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IN-DEBATE: Have Pop-Stars Gone Too Far?

Miley Cyrus, have pop-stars gone too far, FashionBite

IN-DEBATE: Have Pop-Stars Gone Too Far?

Miley Cyrus, have pop-stars gone too far, FashionBite

This week, we’ll be debating- have pop stars gone too far? Do you agree/disagree, does it affect you, should we be doing more, it is even an issue for you, do you even care? Comment below and lets get the debate going…


Unless you’ve been hiding under a pop-cultural stone for the last month, you’ll have seen the unfolding Miley Cyrus/twerking/pornographic saga unfold. It all started with her performance at the VMA’s, where she stripped off to her nude, latex underwear and gyrated, twerked and simulated sex on stage live in front of the industry and broadcast out to her young fan base.  (IMAGE CREDIT TOP

Now, the antics of Cyrus have escalated even further and the story is making headline BBC news, as Sinead O’Conner stepped in last week with an open letter to the young singer, voicing her concern over the star ‘prostituting’ herself for the music industry. This was met with a disparaging and aggressive outburst from Cyrus on Twitter, who clearly didn’t appreciate the very public words of advice.

Miley Cyrus’ VMA’s Performance…


In the latest twist, Cyrus has done an X-rated shoot with Terry Richardson (pictured top), where she fondles herself, pulls her leotard in so tight that she leaves nothing to the imagination and simulates sex with a beer can. He also produced her Wrecking Ball video, inspired at first by Sinead O’Conner, in which Cyrus ends up writhing around naked on a large demolition ball and straddling/licking a sledge hammer.


Annie Lennox has now waded in on the debate, in a post on her Facebook page saying: “I have to say that I’m disturbed and  dismayed by the recent spate of  overtly sexualised performances and videos. You know the ones I’m  talking about. It  seems obvious that certain record companies are  peddling highly styled  pornography with musical accompaniment. As if the tidal wave of sexualised imagery  wasn’t already bombarding  impressionable young girls enough. I believe in  freedom of speech and  expression, but the market forces don’t give a toss about  the notion of  boundaries.

“As long as there’s booty to make money out  of, it will be  bought and sold. It’s depressing to see how these performers are  so  eager to push this new level of low. Their assumption seems to be that  misogyny- utilised and displayed through oneself is totally fine, as  long as  you are the one creating it. As if it’s all justified by how  many  millions of dollars and U tube hits you get from behaving like pimp and  prostitute at the same time. It’s a glorified and monetized form of self  harm….”

Is Cyrus and the like expressing their creativity or is it just soft porn wrapped-up in a pop-star package? Or is it just Madonna-style shock-tactics *yawn* to sell records?

The real concern seems to be what kind of message they are sending to their very young fan base, who all look up to them and want to emulate what they do.

Interestingly, Rihanna (known for her love of a naked selfie) looked fairly unfazed at Cyrus’ VMA’s performance – clearly not sharing the opinion of the wider masses. In a feeling of one-upmanship, she has just released her new video for Pour It Up and X-rated it very much is, being banned on may online sites for being too pornographic. It has also caused a back-lash with many of her female fans, due to the portrayal of women. Is this female empowerment or have we just gone back decades? In the same week that the new Feminist Times magazine launches, what kind of example are we creating today for young girls? Visit their site at

Rihanna 2

Rihanna pour it up video, FashionBite

In the video, Rihanna sings about strippers and money whilst gyrating on a gold throne in a thong surrounded by female strippers doing the same? It’s seedy at very best. Is this about power/creativity/expressing her art or is this about causing more shock that Cyrus?


Should we be looking up to these women, is this cool? Cyrus has this uncomfortable mix of little girl/porn star which surely just doesn’t sit right with her young fan base. Do we want little girls copying that?

rihanna river island, FashionBite

Rihanna also produces a collection for high street retailer River Island, again with a very young customer base – should they be supporting her and would you stop shopping there if you felt the star had gone too far?

What do you think on the subject? We’d really love to know your thoughts….

Emily Seares is an award-winning magazine editor and journalist and the founding editor of FashionBite. She was featured in VOGUE's Digital Powerlist Top 100 and is a quoted style expert for most national newspapers and magazines.

Comments (6)

  • sarah

    Did you see Gary Barlow saying he wldn’t let his kids watch Rihanna or Miley Cyrus: ‘These singers are young, sexy girls — of course they are going to express themselves like that. But I don’t let my kids watch it. I probably wouldn’t let them watch anything like that. It’s too sexual for them.’

  • Lisa Rickerby

    I think that the younger popstars such as Miley Cyrus always think that to move from a child to adult star means they have to wear as little as possible or be as overtly sexual as possible as if that is a badge of maturity.

    They are not the first to shock in this way. Madonna always pushed the barriers and continues to do so. It is a shame because so many very young girls do look up to them and think this is normal and acceptable behavior.

    I think artists such as Beyonce set a much better message. They do sexy but in a less obvious way and have much firmer values for girls to follow.

    I think that many of the popstars behave this way as there is so much noise and competition out there it is a way to get the most attention and PR – and to be fair in that respect it works!

  • Ossie Osbourne did it with a dove, Gaga with crazy fashion and Cyrus and Rihanna with their asses – all help sell records but how do you continue with the commercialisation of your body? To live your brand means ‘professionalising’ under the image you try to portray: Gaga invests now in House of Ga, Osbourne gives crazy advice in his Times spoof health page will Cyrus and Rihanna end up running strip clubs? The problem is you hit a wall when you start to sell your body. There’s only so much of it and it cheapens the more you show of it.

  • Alliah Arif

    Having recently had a little girl, I do find this quite horrifying. The over sexualisation of girls in pop videos is really unnecessary and irresponsible when they know that young girls will emulate this behaviour. Obviously, it’s there to shock and promote interest and debate, therefore making it a good marketing tool, albeit a very obvious one. I do feel like Miley Cyrus is a car crash waiting to happen, like so many other youngster who find fame and fortune at a young age, and I wish managers and agents took a bit more responsibility in safeguarding them from being exploited and over exposed (in more ways than one!). When I see the photos and footage of MC, I feel sad for her that she feels this is necessary for her music to sell.

  • Discussing this yesterday with my 17 year old daughter and her friend we all decided that this is more about a young girl who hasn’t had a normal childhood, doing what all young girls do – experimenting and making mistakes. But unlike other young girls she is doing it in public.

    No she isn’t a great role model for young women, but all the young women I talk to – look at her and either scorn or have sympathy – they certainly dont want to be her.
    If young girls are lucky they have mentors around them to advise them . I tend to think Miley is being either exploited or totally ignoring anyone who is advising her. Either way she may well look back on this time and regret it.


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