You saw that coming, didn’t you? I mean, it’s a tale as old as time, the “good girl gone bad”. And you know how that story ends. It’s in the title after all. Yet time and time again you fall for it, the well-worn plot twist never failing to shock. And you are harsh to condemn the protagonist of this morality tale, whatever the moral is, just as the writer intended.
I’m of course talking about Miley Cyrus. Or a bunch of other young female adult celebrities.
It’s a common fable: sweet, innocent young girl grows up to be a sexpot and has her life ruined in the process. It’s a condemnation of the hedonistic and sexualized culture that encourages women to grow up this way. Except celebrity media is culpable in fostering the very culture they are quick to judge, as viewers descend like vultures towards this latter development. Why else would near-naked women adorn so many celebrity magazine covers, as if that was their primary function? And you wonder why there’s a problem of Madonnas growing into whores. Setting aside the false dichotomy, when that story is so ingrained into our culture, how would one know of any other role? (as an aside, despite North America being more judgmental towards sex, Europe actually has the lower teen pregnancy rates. Even, nay, especially the Netherlands, which is infamous for being sexually liberated. Just sayin’)
So how is that moral legitimate when the media is the one pulling the strings? And it’s not just female celebrities either. Everyone remembers Michael Jackson being tried for paedophilia. I mean, the media was such a martyr back then. Sure, M.J. was found not guilty, but the corrupt, paid-off court system was clearly corrupt and paid off and the public deserved to know the truth. Well, Wikipedia is obligated to be verifiable, so why not read the entire court case for yourself? Not just Jackson, but the supposed victim Jordan Chandler had their lives torn apart by the whole incident, all because the media wanted to sell a story.
And so it becomes mildly amusing when the industry attempted to sell itself as legitimate. Back in 2003, there emerged singer-songwriters who were billed as the anti-Britney, in one way trying to sway a disillusioned public sick of the Madonna/whore story. But legends can become real, and as I grew up in that world, I think they did. It was only recently that I learned of that back-story, and back then I was innocently enjoying Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton songs and appreciating their more personal feel. And that’s why I frequently bring up Vanessa in the blog, and I also find her story interesting: how she left her record label and their meddling to pursue her own sound, like a puppet breaking free. That doesn’t stop self-absorbed critics from extrapolating stories anyway, but it’s nice to have sincere celebrities to look up to.
I think it’s all about empathy really. Despite celebrity media, well, the media in general showing caricatures, one has to remember there are people behind it all. After all, aren’t rounded characters more interesting than flat characters?
…wait, I didn’t talk much about Miley Cyrus at all. Well, specifically anyway.