Miley Cyrus: Seventeen and Sexy
By Steven Avalos Posted Jun 21st 2010 02:00PM
Miley Cyrus wants you to think. As the Disney megastar approaches legal age, she continues to toy around with a decidedly more sexual and provocative persona (most recently at this weekend's MuchMusic Video Awards) than her legions of prepubescent fans have grown accustomed to over the years, raising the question of whether or not the 17-year-old is moving just a little too fast. So what's the big deal? Let's not forget that the jump from child star to sex object is, at this point, business-as-usual in the pop sphere. Of course, some leaps have been more successful than others, and for every Britney Spears-level success there's also an Amanda Bynes that never fully connects to life on the other side of teendom (the actress went as far as announcing her retirement from the business this weekend). After the jump, we break down the seventeen and sexy dilemma -- is Miley in over her head, or does everyone just need to chill out?
First off, this isn't exactly a new development: The Miley Cyrus Sexual Awakening Tour (as we call it internally) has pretty much been going strong for a good year now. Who could forget the now-infamous pole dance at 2009's Teen Choice Awards? Or the barely-there fashions in her patriotic 'Party In The USA' video? How about the suggestive post-Gaga pantless bird creature look in her recent 'Can't Be Tamed' video -- with in-your-face lyrics to match? "I wanna fly/I wanna drive/I wanna go," Miley pleads over a pulsating pop beat, warning all those listening, "And if you try to hold me back I might explode." That's hardly subtle -- the girl is over the whole tween thing, and who can blame her? Well, everyone basically.
Perhaps that infamous topless photo shoot with Annie Leibowitz for Vanity Fair at the age of 15 set the tone for all this, culminating with this month's feigned girl-on-girl make out session on the 'Britain's Got Talent' stage. Miley has certainly endured more sex-charged backlash than stars twice her age, but is it justified? After all, just a little over a decade ago, Miley's predecessor, Britney Spears, was pretty much doing exactly the same thing and look how she turned out. Well, let's just skip over that for now.
Perhaps the biggest difference between Miley today and Britney 10 years ago are the circumstances of their fame. Miley has grown up in the spotlight, amassing an insanely loyal fan base over her run on Disney's uber-successful 'Hannah Montana' franchise. Music, movies, merchandise -- Cyrus' chaste tween presence has appeared virtually everywhere, from T-shirts to lunchboxes (and everything in between), for the past four years and that's not something that's exactly easy to move on from. Sure, Britney was a Disney child star, too, appearing on the popular 'Mickey Mouse Club' in the early 90s, but the show never reached 'Hannah Montana' critical mass, and Britney had the advantage of disappearing off the public radar for a few years before reemerging as the jailbait school girl we've all come to know and love. Britney got a lot of flack in '99 after a Rolling Stone photo shoot, in which she struck suggestive, Lolita-like poses with Teletubbies and a pink tricycle while wearing next to nothing, but she also didn't have a built in fan base at that point, so there were less people to potentially piss off.
So, will Miley's Britney-mirroring career move lead to her eventual demise? Hardly. Have you seen 17-year-olds today? They curse, they spit, they smell and dance provocatively -- if anything they're definitely worse than the budding Ms. Cyrus. Does she even sext? That's pretty mild in our book. Sure, she shoulders the burden of acting as some kind of role model to her underage fans, but she's not behaving all that differently from the expected rebellion that comes with being 17. Earlier this year, Miley told Harper's Bazaar, "Your kids are going to make mistakes whether I do or not."
And in response to the brow-raising performances to promote her new singe? All just a case of the old Hollywood double standard. Recently, Cyrus told 'Access Hollywood':
While Miley is a little off the mark comparing herself to someone five years her senior, the point remains true when considering a teen heartthrob like 'Twilight's' Taylor Lautner. Lautner, who just turned 18 this spring, has been posing gratuitously in all his wet, shirtless glory since he was what -- 16? Grown women have been lusting over that torso for years now, counting down the seconds to his 18th birthday -- but where was the backlash there? Obviously, Taylor won't be writhing suggestively on stage any time soon, but there definitely seems to be a disconnect between what is "too sexy" depending on your sex. Ultimately, only time will tell if Miley can hold our interest, but judging from her success so far, we have a feeling she's not going anywhere.Girls are immediately going to say, 'Oh, she's trying to sell sex.' Well, I love Zac Efron, but what's he selling? He's gorgeous, he's hot, I don't go see his movie because I'm like, 'He's such a fantastic actor.' He's a great actor, but he's hot. He's just not in a leotard with his legs out. He has his shirt off. So what's the difference? It just isn't as obvious when guys do it. I was on tour with the Jonas Brothers my first year and boy bands get away with a lot. For girls, it's always going to be harder. That's not an excuse, it just means we have to work harder.
2010 MuchMusic Video Awards
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 20: Miley Cyrus performs at the 2010 MuchMusic Video Awards on June 20, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jag Gundu/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Miley Cyrus
Getty Images North America
2010 MuchMusic Video Awards
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