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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » LGBTQA Relationships » tATu - is it alright to be gay to sell records?

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Author Topic: tATu - is it alright to be gay to sell records?
Scarleteen Volunteer
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hi folks,

heard about "tATu" yet? - excuse the caps, but that's apparently how their name is supposed to be spelled.

tATu is a casted two girl band from russia that has been taking europe by storm. the name "tATu" is apparently an abbreviation of russian for "this girl loves that girl", and the band has been referred to in the media as the "lesbian girl band".

their first european wide single is called "all the things she said". - the lyrics (beware, pop-under ad at link) are nothing spectacular and revolve around repeated chanting of "all the things she said" and a "coming out" conversation with mom and dad - "mother looking at me/tell me what do you see?/yes, i've lost my mind/daddy looking at me/will I ever be free?/have I crossed the line?".
The video features both singers in ultra-short, rained-through school uniforms, kissing, running away from evil-looking on-lookers, running away hand in hand.

the video was deemed too risky by british television, and was apparently banned by the bbc. meanwhile, over here in germany, it's constantly screened on music television channels that screen videos by sms or call-vote.

fact is, though, that the two girls aren't lesbian, but straight, and the whole act of "lesbian chic" is a marketing idea.

furthermore, it seems that their creator and producer, a bloke by the name ivan shapovalov, has admitted that he started tATu as an "underage sex project" designed to appeal to men in search of "underage entertainment".

so what's your view on using straight girls to sell cds with "lesbian chic"?
can this be any good for the glbt community or is it harmful instead?
can acceptance of glbt stem from videos filmed to (and sorry, the following has been written over and over in the papers, and isn't necessarily my view) "embody the average straight males fantasy of two school girls making out"?

what's your view on this?

i had a discussion on this yesterday with my partner and a recently-out friend of ours, susie, and her partner. while i found tATus pretense horrible, un-feminist and counter-productive for "the glbt cause", both susie and her girlfriend thought it rocked to see gay girls on the telly, even if they were faking it. this surprised me a bit.

in any way, that's why i am putting this up - i'll jump into the discussion later, once i am sure about what i want to say, really.

for some more info, check out:

the guardian: girls, uninterrupted - lesbianism is yet again being used as a top marketing tool. william leith on why it never fails to work for men

the guardian: hideous kinky - as an underage, allegedly lesbian, pop duo prepares for world domination, colin paterson wonders if there is no limit to how low music svengalis will sink in their quest for publicity (interestingly, this article is from may last year.)

the guardian: 'lesbian' russian act tops UK charts

tATu: official website

~Scarleteen Sexpert~

Spike: (In response to being asked to fight a troll) "I would, but I'm paralyzed with not caring very much."

[This message has been edited by Alaska (edited 02-15-2003).]

Posts: 4526 | From: germany | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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All I know by them is a rather strained cover of How Soon Is Now (everyone's covered that song); talent-wise, there's really not much to them. What bothers me here is how one-dimensional the idea of being gay is made to seem. A woman who's a lesbian is a lot more than just a chick who makes out with chicks, just as most people are a hell of a lot more than just their sexuality. I guess we've moved on from Blaxploitation (A whole group of people, now, capable of more than just fighting crimes and wearing funny looking pants!) to a whole new genre. Wonder how long until this stuff'll seem laughable?


Anyone perfect must be lying, anything easy has its cost
Anyone plain can be lovely, anyone loved can be lost

Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Its so annoying.

These beuatiful girls burst on the scene with a cool song, and wow, look they're lesbians.

Everyone's singing their song, everyone knows that they're "lesbians" and aren't really bothered about it.

Suddenly, teenagers like myself have hope. A lesbian song has entered mainstream pop culture, a song I can relate to, that other teenage lesbians can relate to(and older ones can too).

So, we buy the song because

a) the song is good
b) we're supporting two of our own.

and eh,
c) the single has the video on CD -ROM(hee hee hee, pretty ladies)

And now that the song is in our heads and in the charts and its practically guaranteed a high chart postion:

"Oh, people think we're lesbians but we actually just love each other a lot"

I feel so exploited, so angry, and in a funny way, so betrayed.

This band got our attention by sayin that they were lesbians but don't give a damn, but all they were doing is playing up to the ultimate straight man's fantasy.

I think that they and their Mr. Underage sex manager are disgusting.

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Er....About the fact that tAtU were supposed to be lesbians, and that it didn't bother teenagers...not entirely true. I vividly remember gals in my class singing the "have I crossed the line?" verse and breaking up into giggles and saying "yeah she HAS crossed the line tee hee hee" etc...So maybe the song possessed that infectious pop rhythm and repetitive one phrase, but it was still about lesbianism, and the ignorant still mocked it...
Posts: 16 | From: DC Area | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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i'm not sure. i like their music, yeah, but the fact that they faked their sexuality pissed me off. i am definitely not going to buy their CDs or any of their merchandise. it wouldn't feel right.

libido ergo sum.

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Gumdrop Girl
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I'm gonna agree with sachie. I thought that "All the Things She Said" song was pretty catchy. But the whole faux-lesbian thing really turns me off. I think attention-getting tactics like that unfairly stereotype real lesbians. I also am not a big fan of making popstars into one-dimensional entities (i.e., tATu are defined solely by their sexual orientation, the Spice Girls each represented one trait, etc.)

Either way, they'll just have their 15 minutes and then they'll be forgotten. I'm not going to buy their album, but that's only 'cause I'm a music snob and cannot be arsed to spend $16 on sugar pop (I just bought The Music and My Vitriol's albums yesterday, actually).

Universal Law #4721: Any joke can be made funnier with the word "goatf**ker." Corollary, any story can be made more entertaining by adding a few ninjas.

Posts: 12677 | From: Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I don't think that what they're doing is so wrong - they're just pretending to be something that they aren't, as probably half of the Billboard 100 is also doing. Avril Lavigne is punk? In her dreams. tATu are lesbians? No, but they play them at work. Like Gumdrop, I take my music fairly seriously, and what they're doing just doesn't interest me. That's the reason - the only reason - that I won't buy their albums.

You can twist his body 'til it faces backwards/Those plastic features/You could make somebody a pretty little wife/But don't let anybody tell you how to live your life.
-Elvis Costello, Tear Off Your Own Head (It's a Doll Revolution)

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I find taTu are starting another fad, like what happened when Avril Lavigne bursted onto the scene (No offence to any Avril fans).

My friend and I like to refer to the taTu girls as 'Only lesbians at press confrences'.
If you remember a little while ago (And it still goes on), how bisexuality went from being a lifestyle into a fashion statement (like so many lifestyles unfortunately do nowadays), this has already started (well where I am anyway) lesbianism as a fashion statement.

Okay, I'm obviously rambling. I shall stop now. Sorry.

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My g/f bought the tATu CD back before we knew they were fakes. At first I was like "Yes! Lesbian music that people actually listen to!" Only, of course, to later find out that are the kind of girls I detest. It's really not much different than the girls that hang all over each other just to make a guy "hot."
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do people think this is better/worse/the same as male popstars who are gay but keep it secret in order to sell records to teen girls?
Posts: 166 | From: London, England | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gumdrop Girl
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It depends. Does the popstar want to be out or not? If he wants to stay closeted, then who are we to out him against his will?

On the other hand, le's expand this to include other "dirty little secrets." I had a friend who was a musician. His band was on the verge of making it big. The management forced him to lie about his age because apparently people over 35 can't sell records to teenagers.

Was that fair? Hell no. Is it fair to "beard" a popstar to sell records? No. Is it fair to hide Britney's sex life to maintain that chastened girl-next-door image? No (and she isn't denying it anymore, either).

Universal Law #4721: Any joke can be made funnier with the word "goatf**ker." Corollary, any story can be made more entertaining by adding a few ninjas.

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Does anyone here remember The Village People? That was certainly about being gay to sell records. Mind you the band members were gay.

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

- Albert Einstein

[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 02-26-2003).]

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Actually, I was gonna mention the Village People but you beat me to it. They weren't, that was my point. They sold their record by being the gayest band on the planet , and then it came out that only one (the Indian, I think ) was actually gay. Pop has always been about finding a rather shallow character and playing it.

tAtU have upset a lot of people and I think their gimmick may backfire because the gay teen doesn't get a whole lotta representation and when it comes along, people invest. Then they get very very pissed when you take them for a ride.

Still, I can't help feeling its Ivan Shapovalov, and not the girls at all, who deserves an ass whupping. The guy is just ten tonnes of scary. I wish people would stop interviewing him and giving him even more of the publicity he so obviously craves.

"You there...Cake or death???"..."Uhm....cake please." - Eddie Izzard

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Yes, I love tATu. Let me put that right out so everyone understands that I probably am biased.

I believe it isn't right of them to "act" like lesbians. Some say they are, some say they are not. I honestly don't know and will leave that up to all of you to decide. All I know is they are doing what I believe is a good thing.

It is liked by the masses yet holds a message not accepted by the majority. I feel like it is bringing more of our culture in the light of what was once feared territory to tread on.

*laughs* And as I said, yes I am biased because I find them attractive and yes I do enjoy there music.

I may only be a little girl in your eyes, but one day I will be a beautiful woman and all you will be able to do is watch me walk away.

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I love tatu!!!!! the songs are really differnt and everything but they have bf's.... this is wut i heard from an interview or sumthin. Now i dont think it is wrong 2 be bisexual at all, in fact i have tons of friends that are but i do believe its wrong 2 make out w/ another girl because you know guys think its hot and will buy the records. again i dont know if that is actuazlly the case but it kinda seems like it. It wouldnt seem that way if they werent wearing schoolgirl outfits either but thats another thing guys seem 2 like in general. out the two together and i admit its a way 2 get attention but their music should be why they r famous, not the fact they are kissing in uniforms. no offense, but i dont see straight couples being famous for making out in their videos so y should bisexual or lesbian couples.


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it does kinda suck. being fake in any way bothers me, tho. i see where everyone's coming from with feeling betrayed, cuz it was kinda refreshing to see open people on the scene, only to find that they were faking. they were however pretty smart for doing that; they did sell a lotta records that way. as for the song itself, i liked it even before they were "gay" so it's cool. i told my very very sexually confused friend that they were faking gayness and she was like "they suck!! i was gonna buy their album! but now i won't! i won't support fake homosexuality." and i was like "but you'll support fake hederosexuality?" and she gave me an ugly look and was like "YES." and left my room. tee hee. funny that.


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ok so i was excited when i saw 2 "lesbians" makin out on television. and i still liked them even when i knew it was a ploy to sell records.i don't think the songs themselves are that great it's just really comforting to here "i feel for her" coming out of a girls mouth instead of a guys. it's easier to relate to.what we need is more homosexual music in the mainstream. the problem is that gay guys are rejected more than girls which makes it hard for them and girls are overly accepted to the point where guys get giddy over it or people jump to the conclusion that they are just using it as a ploy, justr becuase they are open about it and make music. tatu deffinently used the gay title to sell rercords, but if they hadn't people still would have thought they did. it extrememly unfair to the people that just want to want to be accepted (not hated or drooled over)

ps dzuunmod -avril never once said she was punk, she even disclaims it (sorry, i just get tired of people claiming that i say i'm punk just because i listen to her music)
-whether you like ta tu or not you should find the video for 30 minutes, it's so awesome!

if you didn't already know, you're not very perceptive

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Scarleteen Volunteer
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Avril may not say that she thinks she's punk, but she doesn't have to. Everything else she does contributes to that image.

I don't have to say that I think I have long hair for it to be true.

...and we raise the white flag, so they can paint it red and blue!
-Joel Plaskett, True Patriot Love

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First- I myself dont really care about the people whos singing's sexuality..if the song is good or at least has a good

Second- It is ,in a way of, course wrong to pretend (note Complicated by Avril.. she wrote that about pretenders) to be something when you are not,especially just to sell a record..but think about this: Maybe, just MAYBE they are trying to say they have no problem with same-sex oriented people, and trying to tell people that they shouldnt have anything wrong with them either. That they are normal just like you and me and not that bad...bla bla bla.

Who knows? I think they are brave coming out and doing all this stuff. -shrugs-

"Quod Me Nutrit Me Destruit!"

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The beatles all pretended to be single, Avril lavigne pretends to be a punk, TaTu pretend to be lesbian, George Michal pretended to be straight, Michal Jackson pretends to be white, look throughout modern history sexuality and image sells records, is it right? why not?
People use gimmiks to sell everything else, macdonalds toys etc.
The thing to ask is is it right for us to listen to the hype instead of just the song?
It's up to you WHY you buy records, the whole pop sceene is made by image, so buy GOOD songs instead.

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It is true that a lot about the music industry is fake. Because some people and music labels will do whatever they can to sell labels. And this whole thing about the two girls pretending to be lesbians when they actually are not makes you wonder. How will this affect them when they get older? It's like living a lie. It IS living a lie. not to mention, T.A.T.U.'s manager Ivan Shapovalov is a psychiatrist. So he knows exactly what he's doing, and he obviously knows the appeal of two lesbian schoolgirls.
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I like tATu. I first found out about them before they made it big in English speaking countries, bought the album, and enjoyed it, because I related to the lyrics. The girls (especially the brunette) are attractive, the idea of them being together is attractive.

Like slayer_gurl, I was excited to see two lesbians doing mainstream. I was kind of dissapointed when I found out they weren't, but hey, if people want to use lipstick lesbianism to sell records, I'm not complaining - more food for thought for me.

When one of our sketch shows here in Aus did a parody of "All the things she said" with a chorus of "Every time you wank, every time you wank, money in our bank, money in our bank" I just laughed more.

I guess if I'm not personally being lied to I don't mind. It's when girls who know I like them say that they used to like me to make me feel better that it hurts. (Even if it's kinda not the same thing). I seem to project the lesbian image onto straight girls though (convince myself they're gay)then find out that they aren't. So it's kind of self generated false advertising (if that makes sense).

Winnie :0)

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I heard about Tatu a while ago, before they became known in the US. I saw a clip of their video and heard a sound byte and I wasnt really impressed. It just wasnt my bag I suppose. I was so creeped out when I head their manager was a former psychologist and met the girls when they were in therapy. I remember a blender article where the a handler for the girls said the interviewer was asking them if they slept in the same bed or not. The interviewer didnt even ask that question but since he knew russian he heard the conversation the handler had with the girls. Anyway... I guess you have to have a gimick to sell albums these days. Some pop stars try to reach fans with part of their ethnic background. Others try to create fantasy for their fans. I really dont see what Tatu doing is all that different. I think its sad that anyone has to lie about who they are to sell anything.
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