NB: the artist under discussion often swears in her lyrics and interviews, both of which address her sexual identity in a frank manner.
Lo might be a new low for some, her very in your face lyrics and gyrating in her videos leaving little room for interpretation, but she isn't doing anything new - nor is much of the censorious or dismissive critical reaction, and its grounding in gender politics, new.
Pop writing often ignores great female blues and jazz singers who addressed their sexuality lyrically, and each latest controversy somehow forgets Donna Summers, Madonna, even Alannis Morrisette (whose Jagged Little Pills brought some challenging topics to a huge mainstream audience).
Lo is right to be exasperated at the double standards over male performers, and the issue of agency is central here.
Is her sexualised image and performance a reflection of a patriarchal society and a misogynistic music industry (a traditional feminist stance), and Lo therefore an exploited victim, OR is she an assertive, self-assured woman in control of her image and art freely choosing to explore sexuality (a more typically post-feminist position)?
Perhaps there is some truth in BOTH positions? Lo is asserting female artists' freedom to discourse in a manner seen as male territory and unbecoming for women, thus challenging normative, hegemonic gender identity.
BUT ... she is doing this using visual tropes long linked to the male gaze, and which surely are appealing to a heterosexual male audience as much as generating any identification with or aspiration from (uses and gratifications theory) a female audience?
This is seemingly an endless debate. Going back a decade were the Pussycat Dolls empowering role models or a cynical male manager and record label boss' means of putting a positive spin on an exploitative, sexualised image?
Tove Lo: ‘Being open about sex is not a bad thing’ http://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/oct/20/tove-lo-sex-habits-stay-high-singer-second-album-lady-wood?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Blogger