• Tue, Aug 2 2011

Are Teen Pop Stars Getting Less Slutty?

Many alarmists would have you believe that teen pop culture is caught in an ever deepening downward spiral into harlotry. To hear them talk, it won’t be long before we’re unable to tell the difference between someone paid to show her lady parts in a gentleman’s club, and someone paid to entertain our children. I would ask those people to re-watch the early work of Britney Spears. I defy you to find any teen star who engages in such brazen displays of sexuality today. DO IT YOU CAN’T!

Check out this video of the 19-year-old Selena Gomez doing a montage of Britney classics, taken at a recent concert:

Selena is lovely and talented, to be sure, but she comes off more like a little girl prancing around in a pretty fairy outfit than the disconcerting Teen In Heat (TM) Britney embodied so well. Remember when she stripped down to a sparkly thong and weird see-thru pants at the 2000 VMAs? She was 19 then, the same age Selena is now. Check out the way she writhes and touches herself, the way she simulates an orgy with her backup dancers, and the way the camera zooms right in on her ass. She’s of age here, but you still sort of feel like you’re somehow going to go to jail just for watching it.

Not even Miley Cyrus’ “controversial” little pole shimmy holds a candle to even the tamest of Britney’s early shenanigans. Here it is, in case you need a refresher. (Maybe watch it with the sound turned off.)

Meanwhile, the inimitable Ms. Spears has become a zombie-like, Prozac-ed, decidedly less spunky version of her former self. Who’s going to corrupt the youth now? Are you happy, parents?

I’m not saying there’s not still a ton of stuff floating around out there that encourages kids to grow up too fast, but teen-geared pop music is hardly the worst of it. People also underestimate young Britney’s agency in her early career. She was the one who pushed to make the video for “…Baby One More Time” so sexy (Jive wanted to make it a cartoon), and she had more control over her image than people tend to think. I’m not saying her expressions of sexuality weren’t problematic in a lot of ways, but unlike our current squeaky clean Disney alums, she acknowledged that teen girls can, in fact, be just as horny as boys, even before they lose their virginity. Especially before they lose their virginity. (Amirite, ladies? Your favorite pillow will never forgive you for the things you did to it.)

I agree that the virgin/whore dichotomy is gross, but if you think about it less in terms of societal narratives and more in terms of what real teens are actually doing when they’re having alone time in their rooms, Britney’s school girl had a certain kind of honesty to her. I’ll take that over the Jonas Brothers’ purity rings any day.

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  • Stephanie Libous

    So true! One thing I noticed is that Selena isn’t lip synching and Britney…well. No one can do that amount of hair flipping without a quiver in their voice. It sucks though, singers like Selena would get crucified by parents and critics if she performed like Britney :( I used to LOVE how on the edge Britney, Christina and Jessica were and turned out just fine. No teen pregnancies or middle school sexual escapades for me!

  • Sarah

    Wow! I had no idea Britney rocked so hard! Full disclosure: I was around for the birth of rock&roll. Those other two young ladies clearly aren’t in the same zone. Interesting post, :-)

  • God’sgal

    Well, I’m glad Selena Gomez is maintaining her dignity, and staying decent. She is a good role-model for decent young women. I’m a Christian and I for one am proud of her for remaining as decent as she has done. Look at Miley Cyrus. I’m VERY glad Selena is staying on the decent side of things. Hopefully Mily Cyrus can turn herself around before she turns into another Britney Spears. That would just be sad.
    It’s really sad that in this country we can’t just appreciate someone for being a talented musician. Selena Gomez is a great musician and decent person. God bless her for it!

    • Ashley

      wow, somebody missed the point…

  • cre8tivegenius@hotmail.com

    JUST Love how classy selena is. Age appropriate. Shes a singer first!brit is a dancer first singer second and put on quite a show for which lip synching is needed! (janet, gaga,beyonce,ciara…etc)
    Britney if you didnt know is a real amazing dancer. and she was cute while being sexy, some performers cant get away with that without looking overly ronchy! (aka Miley!)

    Theres a secret to being sexy DONT OVER DO IT! Brit was there then she made out w madonna and stumbled over federline after the justin breakup…then it got sad…. but good luck to her…GREAT DANCER…she really should of gone the show girl route instead of the teen idol, i must agree!

  • Paige V.I.

    i think that by singing Britney and dancing like her, she was trying to mimic the whole teen-in-heat vibe, but how she looks (slender and babyfaced), just doesn’t pull it off. In my opinion, she isn’t trying to bring her dignity into it or be classy about it, she was trying to mimic a sex symbol and in failing, is being praised? it’s like a stripper trying to dance, but cant get her top off. is she preserving her dignity? no, she’s screwing up the show.

  • babs

    haha. She’s a cute girl, but she has no sex-appeal. Justin B. may have something to do with that. They look like little kids, regardless of age. Do NOT compare her to Britney Spears. Please!