Friday, October 23, 2009

The Miley Cyrus Post

As Dave Chapelle once stated in his For What it's Worth stand-up "How old is fifteen really?"
Well Miley Cyrus is sixteen. I think we can all agree on the highly sexualized representation of the teen pop-star. But is it too young? Her career also started much before this year with the controversial photo shoot with Vanity Fair.

These new videos to the song Party in the USA are interesting in their subtleties. Who makes up the real demographic for her popularity? Are they 9-12 year old girls that need a role model? Are they 13-17 year olds that need their own celebrity peer? Or are they 45 year old men who are fantasizing?


Sydney said...

I totally agree that how she is portrayed is inappropriate for her age. As I posted earlier, she is no longer just a role model for tweens, but a sex icon for older demographics as well. In this cartoon, I feel that the old men are really creepy, yet true to how she has changed her image in the public sphere. All I can say is Lindsay Lohan anyone?

Sidney said...

Oh the sociological studies one could do based on Miley alone... She is such an entity in and of herself. I think the idea of the target demographic is really interesting when considering Miley Cyrus. Obviously in her Hannah Montana character she is looking to young girls and tweens. I have not indulged too much in HM but from what I know it's a lot of sassy humor and coming-of-age slapstick--but not much sexuality.

With her music (as well as in Vanity Fair,) and particularly with Party in the USA, Miley is certainly catering to an older, possibly more mature demographic. Almost everyone of my girlfriends knows all the words to this song. And most of them love it. How is this sixteen year old reaching 21 year-olds? These two videos are blatantly over-sexed, so is the sexuality what attracts us? It's weird because the lyrics have a narrative and are actually pretty fun-loving. I feel like the video could have followed those lines and still been successful. So, again, why all the sexuality?

(And oh my god, the sexy dancing on the jungle gym is too ironic for words. Too good.)

My parents won't let my ten year-old sister watch Hannah Montana. I wonder how they would feel about Party in the USA?...

Matt B said...

Sidney I agree entirely.

In terms of song quality, I find the music very entertaining. The "Indestructible Space Hampsters" (The djs that live right next to me) are very fond of using the song in their sets. Also from personal experience the melody and catchy lyrics scream super-pop dance party. Not saying that is a bad thing, in fact I enjoyed the song before I saw the video.

But looking farther into this subject, one could see it as another marketing tool used by Wal-Mart, Disney, and basically those affiliated to sell Miley related items. I wouldn't put it past a corporation to create a pop-figure in order to sell not only cds, clothing, accessories, and maybe even a feature film in due time but also sell certain ideals. This may be some what of a rant but the pro-america symbolism is rampant in the video as well(i.e classic American cars, cowboy boots, trucker hats, and not to mention the gigantic light up American flag with USA on top)

On that note, sexuality could be only one avenue in which Miley is increasing her target demographic.

Excaliborn7 said...

What is difficult about something like this is again a question of morality. Is this inappropriate? Should we judge it as so? Is it comparable to judging violent or sexist rap lyrics? If something "bad" sells, is there someone or something to blame for that? These kinds of questions go on and on. They don't seem to stop many people from consuming both the song and the video with some delight.

Also, outside of the social/political/demographic questions, American pop culture - and other countries too - have always had young pop star darlings that get sexualized as soon as they take center stage - Britney, Lindsey, etc...).

What is perhaps most interesting is watching these extremes get pushed further and further, younger and younger. Similarly, roller coasters keep getting built higher and higher (truly) and extreme sports continue to test the boundaries of danger.