A couple nights ago I was at work when a woman in her 40s approached me. She’d taken notice of the tabloids and surprise, surprise Miley Cyrus was front in centre.
“I don’t like her. I used to when she was Hannah Montana. She was a good role model for young girls but now look at her. She’s loose.”
Normally, I don’t give two shits what people have to say about celebrities. I’ll judge musicians based on the merit of the work they’re selling rather than their personal choices. I don’t know these people, whatever they choose to do is none of my business.
However, this comment bothered me. It’s not that I’m a Miley fan. I’m not. I wasn’t when she was Hannah Montana and I’m not now. I do however have more respect for her now than when I was a teenager. I’m the same age as her and through my teens she represented the mainstream ideal of what the adults in my life thought I should be and me, being the anti-conformist I was, I hated her. Now she’s a woman in her early twenties embracing her new found freedom and looking to have some fun. I know those feels.
Back then she was a product being sold by Disney. Now she’s a young woman selling her own image. She’s clearly a savvy business woman. She knows that these antics get her attention and that’s a big factor in why she does them. As a result she’s the most searched and most watched artist right now with what was one of the biggest albums of 2013.
“Well, I don’t really think it’s fair to hold someone to the same standards as when they were 13. People change.”
The customer shrugged me off, not really caring about what I had to say but the small interaction got me thinking.
Cyrus had been getting a lot of shit lately for being a “bad role model” for young girls that I don’t think is entirely fair. She’s a pop star. If your daughter needs a role model than there are better places to look than pop music.
Miley shouldn’t be forced to remain a static figure for anyones sake. And the attacks on her sexualized performances are exactly what’s wrong in our society in regards to how we view women. There’s a difference between being exploited and embracing your sexuality. In a way I kind of find her, admitably bat shit crazy, displays refreshing. She’s not selling sex appeal and unattainable glamour. She’s not being traditionally sexy, she’s being sexy and silly all at the same time and she’s having fun doing it. That’s a positive example for other girls in it’s own right.
There are however other pop stars who are widely regarded as positive role models for young girls. Some of them are entirely founded, other’s are questionable at best. Here are 3 pop star “good” role models with worse messages than Miley Cyrus.
3. Katy Perry Is Drunken Hypocrite.
It wasn’t my first instinct to include Katy Perry because I didn’t know she was considered a good role model. However a couple searches on Google proved that for many young women and parents she is. Many people on the internet site her as an inspiration and apparently her concerts have a huge turn out for girls between 9 and 17. How is she an inspiration? Let’s have her tell you in her own words from an interview with NPR:
“But, you know, it’s funny. I do see myself becoming this, whatever, inspiration out of default right now, ’cause it’s such a strange world. Like females in pop – everybody’s getting naked.”
She goes on and acknowledges her hypocrisy through her rambling back tracking. She doesn’t want to see everyone in revealing clothing all the time. But she’s not judging.
“I mean, I’ve been naked before but I don’t feel like I have to always get naked to be noticed. […] I mean, it’s like everybody’s so naked. It’s like put it away. We know you’ve got it. I got it too. I’ve taken it off for – I’ve taken it out here and there. And I’m not necessarily judging”
She seems like a light hearted optimist with a christian background but she too is draped in sexuality, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but she obviously lacks some self awareness if she doesn’t realize her tits are popping twenty-four-seven. Saying things like “put it away” and “taken it out” referencing sexuality makes it seem like she sees it as a tool more than a natural aspect of being human that she embraces. A tool that she uses to sell records and to keep male attention.
Sure, songs like Roar have a positive message in spite of some very obnoxious auto-tuning but a lot of her songs not so much. There’s nothing wrong with a little partying but based on her lyrics Perry has a special love for getting smashed and getting it on, for instance:
Let’s go all the way tonight
No regrets, just love
Which is all well and good until you hit this line.
We drove to Cali and got drunk on the beach
Yep, Perry’s first time having sex with her boyfriend was drunk.
Waking Up In Vegas
You gotta help me out
It’s all a blur last night
We need a taxi ’cause you’re hung-over and I’m broke
I lost my fake ID but you lost the motel key
Perry lost her shit in Vegas, got wasted, spent all her money and may have been underaged…
Last Friday Night
There’s a stranger in my bed,
There’s a pounding in my head
Glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool
I smell like a minibar
Right off the bat, Perry just had a drunken one night stand.
Pictures of last night
Ended up online
It’s a blacked out blur
But I’m pretty sure it ruled
That verse is the song’s message kids. You’re gonna get drunk, do stupid regrettable shit, and it will inevitably end up online for everyone to see forever, but that’s ok because it was a good party.
Honestly, it just gets worse. Here’s the song with lyrics to check out for yourself.
2. Taylor Swift is Slut Shaming Gender Traitor
I admit, I have an embarrassing amount of T-Swift on my i-pod. When I put that shit on shuffle with company over I always have to scurry over and switch to the next song before anyone realizes what it was. Don’t judge me.
I went through a phase and I’m not entirely out of it. I think she’s a talented musician and a lot of her songs are highly relatable for a girl in my demographic so suck it.
That being said I know how she’s flawed. I know this because I listen to her music. For the record this has nothing to do with her writing songs about ex-boyfriends. You write what you know and what she knows is she goes through a lot of suitors which is all within her rights to do without judgement.
I’m talking about her attitude towards other women. Swift adopted the all american girl next door image from the get go and she’s maintained it. For some reason she also feels it’s ok to take shots at other girls who don’t fit such a squeaky clean image.
You Belong With Me
She wears short skirts
I wear T-shirts
She’s cheer captain
And I’m on the bleachers
Apparently not wearing revealing cloths makes you a better girlfriend and a better person. Also high heels are slutty as mentioned in another verse.
Better than Revenge
The story starts when it was hot and it was summer and…
I had it all, I had him right there where I wanted him
She came along, got him alone and let’s hear the applause
She took him faster than you could say “sabotage”
First of all she’s blaming the girl for her man jumping ship. Stealing another girls man or crush isn’t cool but if she was able to take him “faster than you can say ‘sabotage'” than he clearly didn’t put up much of a fight. This may be his fault too. Just saying.
She’s not a saint
And she’s not what you think
She’s an actress, whoa
She’s better known
For the things that she does
On the mattress, whoa
Soon she’s gonna find
Stealing other people’s toys
On the playground won’t
Make you many friends
See right there! She’s saying all this other woman has to offer is what’s between her legs as if she’s not a person with thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Being sexually active doesn’t diminish your worth as a human being or woman Taylor. You don’t get better dowries for virgins in the western world.
The “toys” also implies she finds the girl childish. That or she sees men as property. Say it with me! MISANDRY!
A lot of music videos revolve around this concept of “the other woman” and the other girl is always more sexualized than Swift. The boy she likes’s girlfriend in You Belong with Me, Random chick feeling up her boyfriend in We Are Never Getting Back Together, the more interesting and alternative looking girl in Picture to Burn. It’s a disturbing pattern of slutty brunettes.
Even when she’s not calling girls down and demonizing them for having sex she’s making girls think that by having intercourse you’re making the biggest mistake of your life.
Back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday
But I realized some bigger dreams of mine
And Abigail gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind
And we both cried
She does realize that non-virgins can do everything a virgin can do right? Seriously. You don’t even have to be a virgin to be a nun. In no way is her friend loosing her virginity to an asshole going to effect her in the long run. It sucks but she’ll get over it. You’re mind is worth more than your hymen girls!
1. Selena Gomez is Willing to Sacrifice Self Respect For A Boy
Until recently, I had no issue with her, mainly because I didn’t give her much thought at all. Now I hear “Come And Get it” everywhere I go and right now no song pisses me off more.
The whole concept of “When you’re ready come and get it” is so flawed and such a terrible message for young girls my blood literally boils. There are lots of stupid songs that make feminists roll their eyes but this one in particular gets under my skin. It wouldn’t be such an issue if Gomez wasn’t an artist primarily marketed at young girls and if she didn’t see herself as such a role model.
“I am human, I’m not perfect, I make mistakes all the time, but I guess my job is to keep those mistakes to myself, which I’m already fine doing and just try to be the best I can be for those kids.”
People make mistakes, fair enough. You can’t expect anyone to be perfect, but I would hope you can expect someone who cares as much about their young fans as Gomez does not to put out a single that says:
You ain’t gotta worry, it’s an open invitation
I’ll be sittin’ right here, real patient
All day, all night, I’ll be waitin’ standby
Can’t stop because I love it, hate the way I love you
All day, all night, maybe I’m addicted for life, no lie.
Because a woman at the head of a media empire with successful music and acting careers has nothing better to do than sit around and wait for her man to sow his wild oats. Shouldn’t she be sending the message that you shouldn’t put your life on hold for any boy? That you’re independent and can do just fine without him if he wants to fuck around? That by no means should you still be around when he finally decides he’s “ready” to “come and get it”?
Worst yet the whole song is sung with this come hither kind of sex appeal, We’ve been over sexuality, she should own her sexuality and not feel bad about it. But that’s the thing, she should own it, not whatever guy she’s trying to impress. Submission shouldn’t be passed off as sexy.
Wrecking Ball might not be an anthem of female empowerment but at least it acknowledges the flaws of both parties in the relationship and is meant as a farewell, not an “open invitation” for the guy to get his rocks off whenever he feels like it. I’d rather hear my 7 year old niece singing Wrecking Ball than Come and Get It any day.