Singer Charlotte Church has slammed music executives for "hyper-sexualising" female pop stars, blaming them for the harsh treatment meted out by critics.
The outspoken Welsh singer was just 12 years old when she came on the music scene, sending her on a fast path to fame when she was still in her formative years.
Now 27, she used her appearance at this year's (13) Peel Lecture to radio industry executives in Salford, England on Monday (14Oct13) to speak out against the image she was forced to take on in order to transition from classical singer to pop star.
Church said, "Women are being coerced into sexual roles to cling on to their careers... They are encouraged to present themselves as hyper-sexualised, unrealistic, cartoonish, as objects, reducing female sexuality to a prize you can win.
"When I was 19 or 20, I found myself being pressured into wearing more and more revealing outfits and the lines that I had spun at me again and again (generally by middle aged men) were 'You look great, you've got a great body, why not show it off?'"
The Crazy Chick hitmaker explained that the aftermath of her days at the top of the charts proved to be just as horrible as when she was forced to be someone she was not.
She continued, "The portrayal of me is that now I am frequently abused on social media, being called 'slut', 'whore' and a catalogue of other indignities. The culture of demeaning women in pop music is so ingrained as to become routine."
Church went so far as to suggest that if pop stars of her generation weren't coerced into showing more skin, perhaps today's superstars wouldn't feel the need to take their images above and beyond the accepted norm.
She added, "If Rihanna had not grown up watching the videos of the nineties then it might not be quite so essential for her to portray her sexuality so luridly, so constantly, and so influentially upon the next generation."