Women in music focus of open forum

By Gus Bode

Factoid:The open forum will take place at 7 p.m. today in the Student Center Ohio Room.

Natalie Bonner believes that for women to be successful in today’s music industry, they are forced to have a combination of looks and talent to compete with society’s fixation on women’s physical features.

“We want to take a closer look at how difficult it is for women to obtain success rather than men,” said forum leader Bonner, a senior from Aurora studying economics. “Women need not only talent but a body and looks to be successful in most cases.”


SIUC’s Multicultural Programs and Services, with the help of Bonner, is playing host to an open discussion group to discuss women in the music business at 7 p.m. today in the Ohio Room in the Student Center as part of Women’s History Month.

Last year, the organization played host to a similar forum, “Bootylicious,” which focused mainly on black women being portrayed in music videos and lyrics in rap and R&B music. Bonner said they expanded because the organization wanted to include a broader audience.

The forum will discuss modern women in music and will also include a few from the past. Bonner said they will also look into the body images of Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Lopez and formerly overweight R&B artist Kelly Price.

While Bonner said the topic might not seem male-friendly, she hopes men will attend to offer their insight.

“Men think it’s interesting to talk about and hear how we think,” Bonner said. “Women should come because it’s something we talk about with each other.”

Kelly Williams, a junior from Chicago studying psychology, will be the discussion moderator along with Bonner. Williams said she wanted to participate because she felt it is essential to discuss how women are portrayed.

“It’s important to talk about how women are exploited in the media,” Williams said. “They set a model for what beauty is.”


She said her part of the discussion will focus on how the media provides consumers with certain perceptions of women’s beauty and body types.

Bonner said the program will be directed not only toward thin women but also overweight women artists and maybe even a few male artists.

“A lot of women go through issues with body image,” Bonner said. “We work hard to look nice. Image isn’t as important with men as it is with women.”

Programs in the near future for Women’s History Month include the Soul Jazz Caf, a fun, relaxing night on March 30, and Extreme Makeover on March 31, where six women will get a hair and makeup makeover.

Reporter Julie Engler can be reached at [email protected]