Opinion: Do Female Pop Stars Have To Reinvent Themselves To Stay Relevant?

Opinion: Do Female Pop Stars Have To Reinvent Themselves To Stay Relevant?

For decades, the norm for female pop stars is to transition through different eras through the course of their career. From Janet Jackson, Cher and Madonna to BeyoncéRihanna and Taylor Swift, all of these pop stars have had to go through different changes artistically, and so the question rises if those changes were necessary in order for them to stay relevant. 

Beyoncé started her solo career in 2003 with the release of her album Crazy In Love, which featured the hit song of the same name, featuring rapper Jay-Z, and managed to top the charts all over the world. This, of course, all happened while being part of the girl group Destiny’s Child, with the group officially breaking up in 2006.

From Destiny’s Child to The Carters, Beyoncé has been the artist who experimented in ways not a lot of artists have had the courage to do.

This can be understood to the full extent with the 2016 release of Lemonade, when she let the world see a side of her we have never seen before and be vulnerable not only as a woman, but as a Black woman.

Taylor Swift represents another artist whom has had to think carefully before an album release. Starting at the age of 13 writing songs, Taylor released her self-titled album in 2006, which was a mixture of the country and pop genres.

After 15 years of being a pop star, she released albums which explored genres such as pop, rock, electronic and country. Her 2017 album release, Reputation, extended the electro-pop sound by including urban influences.

When looking at these artists and their constant relevance over the years, the changes they went through after each album release not only when it comes to their skills as songwriters or singers but to their skills as performers and the new things they had to bring in each live performance are immense.

Therefore, in my opinion, I do not believe their success would have been the same if they did not reinvent themselves with each music release.

Music fans are far more critical in my opinion when it comes to female pop stars, and they are forced to be way more cautious than their male counterparts in the music industry. This can only be rooted in the internalised misogyny, which is still very much present in today’s society in any and all industries.

This can be seen in past events when comparing the treatment Janet Jackson received after the the 2004 Superbowl to Justin Bieber and his arrest in 2014 for drunk driving and driving without a valid license.

Janet’s music was not played by MTV, and the incident ruined her reputation in the music industry.

Nothing Justin has done has affected his reputation. Even worse, there were millions of people calling him ”brave” after he openly admitted to emotionally abusing Selena Gomez.

When looking at artists such as Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran or John Mayer, their relevance as musicians has not changed over the years and as long as fans see their presence on stage with a guitar in their hand, they will receive praise for not bringing any sense of originality or something new to the world of pop.

Going through different eras as an artist is important as it expands their vision and shows true growth, however there is a certain pressure, felt only by female pop stars, which needs to end.

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