Mueller: Celebrities’ expression shouldn’t have constraints

Kasey Mueller

Miley Cyrus has become a household name recently, thanks to her provocative demeanor. Everyone is aware of all her outlandish acts, and her fan base has made an incredible shift in age. That’s possibly what Cyrus is going for, but ultimately she’s just doing what makes her happy.

There are many factors that determine the success of a celebrity, and having incredible public relations is one of them. What most people seem to forget is that these celebrities, including Cyrus, are doing everything in their power to keep their names in your mouth.

In December, Cyrus gave an interview to Cosmopolitan Magazine. Cyrus claimed, “Even people who want to hate on me, they can’t shut down the fact that I’m literally what everyone is talking about.” Celebrities don’t care if you’re talking about them in a good or bad light; they just want you to be talking.

The most interesting observation is what Americans choose to censor. Rihanna’s music video for her song S&M was banned in 11 countries, not including America. Yet our media censored out Cyrus lighting a joint on stage at the Europe Music Awards, supposedly a live event. It was held in Amsterdam, so in context she wasn’t completely out of line and her stunt wasn’t censored there.

Other celebrities have also faced censorship in America. Katy Perry made a parody of her hit “Hot N Cold” in September 2010 in a duet with Elmo for Sesame Street. The video was first posted on YouTube and due to outraged parents’ commenting, executive producers decided to not show the scene on-air. Luckily, you can still watch the video onYouTube.

In November, actress Evan Rachel Wood went to Twitter to vent her unhappiness with the Motion Picture Association of America for cutting a scene in her newest movie, Charlie Countryman. The cut scene was Wood’s character receiving oral sex from her love interest.

It is pretty easy to see why Wood is upset. There’s an ambiguous gray line when it comes to censorship. American society can deem S&M being glamorized by celebrities, such as Rihanna, or through best-selling books such as 50 Shades of Grey as being all right. Yet a sex scene of a women enjoying oral pleasure is thought of as “uncomfortable”.

In our society, it’s a known fact that sex sells. However, media has made the message clear that only a certain degree of sex is tolerated. Yet no one can really define where that degree starts and where it ends.

In my high school experience, I have seen pretty raunchy behavior conducted at our school dances. At prom, used condoms were found, flasks were taped to people’s thighs and several students would slip outside to hotbox their car. None of this was “censored,” and everyone around was exposed to the behavior.

This behavior was not taught through watching music videos or award shows. Unless my experiences from growing up is vastly different from the rest of the country, it’s safe to say that freshmen in high school are consistently introduced to sex, drugs, alcohol, cheating and many other risky behaviors.

Parents should focus more on controlling their own children instead of going after celebrities. At the same time, if parents don’t want their children watching, they could simply change the channel instead of complaining and helping to increase the views. Parents could also use it as a lesson of how not to act.

Celebrities don’t care how many parents call or write in complaints; they don’t care if people boycott the VMAs or any similar programs. They don’t care about any of that as long as their views go up, their fan base increases and the attention on them lasts as long as possible.

Miley’s controversial VMA performance may have people thinking of her in a negative way, but she also received more than 300,000 tweets per minute, a new record. The performance forever marked that Hannah Montana is gone, and Miley is here to stay. That would not have happened unless Cyrus acted as outrageously as she did.

If dancing around in nude-colored latex is just Miley being happy, then how is watching her be herself inappropriate? Parents should encourage their children to be themselves. Instead, parents are sending a message that doing what makes you happy as an individual is wrong.

The key to all this censorship is having a clear line on what is appropriate and what is not. Until that line is defined, our youth will forever be confused on what is acceptable.