Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the past few months, you’ve probably heard about the now infamous Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke VMA performance. When the pair took to the stage for a duet of Thicke’s controversial hit ‘Blurred Lines’, gone was the sweet and innocent Hannah Montana actress and in her place was a bikini-wearing, foam-finger-gyrating, new but not necessarily improved Miley.
Unsurprisingly, Miley isn’t the first female celebrity to ditch her younger fanbase in favour of an older one, with both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera trying the same thing during their careers. However, what happens to these younger fans who are left behind by their idols? Parents who had once been happy to let their child watch Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana are now shielding their eyes from the star’s naked body swinging on a wrecking ball.
Miley aside, we seem to be encountering more and more female celebrities who are trying to vamp up their sales. Rather than rely on their strong voices and songwriting skills to sell music, these stars are using an increasingly sexualised image to create scandal and bag some extra publicity. Take Rihanna, for example, whose latest music video for single ’Pour It Up’ was banned just ten minutes after it was released due to its explicit content. The story made the news, but no one remembers the song. These raunchy performances are leading parents to question whether there are any role models left for young girls.
Disturbingly, it’s hard to say whether the Rihannas and the Mileys of this world are even choosing this exhibitionism or if it is down to coercion. Singer Charlotte Church recently stated that when she was younger she was pressured into wearing revealing outfits to promote her music. Charlotte’s admission, although shocking, is not surprising, and proves that there is an uncomfortable expectation that young female singers resort to provocation in order to win fans.
However, this does not mean to say that there are no role models left. Straight-talking singer Adele has used her powerful voice and songwriting skills to sell her music, and you’re more likely to catch her in one of her elegant knee length dresses than a pair of hot pants! The raw emotion in her tracks ensures that they don’t require bikini-clad dancers writhing around her to captivate an audience. There’s also Emeli Sandé, who worked her way through the industry with old-fashioned hard work before releasing a best-selling album and performing at the 2012 Olympic opening and closing ceremonies.
There are clearly female celebrities who have embraced raunchy routines and barely-there bikinis as the route to fame, but don’t forget those who put the mute on this sexualised side and let their talent do the talking.