bands that don't immediately come to mind have put out great videos with sexual content in the passed few years, but I do agree that female artists are being 'prostituted out' to grab headlines/sell CDs.
    The concept of censorship is fine, it's the execution that's awful. I'd rather have a kid walk up someone and say "f*ck you i won't do what you tell me" as opposed to walking up to a girl and saying "I know you want it".
    I kind of agree with her. Just look at kids today! They're not even 12 years old and they go hang out in a club for minors dressed like prostitutes (for girls) and douchebags (for boys). If you look back 10 years ago, it wasn't like this, and after that some of you guys say that it's the parents responsibility to police what their kids are watching. Sorry for my bad english (not my native language).
    This is really an interesting twist, an 80s Pop star spouting off like the good ole PMRC. It's funny how people change their opinions when THEIR kids (or grandkids) are getting exposed to sexual content; but when they were getting the big bucks from it they claim "Freedom of Expression".
    Actually I didn't have a problem with the PMRC. I have a problem with some artists who suddenly care about their adult content when THEY have kids. Madonna is a great example. She made multi -millions acting like a slut. Nowadays she says, "I wouldn't let my kid watch an artist like I was"
    You realize that the PMRC got started mainly because the Purple Rain movie? They would show the sex scene uncensored on TV for anyone to access. Wouldn't you be a little pissed if your child could see that anytime, unrestricted? Although I don't agree totally with the whole PMRC thing, in the end, it's just a sticker.
    They shouldn't go to any extremes with the censorship, but it would be nice to have a warning of some kind if there's going to be sexually explicit content.
    Very disappointed in Annie Lennox. As an artist, I would have expected her to be more open minded. It is up to parents to police this kind of stuff in their own homes and deem what's okay for their children to watch. Enough already with this government hand holding. I realize she's not calling for censorship outright, but if you start giving videos an 'X' rating, they won't be able to be shown on TV and that WOULD be a form of censorship. Next you will have to rate individual performaces at awards shows. It just opens up a big can of stupid. Talk to your freaking kids. Teach them things. Listen. If they turn out crappy, it happens. But it has never been the fault of a song or video, or radio broadcast for that matter. God Bless Howard Stern.
    The thing is though, kids get exposed to "sexualized content" from a really young age. Children [u]should be learning about sex from their parents but by the time they are old enough to understand they already know all about it from music, TV and the internet. Some kids (obviously a minority) can end up having a pretty distorted view. Bringing in an enforceable age rating system could help protect these children. This issue needs to be fixed in a way that doesn't restrict anyone's freedom of expression but [b]allows parents to raise their children in a way they think is appropriate. Stopping the music industry from making money selling sex to children would be a bonus. I probably sound like a miserable old git right now... and UG, please allow us to organise comments into paragraphs, walls of text are really bad to read.
    Pretty sure the ratings are meant to help parents decide what their kids are allowed to watch/play etc. Without them parents would potentially have to view everything their kids may see, which would just be weird. Second, there are already videos that can't be shown on TV, Mr. Informed.
    Agreed. i can't tell you how many times I would watch a show on TV that didn't show the rating, and it would have excessive violence and uncomfortable sexual innuendos and cursing.
    No no no. Parents talking to their kids about this kind of thing is the worst thing they could possibly do.
    They have the right to do it, but why does rating it keep them from doing it? Nobody wants little kids "twerking." Yes, kids will find ways to get around it. That doesn't mean they should be exposed to it. The way it's exposed, nearly ALL the pop videos right now are about sex or sex marketing. That gives the idea that it's ok to be that way all the time, which is wrong. Think of the Kendrick Lamar video for Backseat Freestyle, the second verse is just about a girl's butt, and the video is just him watching some girl shake her butt. That sort of thing shouldn't be presented as normal.
    It should be presented however the presenter wants to do so. It's up to the viewer to decide if it's something they want to turn off or watch and enjoy. Not up to you to say what "shouldn't be presented as normal." I actually agree that it's not a positive thing for kids to be seeing and not a "good" message, however I fully supoport the "artist's" right to make it and the stations right to air it.
    well if its "X-Rated" or "Pornographic" it won't be allowed on Youtube or TV so what would be the point, if a band wanted to release an x rated music video it would be uploaded to redtube or something
    Just think about how close these videos are to porn. All these girls, wearing bikinis, shaking their butt. all they have to do is take the top off and it's porn. Do you realize how easy that would be?
    At leas t VH1 is better than MTV at not showing dirty, explicit videos. VH1 cares just a little bit more about good musicians than glamour and money.
    Alice Cooper is all I have to say. Trying to stop youth from listening to what they want to listen to has never worked.
    how would that work though????? im all into her idea, but just because there's a box on the screen saying its rated "X" or whatever isnt going to stop the child from watching it?? easily be done and should be done??? but the censoring can be done
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