It’s hard to argue that Gwen Stefani isn’t a cultural icon. From her days as the front woman of No Doubt to her fashion takeover with her label L.A.M.B, Gwen’s is a style leader and an eternal testament to the power of a bold red lip.

And while many new girls in the game have been compared to her, Gwen isn’t too keen on those comparisons.

In this month’s music issue of ELLE magazine, Gwen shared her thoughts on whether or not Rihanna, Katy Perry and others had taken a page from her style playbook:

“Really? I don’t see myself in those girls. I usually put pants on. I see these girls as more going for the sex-symbol thing. I was more, in the band, like a tomboy. Of course, I think every girl is sexy, so there’s going to be a little of that. But I see a lot of younger artists going more toward the sexy thing.”

Gwen’s comments hardly seem like they were meant to knock Rihanna or Katy, but they do make us wonder if she has a point. Today, it seems like the most popular female acts are the ones rocking the least amount of clothes.  But then there are fully clothes exceptions like Esperanza, Jennifer Hudson and Adele who have found success without following the strip-tease path.

While her early grunge tomboy style was what catapulted Gwen to 90s era icon status, it’s hard to imagine a major female artist today using a similar strategy to find widespread fame.

Does Gwen have a point about current acts being over sexed-up or is she off base? Tell us what you think Clutchettes- share your thoughts!

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  • isolde

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    Today, it seems like the most popular female acts are the ones rocking the least amount of clothes. ***************************************************************************************************

    About this. Ok, first of all, a lot of Rihanna’s song lyrics and photo-shoots may be risqué, but she’s never appeared in a video or performed in some outfit or whatever that would be considered indecent. I have noticed that more of the pop-ladies (Bey, Ri, Gaga) are/have performed live in some type of lingerie, but if I looked hard enough, I could find a pic of the Runaways doing just that during one of their shows in the 70’s.

    Second. There’s been a recurring theme on Clutch when discussing Rihanna, suggesting that all she’s selling is an image, but if all you needed was a photogenic look, then Ciara’s last two albums would be platinum by now. So, yes, Rihanna and Katy are selling hot singles and good albums.

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    While her early grunge tomboy style was what catapulted Gwen to 90s era icon status
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    Um, no. Gwen’s image is only part of the story of how she rose to superstardom. The music and the mood had just as much to do with it as her look. No Doubt hit the scene when alternative rock and ska music were really hot. So, Gwen rode that wave and evolved past it. Dance pop is ruling right now, which is why Katy and Ri are among today’s winners. Hayley Williams is the closest thing to Gwen Stefani that we have today, and the band she fronts “Paramour” isn’t nearly as successful as No Doubt was in the 90’s because pop rules the airwaves.

    Third, there are certain genres of music that are very patriarchal, rock and hip-hop, specifically. When those genres are booming, a select few women have an easier time finding success. All those alternative bands in the 90’s, and the only two women anyone can remember from that era are Gwen and Shirley Manson from Garbage.

    Most consumers of hip-hop are male, and women tend not to sell as well, but when the genre was really, really selling in the 90’s/early 00’s, more women emerged to become commercially successful. You had Kim, Foxxy, Lauryn, Eve, Trina, Missy, etc. Nowadays, it’s difficult for even men to sell hip-hop albums, and since most producers, record execs, A&R’s etc. are male, they’re going to be more reluctant to take a chance on signing women. This explains why Nicki is the only female rapper on the radio.

  • Birgit

    I agree with Gwen. I think that she is classy and sexy as opposed to today’s “talent”. Most of the female acts today rely on gimmicks and sensationalism to sell records, not true talent. Somebody had to say it.

  • binks

    I agree with Jane as well, people often confused sexy with smut. But loves me some Mrs. Stefani and she is telling the truth most artists right now are either exposing it all or selling sex and tricks by dressing it up in smoke and mirrors by calling it “sexy” when it isn’t

  • erika

    gwen was also working in a completely different genre. ska isn’t so much of a thing anymore as it was 15 or 20 years ago, but if you look at women in the punk, hardcore, or indie scenes, you’ll find a fair amount more diversity regarding how much much skin you show and how much of a tomboy you can get away with being. really, it’s an apples to oranges comparison.

  • whyaskquestions

    its not only gewns style that makes her an icon its the fact that she is the lyricist and vocalist behind some of the most iconic songs of the past couple decades (‘dont speak’ anyone?) and thats what seperates her form these girls today. even from katy perry and gaga who both write their own music. gwen was saying something heartfelt honest and of substance. she wasnt chasing the charts nor was she pandering to a specific audience. she wrote what she felt, she dressed how she felt, she is one of rocks best frontperson no matter if she is male or female. she always portrayed power and vulnerability and thats why she is an icon. the styles will change. like someone said upthread the style in the 90s ska scene was where she was coming from. the style is different now and thats where these girls are coming from. but what they have to offer other than clothes is what makes the difference.