Sinéad O’Connor has weighed in on the perpetual Justin Bieber debate. The Irish star believes Bieber and other young male artists were sexualised too young in the music business to create an image that sells. Is she right?
Is Justin Bieber’s 15 months plus of controversies, misshaps and missteps — some of which were and are reported with exaggerated and misleading narratives in media coverage — the result of being sexualized too young?
The oft-controversial Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor doesn’t address all the questions inherent in that opener, but her position on “What’s eating Justin Bieber?” is different to the usual tar, feather and sling him in the slammer line adopted by most commentators and media outlets.
The “Nothing Compares 2U” star says Bieber and young, male artists, were typically sold to the public as sex objects and exploited by the music industry when they were too young, to shift records and products.
The Associated Press notes O’Connor’s remarks come after her infamous, heated spat with Miley Cyrus last year, of whom the 47-year-old said was being “pimped” out for commercial gain. Sinéad’s comments were made in a public letter (s) on her blog.
Cyrus is often cited by critics as the leading the charge in the increasingly, porn-like images seen in numerous female performers’ concerts, music videos and social media. Meanwhile, other artists such as Charlotte Church and Annie Lennox previously protested what they see as the exploitation of girls and women in music.
(Photo: Justin Bieber seen in an early photo shoot.)
Now, O’Connor has now turned her attention to young male stars, citing Bieber as a prime example of an artist whose sexuality was over-emphasized when he first shot to fame in his mid-teens.
In a recent interview with radio station Magic FM, Sinead said:
“I think that people focus an awful lot on the female aspect to this — but it is also the males. The very young male artists who are practically children or look like children are also being sexualised. Justin Bieber is a great example.”
O’Connor continued: “When he came along he was only 16 years of age. Obviously he was extraordinarily talented, so I’m not trying to negate that, but he was very much being sold on his sexuality.”
In fact, Justin was discovered at the age of 12 by longtime manager Scooter Braun when he was already a YouTube star. He was then developed and inked a record deal with Island Def Jam music group at the age of 15, via a production deal with R&B singer Usher and Braun.
After his first single “One Time” hit in 2009, Bieber was marketed to his predominantly, teen or tween, female fanbase as a puppy love heartthrob.
His image became more overtly sexual circa 2011/2012 and he now routinely posts shirtless and – of late – seemingly naked social media photos of himself.
The “Baby “singer has since had numerous run-ins with the law, including two arrests — on suspicion of DUI and alleged assault — as well as a vandalism conviction and many alleged instances of unruly behavior.
(Photo: via Justin Bieber Instagram.)
O’Connor continues: “Britney Spears, of course was quite inappropriately young to be sold in that way, dressed up in a school uniform, but I think that really people forget that the guys are going through it as well, and I think that is quite important.”
The veteran singer, who was ordained as a priest in 1999 in the breakaway Latin Tridentine church, went on to express concern for young audiences who idolize artists like Bieber and other male stars.
Elaborating, O’Connor explains: “What concerns me is that the audience of these artists are children themselves.”
She adds: The children are being sexualised too early and both the male and female sense of worth is focused on the way they look and whether… they are attractive to the opposite sex.”
Her full interview airs on Magic FM, Sunday, Aug 10 at 7 pm.
Do you agree with O’Connor’s view that Justin Bieber and young male stars are sexualised too early to make a buck for others? And if so, what effect do you think it has?
Let us know in comments below.