Justin Bieber and Double Standards

Justin Bieber may be the closest my generation will ever get to Beatlemania. The kid sings purely romantic non-graphic songs about his "baby" (that would be you, dear 13 year old girls of the world) and his face looks a new born puppy snuggling with a bunny under a rainbow. And, really, I have nothing against him personally despite the fact that my cynical heart tends to look at celebrities my own age and roll its eyes in disgust. My problem with him mainly lies in the way our society reacts to him.

I recently got my Bust Magazine in the mail (an epic monthly event for me). I very much enjoy the "Pop-Tart" column, but this week's analysis of the double standards of Bieber fever, written by Wendy McClure, really resonated with me. Basically, the article is written from the perspective of Miley Cyrus, who claims that while she was expected to be a role model from day one and her every move was scrutinized - all while trying to grow up and find her own identity in an environment that is hyper-sexualized to begin with- Bieber was always just the "little brother" of famous pop stars (Usher, Taylor Swift, whoever) just having fun. As "Miley" says, "Maybe one day, everyone will stop worrying about my virginity and I'll get to play big sister to some aspiring teenage pop star. If I do, maybe I'll tell her to cut her hair short, learn to swagger, and pass as a boy so she can become the next Justin Bieber instead of the next Miley Cyrus. Bet she'll have a lot more fun that way and won't have to apologize for anything."

And I think this double standard is real, especially as recently evidenced by Justin Bieber's photo shoot with Kim Kardashian. Jezebel recently posted the pictures from the shoot, describing the concept as "Graduate Themed." So, Justin Bieber, 16-year-old-boy, can play the seducee to 29-year-old Kim Kardashian's seductress without causing ANY kind of commotion whatsoever (at least that I've heard of) but Miley Cyrus poses with her back exposed and we COMPLETELY FREAK OUT about its sexual implications?

SERIOUSLY? And even that pose with her Dad - yeah, maybe it was a little creepy, but I think the seduction of a minor should be talked about a little bit more than what is essentially a Daddy/Daughter photo.

I don't think this phenomenon is limited to Bieber or Miley either. Recently, when doing interviews for the Karate Kid, 11-year-old Jaden Smith suggestively responded to a question about his first on-screen kiss by telling the audience that he was "already a good kisser." He also lifted his shirt to show off his abs, which Jackie Chan and the male talk show host marveled at. Substitute any of these acts with an 11-year-old girl and you'd be faced with concerns that the girl had either been sexually abused/was a sexually active slut/was the sign of a decaying society. When Jaden does it, he's just on the right track to being a player - he's admired.

I think this has to stop with us. Bieber's fans are primarily (okay...totally) teenage girls. It's up to us to recognize that we hold celebrities to different moral standards depending on their gender. Maybe if our generation starts to see Miley Cyrus exposing her back as a normal part of her growing up and attempting to explore her sexuality and looks at Kim Kardashian seducing an underage teen pop singer as inappropriate, things will start to balance out.

More articles in WMC FBomb by Category: Feminism, Media
More articles in WMC FBomb by Tag: Activism and advocacy, Sexism, Discrimination, Social media, Music, News, Gender bias, Film



Julie Zeilinger
Founding Editor of The WMC FBomb
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