Why The Double Standard?

Is there a double standard amongst music fans that makes it ok for Janet Jackson to disrobe and simulate sex on stage, while artists like Rihanna and Beyonce get slack for doing far less? This is the question that I have found is being asked on this site and many others. And though I am a longtime Janet fan and supporter, I must admit that the answer is YES! Why? I don’t know.

One commenter on this site says it is because Janet’s fan base is much older and thus impressionable teenagers are less likely to see and thus be influenced by what Janet does. Other commenters simply think Janet is being true to herself, whereas they see artists like Rihanna and Beyonce as using their sexuality for the sole purpose of selling music.

If I had to take a wild guess as to why I personally think Janet can get away with things that many younger artists would be criticized for, I would say it is because sex never ruled Janet’s image. Janet is still seen very much as the tomboy she has always claimed to be. Let’s face it, if you weren’t a stone cold fan who kept up with Janet’s career and attended her concerts, you wouldn’t even know she did some of the risqué things she does.

Janet has shown BALANCE in her career. When you think of her you think of dance and great video. Sex or her sexuality never crosses your mind because it has been woven into her songs and outside of her music she never displays it. Janet’s freakier side has always been hidden and something only her most die-hard fans knew about. Janet has managed to balance the tomboy side of herself with the woman she is and has done so without allowing her image to become all about her looks or the sexual things she does in concert.

Janet has a 30+ year career behind her and so the public knows what she has to offer and they know it is more than just cover girl good looks. Unfortunately, many of today’s artists are seen as having only “the look” and little else to backup them being called musicians.

On the upside- should many of todays hot young divas be around 10 years from now, I think this argument will become moot.

Image via @angelonfire


  1. I think Janet is “just janet.” She has a way of letting us believe that we are getting a glimpse of a side of her not to many know, unless your a die hard fan as you said. Janet’s audience knows she is likely to torture some “unsuspecting” sole on stage while we watch. That’s her thing and the fans love it! As for the other beauties of the music world they are marketed as “good girls” first and then they go bad. Thus the controversy. Janet has always been in control! She doesn’t let the industry control her or her image.

  2. (((What you said)))

    If I had to take a wild guess as to why I personally think Janet can get away with things that many younger artists would be criticized for, I would say it is because sex never ruled Janet’s image.

    (((Beyonce is more of a gimmick than Rihanna, Rihanna evolved in her image and switched up her style as a risk taker, while Beyonce sticks with the sex sells mentality even as she is aging and her fan base is outgrowing her)

  3. YES! EXACTLY. Not to mention Janet doesn’t do it in a trashy way to get attention. It’s like she can do it, and draws this aura like THIS IS HOW IT’S SUPPOSE TO BE DONE. I love me some Janet.

  4. Sista, you hit the nail on the head. No other explanation needed.

  5. I agree!!! Janet is sexy she’s not overly sexy and whoever just said beyonce is a gimmick you gotta be kidding right?! Rihanna is a gimmick of a gimmicks beyonces career has not been.based on sex….she may dance sexy but rihanna just tries sooo damn hard….im not a rihanna hater or a beyonce stan but rihanna is the gimmick not beyonce….Janet always kept it sexy!

  6. Honestly, you all sound so hypocritical. I can’t even go into how silly you all sound thus far.

    My thing is this: Janet in this video IS overtly sexy, point blank. Don’t try spinning it in other directions, because frankly Janet has been in touch with her sexuality and showcased that (ie: her album cover with the man covering her bare breasts, her freaky schoolgirl persona in Jermaine Dupri’s video, song lyrics, etc). I have known this, being super young AND not being a diehard fan.

    However, the difference between my opinion and yours is that none of this bothers me: neither Janet’s, Beyonce’s, Rihanna’s displays of sexuality disgusts me in the slightest. I think it’s powerful; Janet looked so powerful and in control at the festival, I loved it. Beyonce is always so coy with hers, so “naughty” and it’s sexy without being slutty. Rihanna is young and beautiful, so her displays of sexuality are a little overt but make sense at least.

    If you accept one, you gotta accept them all. It’s all the same, and since Janet is “Janet” I feel like a lot of this IS double standard from those who condemn the younger girls versus the classics, the icons. I don’t condemn either/or so maybe that’s why my point of view isn’t so two-faced at best.

  7. I totally agree with LOL :iagree: !!!! This whole post to me is a bunch of hypocritical BS.

  8. Rihanna comes from a culture of sexuality. she’s from the Caribbean. look at carnival or he dance hall culture. what Janet or beyonce is doing may be an act,but Rihanna is from a culture of expressing sexuality is dancing.its not an act it life.

  9. If we are going to be totally honest here then LOL is 100% correct. You cannot condemn the younger girls and just give Janet a pass no matter what your reasoning.

    Now I do enjoy me some Janet too but no matter how much sex she uses she does use it and she uses enough of it at one time to outdo anything these younger girls are doing.

    Nothing Rihanna or Beyonce has ever done comes even close to what I just watched from Janet.


  10. Can someone point me to a video that shows Rihanna or Beyonce being sexual in a way that would warrant a comparison to what Janet Jackson is doing in the above video?

    Does wearing a skimpy outfit automatically mean someone should be compared to someone who gets on stage and simulates giving oral sex or riding a man’s stick?

    The hypocrisy in this thread is really mind blowing. Rihanna, Beyonce, Teairra, Christina and Britney are all nuns compared to Miss Jackson. :stop:

  11. OMG did you guys click on that pic? Janet is off the chain. I don’t even know what to say to that.

  12. “Janet in this video IS overtly sexy”
    If that was the point of this article i doubt many people will disagree. Janet is being overly sexual in one particular video.Or maybe two,Which i doubt because she is generally dancing really dancing,not mimicking sex, Just dancing.
    Now shall we pull out how many videos of rihanna and beyonce how there where they are being overly sexual for no particular reason? just showing it all?! Further more i know none of you want to start with comparing and talk about cutting some slacks, because when people remind you that rihanna is on the same level as beyonce you people want to have a cow and two chickens,now because it’s convenient you want to put them in the same pot? Stfu with all that bullshit.

    and the difference between sexuality and sensuality is something mother and father should explain to you!If you don’t know then My bAD!

  13. I think all artists need to strive for something more than being sexy. If they keep doing these sexy acts on stage, no one will remember the music or care about what they are singing about..which will cause the death of good music. I think the real question is what is their motive for being sexy? Is it to sell records (hopefully only to adults), get men to look at them, hide lack luster singing and performance abilities, or are they too lazy to create positive but moving lyrics and performances that will inspire others for good? I hope they stop or tone down the sexyness because they could use that stage time and star power to really make a difference (Whom much is given, much is required..what profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul)

  14. Janet Jackson started out as a tomboy good girl, who gradually stepped away from that and moved on to this present image. I’m a Janet Jackson fan, so let me give you my perspective. When Janet first stepped out of the box, and became sexy Janet, she did it with jeans, different hair color, and a bra top, that was it. Then she came out with the Janet album, the cover was sexy, with the man holding her breasts, but it wasn’t just any man, it was her ex-huband Renee Elizondo, doing that, hands painted black. Then when she did the videos and songs for Janet album, it was sexy and sensual, but not trashy. Then when she did the whole S&M part 1, with Velvet Rope, she was married, and thus you knew that she and her husband came up with the songs, he wrote many songs for her. And then the following albums followed, people accepted it, because although her concerts, videos, music maybe sexually explicited, she carries herself with class and sophistication, that you can tell that she isn’t like that in real life. Seeing that she is an actress , first, singer 2nd.Also, while she talks about sex and stage performances is out there, her private life is so private, that we never hear or read, or see Janet actually being a dominatrix in real life. Ok, the piercings and tatoos, but she was married to her husband that time, so it’s obvious that those things were to please him and her, which made it forbidden to think about but sexy nonetheless. lol. And for the whole bondage thing with male fans, I’m pretty sure those are dancers hired to do that. Janet doesn’t come across as that daring to get a man, she didn’t screened beforehand to grind on.

    This is a woman that said that once Puffy asked her to spend the weekend him with at his Hamptons home,she turned him down, and said that she wasn’t that type of woman. People fail to realize that Janet is an actress, and she she doesn’t come across as trashy. Even her dance moves, don’t come across as sexy to me, just doing her thing for show. Janet the performer is different than Janet the woman. This is a business.

    But as far as the other woman like Beyonce , Rhianna, I guess people get on them and not Janet because she’s simply ,J-A-N-E-T.

  15. I have battled with myself whether or not to comment this video and apparently the future journalist in me won. I’ve read many of the comments and I won’t answer the question why the double standard because I personally feel at the end of the day the entire industry itself is a double standard.
    Now as far as this whole thing with sexuality btwn the three women Janet, Rihanna, and Beyonce is concerned and I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with the concept of sexuality in music, I feel that of the three Janet has at least set a standard in music where the quality definitely over shadowed the quantity and has therefore put her in a place in history that despite her overtly sexual lyrics and performances as of late that at the end of the day fans and even curious on lookers can say wow some show. Whereas, with the other two it seems as though they thrust this image of im sexy this is me at you constantly and there is really nothing of quality the came before it where ppl can say well they’ve grown up its apart of life. At least with Janet it happened gradually and she said I’m doin it how I want when I want whereas today the big industry guru’s seem to have the artist by their strings just like puppets……. force feeding them this concept of sex sells…… which in turn is the difference btwn Beyonce, Rihanna, and Janet which is certainly evident……

  16. I agree with firefly, at the end of the day, artists shouldn’t have to apologize for their songs or their artform. look at Prince, the man is 50 years old and is standing there in front of the new generation of artists telling them don’t make the same mistakes he made, i’m assuming by being vulgar. look at him, prince and mj were geniuses in their own right, but because prince went the sexy route never got the accolades that mj received, because noone can play his music without censoring many of the content. he said once that he didn’t know children were listening to his music. that has to haunt him, these artists need to see that art can be just as powerful and effective without vulgrarity.

  17. The difference between Janet and then Beyonce and Rihanna is that Janet has never been seen as “America’s Sweetheart” like Beyonce and Rihanna. Janet is sexual at the right time when she’s singing the right song. Where Beyonce and Rihanna do things like grab thier coochies to imitate being “bad asses” and do other sexual things that don’t even relate to the songs thier singing. What was the purpose of Rihanna being bisexual in her Te Amo video when that’s not her and they could have come up with a different concept than that? She even explained that the song isn’t about being bisexual. It’s relating to her situations at clubs and how females react to her. So why go with that concept? To open a bigger audience. What is the purpose of Beyonce grinding and grabbing her cooch while performing If I Were A Boy (I forgot what award show that was)? But she had never done that before. I just think sexuality is nothing new with Janet.

  18. this is the dumbest reasoning i’ve ever heard!
    sorry sista, but this was stupid!!!
    i agree fully with what LOL said!!!
    no matter how you put it, janet is still doing hoe shit on stage and that guy is not her husband!!!

  19. I agree with LOL…I am not bothered by Janet, Beyonce, or Rihanna. Why do women have to justify their sensuality or their sexuality? Are we not multi-faceted and can be strong, beautiful, intelligent, sexual, erotic, empowered, and still embrace a sense of humility at the same time. All of these women are ENTERTAINERs and why do we feel the need to try to confine their artistry in some imaginary box for our own appeasement?

    Janet has introduced songs that delved into racism, domestic violence and sexual pleasure yet no one song should be an entire definition of her music. Rihanna has evolved from Pon De Replay to Disturbia and now Te Amor and who are you to determine if this is a natural progression, or a gimmick. Beyonce’ was in an all girls group and they had songs titled Nasty Girl(that stated put some clothes on, why don’t you – their lyrics) but she was a young woman, raised in the church and they had worldwide appeal as a clean image girls group. Now, her image as a solo artist may be a reflection of her personal views and experiences. Many of her songs are centered around female empowerment but she also embraces her sexual siren image, a la Sasha Fierce.

    We don’t live our lives in front of a camera, therfore, we transition seamlessly into our different personas – ie. you are not the same at work, out on the town, or when you’re with your significant other…so why do you expect different from someone just because they’re entertainers.

  20. Let’s be realistic. The double standard is because her fan base is not willing to critize her because her music career is on a downturn. However, that same generation will criticize the beyonce’s and rihanna’s because they have blossoming careers. And !@ sepiastar, I couldn’t have put it better myself, and THAT is saying something!!!

  21. @sista,

    The dominating force in Janet’s career since All for You has TOTALLY been sex, and you CAN’T deny that.

  22. Also @Sista,

    Beyonce’s near 15 year career is proof of longevity if I ever saw it. And the last 5 years Janet’s music has not been selling. None of the Cds after all for you have sold 1,000,000 copies (1 may have been certified platinum but the sales remain aroudn 760k)

  23. 🙄 I’m surprise Ciara name is not in this post but I totally :iagree: with Brown Sista.

  24. TOTALLY agree with LOL, you hit the nail right on the head with that statement.
    I also agree with SWAKM.
    I think the bottom line is people are tired of seein certain artist…on top(if you will) and the artist that are dominating are not their favorites so it angers them so much, that they come up with the most silly excuses for their hypocrisy. (i.e. like these above)

  25. Its quite simple people accept Janet because she has always owned her sexuality and has not made excuses for it. Whatever she does you know its all her. Others claim their sexual behavior isn’t them and give it a name like Sasha Fierce. When asked about it they claim they would never do what their alter ego does. They attempt to keep it seperate for some reason which I never understood. If its you then its you, people either like you or not. I know some of it is in good fun but I think that one got out of hand.

  26. Xedos… um… what? are you from the caribbean? i would beg to differ, seriously. if you were, you would know that your “explanation” was the furthest thing from the truth. i’m west indian and trust, while carnival is a time to “free up” and show case beautiful costumes, it’s not based on the idea that “sex sells”. not to mention, most caribbean nations are down right prudish when it comes to sex and sexuality, so please don’t speak on what you don’t know.

    as for Janet, I agree with LOL. many of you here are a bunch of hypocrites for trying to justify Janet bumpin and grinding while calling Beyonce and Rhianna all kinds outlandish names when they do the same… *smh*

  27. I agree with LOL. And you’re SPOT ON about Beyonce. Especially her music catalogue. She’s not as “sexual” as some make her out to be.

    And another thing, when a performer performs, their PERFORMING like an actor or actress does. Rihanna’s name though it is her middle name, is her STAGE NAME. Her name is really ROBYN. It’s done for entertainment purposes. Every performer has an alter-ego of sorts.

    And that’s how I see Janet’s image. It’s stage props and acting. She’s not like that 24/7. She performing what the song is about. People can like it or not but it is what it is.

  28. SepiaStar, you’re the best poster on this board because you come with sense all the time. And you’re positive about black women in all your posts.

    And this especially need to posted again: We don’t live our lives in front of a camera, therfore, we transition seamlessly into our different personas – ie. you are not the same at work, out on the town, or when you’re with your significant other…so why do you expect different from someone just because they’re entertainers.

    And most songs about being with their SOs(theoretically because they are playing a role) and many times songs are going to be written about those kind of topics. More women need to keep it spicy for their men. I don’t see the same vigor against male artists talking about they invented B’day sex. Or seeing them hump the ground bareback. That’s a bigger double standard than what Sista is saying lack of criticism of Janet’s image.

  29. :hifive: @ Someone who knows music.

    People forget that Bey has been in the industry a while. Toni Braxton same the same thing on an interview and when the interview tried to compare her(Bey) to Rihanna and Ciara, she shut that down with the quickness.

    There are other things that motivates the comments on Beyonce and I am not going to say because there is no need to go there.



  31. I think it’s all about how you go about when to display sexuality. Definitely not trying to take a side but there are certain artists nowadays who are placing their extreme sexuality in every performance and video. They are always showing some kind of skin or wearing their horrid unitards or the bra and panties set. Janet isn’t always displaying herself like that only at the right time and place.

    I do think all artists as a whole (including old and new) need to put their clothes back on. I’m waiting for the day when one of these artists appear on stage looking sexy with some clothes on (mind you Janet can do that effortlessly). Loved the performance though

  32. Hmmm…I have never seen or read where Beyonce or Rihanna was given slack over their outfits moreso than Janet. I have never seen them wear anything unappropriate. I have seen Rhi and Bey wear tacky getups but nothing that is not show worthy. Sometimes on a slow news day, these blog writers while start stuff where there is none. SMDH! Get a job! 🙄

  33. um…..half way off topic but i don’t care.

    what is the name of the song janet is singing in the video? i feel like i should know this song, slightly ashamed (i love janet’s music) because i should know this. plus it sounds familiar. let me know. is it off of discipline?
    and it was mad hard for me to watch this video. i won’t deny, i’m immature i guess. i had to pause the video twice and kept giggling while watching, then again those in the audience were doing the same thing so…i’m in good company i guess. plus this is no different from her “would you mind” joint from the “all for you” tour.
    :bowdown: :lol2: :bowdown:

  34. I think the ppl who posted and gave Janet a pass are filled with B.S! I’m 22 the youngest of 5 so I’ve grown up on a lot of music from different eras. That is not the first time Janet has done this performance. I was watching her do this on YouTube a while back and hurried up and turn it off when my nephew snuck up behind me watching it. Let’s not forget the Superbowl incident. Janet has always gotten a pass simply because her last name is Jackson point blank. Beyonce gets on that stage in clothes ppl make too big of a deal about and sings and dances her azz off. But Janet gets on stage and lipsyncs and gets away with it. At least Rihanna tries to sing live even though she really shouldn’t. So they dance provocatively according to most but at least Beyonce and Rihanna aren’t on stage popping their breasts out or being a dominatrix. SMH at the hipocracy.

  35. @Sista

    “Janet has shown BALANCE in her career. When you think of her you think of dance and great video. Sex or her sexuality never crosses your mind because it has been woven into her songs and outside of her music she never displays it.”

    “We are multi-faceted”…people aren’t inclusive and feel there can’t be one without the other…which is ridiculous…Janet did her thing and it’s all hers…she may not have been selling, but this portion of her persona isn’t new either and is all in her music…Janet fell from grace with the superbowl incident, it could have happened to Britney and nothing would have happened…you only get one or two singles to rise to the top of charts, think Usher and Alicia Keys (lousy first singles), their latest projects could have flopped, but by the grace of God they didn’t. I think she didn’t do as well because it was too dark and her singles/videos are usually bright, energic and colorful, great dance music. The futuristic/space/techno thing, using different producers didn’t work…the mohawk…sex won’t sell her music, it’s not what people expect from Janet Jackson. So I don’t think Janet is doing this to sell music…maybe, some more concert tickets, that’s where they make their money anyway…what are the real reasons some find her performance disturbing or throw in other artists?…there have been so many comments and this dialogue is good. Like someone said, the bigger double standard is the “I invented sex”…”Birthday Sex”…we make no complaints…

    We live in a world of contraditions and exceptions, sensuality/erotica vs. sexual/ sales and marketing…maybe there isn’t a difference and it’s just a matter of opinion…but, we should call a truce and not interject other artists’ names into the ring…let’s see that happen, it would be quite novel, indeed!

    I know I will if you won’t!

  36. @ Pray For The Children. Janet is singing Discipline, the title track from her last CD.

    I have been a Janet fan since Good Times, (Yes the first time around and not reruns. I am that old!) and on through Different Strokes and Fame until she finally started a music career. I bought her original 45 Young Love back when artists came out with records. I love Janet and am a longtime fan. I do agree that her music and performance persona has become significantly sexualized since Velvet Rope. I’m not judging it just noticing that that’s where she’s gone. As an artist I assume Janet is being herself and the audience will decide what they want to support. Sounds like her EMF audience in the video clip were enjoying the show she put on for them that night.

    I hope Janet’s going to put out a new CD soon.

  37. Are people really too DUMB/STUPID to not see that LOL is 100% completely correct? Or are they letting their love for Janet, and hate for “others” get in the way?

  38. It is getting harder and harder to tell the difference from the so call singers and celebrities and strippers. I don’t understand why anyone has to do something like this. The only difference I see with Janet and the other two that keeps being unfairly mentioned because all these young celebrities look like whhores so why just pick their names, is that Janet has proven she can come on stage without all of that and still hold the attention of the audience.

    I don’t think these young ladies can come on stage and not do all of this mess and still keep their attention. I have seen all of them try it and they all pretty boring and that is why they have to resort to that. I guess that would be the difference. I think it is sad what our sisters have had to resort to just to sell records. Because the record companies don’t want to produce good music they have to resort to this so you won’t pay attention to the crappy music they put out.





    She’s a gimmick because off stage she looks like an aging bum.

    :lol2: :lol2: :lol2: :lol2: :lol2: :lol2:

  40. Janet has always been a vixen but treaded the line between sexy and skanky. I am the biggest Janet fan and I have not seen the video but I will say I am a tad bit disappointed in her just as I am with Ciara, Beyonce, and Rihanna. Janet’s style of dance have never been slutty so I think that is why we give her a pass. I have not seen her twirking,jerking,a popping her cootie all over the stage like she’s trying to pay the rent like the other girls. 🙂

  41. And another thing, Janet has paid her dues and earned the right to do whatever she wants. She has paved the way by being the First Successful Black Female Pop Star to incorporate dance. I cannot count how many move Brittany has stolen from Ms. Jackson

  42. @Rockon

    you’re disgusting…and it is still her career just like those destiny’s child years can be credited to kelly’s career as well you imbecile. A career is a singular thing; applied to one person independent of others..

  43. I love Janet, LOVE BEE, dont care for Rihanna personally but her music is ok….in all they all do there thing sexually on stage. They all act like freaks on stage ALL OF THEM Esp ciara. THEY ALL DO! JLo, Toni Braxton, they all do in there own way….

    But uummm Janet KILLED IT! SHE BETTER GO! What I love is when she does interviews, or be at events she suck a LADY!


  44. SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY KNOWS MUSIC- Please don’t respond to that virus. Her 13 year career speaks volumes for itself, that’s just like saying 3 grammys should be taken away from her because she won them with DC. But I’m still amazed at these hypocrites. SMH.

  45. I have been a fan of Janet for awhile now..I have never seen her in concert and ive always wanted to…NO ..i don’t agree with her stage show at this point..If u have seen it before in concert then i guess its nothing new..as far as the superbowl thing…that was a tired set up and unfortunaly.. Janet fell for it…I like Beyonce when she was with her orginal back up singers but she has me vexed with how her family treated the extras of her crew..fast forward to now and she needs to listen to her own song “nasty put some clothes on”…Rhianna is mentored by bee’s husband so go figure with her stage show…to quote beyonce “when we make love i can feel all ur spirits deep indside”..i still want to know what that means!!! enough of my rant..I think its all tacky!! and to quote sister souljah “you gotta think ,close ur legs, u gotta think, get off ur knees, u gotta think, raise the standards for the black woman”!!!! :iagree: :iagree: :iagree: :iagree:

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