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January 5, 2011

Why Isn't There a Justin Bieber 'Scandal'?

So I just came across an article and photo spread of Justin Bieber for Vanity Fair (via New York's Vulture blog). The Biebs also graces the cover of the magazine's February 2011 issue.

Now I would really like to know why no one is outraged about this. Not just the fact that Justin Bieber was deemed worthy of the cover of Vanity Fair - although I am a little outraged by that, and nauseated - but the photos themselves. Bieber is covered in different lipstick kisses and his tie is being pulled somewhat suggestively. I don't personally think there's anything outrageous about these photos... but I think the fact that no one seems to have a problem with them is pretty fucking outrageous, when you remember the huge fuss everyone made over Miley Cyrus's photoshoot for Vanity Fair a few years ago.

Look at the other creepy pictures from the Bieber photoshoot and imagine what the response would've been if they had been of a 16-year-old Miley Cyrus (or another similar 'controversial' young starlet).

Imagine a photo of Miley laying down in the same pose with a bunch of guys staring in at her... Imagine Miley with ten different hands reaching out over her body... Imagine Miley with her shirt slightly unbuttoned playing checkers (wait, no, don't imagine that last one.)

If Miley Cyrus had, at age 16, posed for similar photographs there would have been a huge scandal, everyone from the ladies of the View to Bill O'Reilly would be talking about it, Vanity Fair would be accused of oversexualizing teenagers, Miley would be called a slut, and she would be forced to issue an apology about how sorry and embarrassed she was. (There might even be an action alert from the One Million Moms.)

The media would probably even find fault with these comparably innocent photos from the shoot:

Why the double standard? Bieber is only a year older than Miley was when her 'scandalous' photos were published yet no one seems to have a problem with these pics. Or what about this past summer's Justin Bieber/Kim Kardashian Graduate-inspired photospread for Elle? (via Jezebel via The F Bomb).

Um, does anyone remember the plot of The Graduate? Is that really an appropriately themed photoshoot for a 16-year-old pop star?

Apparently only if the pop star is male.


joules said...

That is because there is a blatant double standard for males and females. A woman is a slur if she is dressed in a short skirt and tight top but a man can parade around in only shorts and it is acceptable. Miley's photos in Vanity Fair were very beautiful and artsy. It is adults who then sexualize these teens when in reality those pictures were less revealing than ones of her in a bikini on a beach.

Sydnee said...

Sorry, I can't agree with you completely on this one. Miley Cyrus looked like she'd just gotten finished having a lot of sex. She didn't have a shirt on and was covered by a sheet while she looked over her shoulder at the camera while wearing nothing but lipstick. To me it's a totally different connotation. If Justin Beiber was leaning back on a bed topless with a flimsy sheet covering his naughty bits, that would be comparable. I'm not saying there isn't a double standard - there is - but I think there are way better examples than this one.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that Miley looked like she just had sex. To me, she looked like she had just gotten done with a Hannah Montana concert. But I guess we all see what we see.

I don't think her photo was that inappropriate or suggestive. Do I think the Bieber photos are necessarily worse? No. But there's still a heavy double standard at play here and these pics are evidence of that. You don't have to compare the 2 photo shoots. Just imagine Miley in the Biebs' place and tell me that there wouldn't be an outrage.

But... who casts a 16-year-old in a Graduate-themed photo shoot? I don't care if he's clothed or not... he's in a photo taking pics of Kim Kardashian in a nightie.

Anonymous said...

Justin Bieber annoys me. I have no attention for him, I don't even think he's worthy of looking into why he is famous. He did something someone thought was cool for money, whatever. Baby male prosti-tot. His face says it all.

Elfy said...

@Sydnee- I agree with the post, but I also see the point you're making. If you'd like a better example, I'd say google some of Taylor Lautner's magazine pics. That was what immediately came to mind for me, anyway. Just about everything I've seen has him shirtless and posing, and the kid was, what, 17 when they started with that weirdness?

Anonymous said...

I think he completely deserves to be on the cover. He's the teen sensation right now. Even if you don't care for him, there's a million others who do. Will his music last forever? Probably not. But I don't see anything wrong with highlighting the trend of the moment.

As for the pictures, my opinion is this: while they are a little risque for someone his age, they are still playful and they show what he's going through as a big star. Having girls prying for his attention, being watched at all hours, etc. They are truthful pictures and make sense. It's true that if Miley were to be in those poses, it MIGHT spark a controversy (I really don't think they're that bad though).

And yes, there is a double standard, of course.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Simple. When Miley was on the cover, the women of the world and media decided to band to together and slut-shame her (trust me, it's not men who were outraged and offended).

When Justin was on the cover, the men of the world and media... didn't care. We still don't. Never will. It's Justin Bieber, for f's sake.

PumaJ said...

The scandal really needs to be about the overactive sexual engine running rampant behind Pop Culture, I think. The spread on Bieber is just one more manifestation of media's use of sexuality to create interest and controversy in order to sell more product, thus attracting more advertising dollars. It is all about making money, lots of money. Capitalism run rampant.

The use of an "older" woman in the pics represents the probable demographics of Vanity Fair readers more than anything else. If the mag was a teen mag, the females in the pics would have been younger. From a publicity for Bieber point of view, he is getting older, not that 16 is old by any means, but if he is to stay popular he will need to appeal to an older demographic at some point. This is the harsh reality of the entertainment industry and the media that supports and feeds it.

Anonymous said...

In case we didn't make it clear - the 'Graduate' style photos with Kim Kardashian was for Elle a few months ago and was not part of the Vanity Fair spread. But yes.