Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hollywood's good girls gone bad

Rihanna's new outrageously explicit video has UK Prime Minister David Cameron pushing a proposal that sexually suggestive music videos receive age certificates, to prevent the "sexualisation" of youngsters.

The freshfaced Barbadian star's transformation from PG-13 numbers to R-rated performances may have been drastic, but it's quite expected considering that every quintessential female pop star starts out cute before taking a 180 degree turn towards raunchy-ville. Touted as a wholesome Christian package when they first start out, which is one extreme, why is it that they end up at the other extreme i.e. drugs, alcohol and sex? Some say it's a rite of passage, while others call it "growing up". And in show business, growing up means taking off that purity ring to take control of your sexuality (often by posing topless in men's magazines) and trading in the 'strong Christian moral fibre' for a pair of garters/a bondage suit. Finally, there's no better way of embracing your womanhood than by releasing a couple of videos that are so racy that a couple of countries ban them or even better, taking a trip down to a drug and alcohol rehab.

Miley Cyrus
The Disney cutie featured on every toddler's backpack and water bottle. Miley marketed her innocence, flashing her purity rings on camera, claiming she was unkissed at 15, calling herself morally "strong", emphasizing on her Christian background. So what happened when "Hannah Montanah" grew up? Leaked half-nude pictures, leaked bong-smoking pictures, leaked marijuana-themed and penis-themed birthday cake pictures... Then there was the album called, "Can't Be Tamed", a clarion call for the world to wake up and see that she was no longer the cutesy blonde from her TV show but an adult who literally could not be tamed (a point she drove hard by dancing around in a cage wearing itsy-bitsy costumes and feathers from an exotic bird.) When she was dancing around a pole at an award ceremony at 16, Ian Drew of the publication, 'US Weekly', said, "That's how Britney (Spears) took off. She was the good girl gone bad, and it looks to be working for Miley as well."

Britney Spears
From her debut in showbiz via the Mickey Mouse club, Britney's career took a drastic downward spiral into sex, drugs, alcohol, one-night wedding stands and baldness. The singer reinvented the pop scene with her album, 'Baby One More Time'. Britney's virginal 'good girl from Kentucky' image found her a gazillion fans. Though, the singer's subsequent post-fame cutely-provocative magazine covers caused people to raise eyebrows, she was still held on a pedestal for her strong morals, including the now-famous chastity vow. Britney's image change from cute to raunchy started with her MTV VMA performances. In 2000, she did a little striptease for the audience and then released her album 'Britney' that featured the oh-so-scandalous, "I'm A Slave" song. In 2001, she danced with an albino python on stage wearing next-to-nothing - that is when she subsequently broke up with and allegedly cheated on Justin Timberlake. In 2003, she kissed Madonna. This was followed by her one-day marriage to a childhood friend in Vegas, a whirlwind affair with a back-up dancer ending in a wedding just six-month after her first marriage, two children that were later taken away by child protection services and finally, rehab.

Christina Aguilera
Britney's arch rival, Aguilera, too began her career via 'The Mickey Mouse Club'. When she burst on to the scene, the critics had already slotted her to the 'bubblegum pop' genre. Her singles were teen love songs, with some Christmas tunes thrown in for good measure. Just like Britney - Aguilera promoted that All-American wholesomeness - cute, with a touch of sexy (just enough to not make the parents frown). Aguilera's transition was not just to a raunchier but also a downright trashier singer. With the album 'Stripped' in 2002, the singer had completely transformed her look, dirty blonde hair, photo shoots that left little to ones imagination and lyrics that made one blush. Aguilera was a bipartisan of the 2003 Madonna-Britney kiss triangle.

Taylor Momsen
From the sweet innocent blonde Jenny Humphrey of "Gossip Girl", Taylor Momsen adopted her now famous - hair extension, heavy kohl, socks and garters with no bra - look overnight. This change can be attributed to her position as lead singer in the band, The Pretty Reckless. She was regularly snapped by the paparazzi, smoking while wearing a T-shirt and garters - looking like a cross between a goth and a dominatrix, although Momsen herself labels her look as the "High Class Hooker" style. Her transformation cost her her "Gossip Girl" role.

The Barbadian singer hit the jackpot with "Umbrella" - most photo shoots of the time show Rihanna fresh-faced in her long flowing black hair. And then she became more risque with every hairstyle change. By the time she released "Good Girls Gone Bad" in 2007, RiRi had already rebelliously cut her locks to a black bob. Then she dyed her hair to brown for 'Rated R'. Racier photo shoots followed. Nudity, drugs, alcohol a little flirtation here and there with S&M, the singer's transition was particularly loud and in-your-face. By posting online photos of herself in bikinis and tweets lauding marijuana, Rihanna has established herself as a kind of rebel artiste. The singer has upped her game with bringing BDSM in the picture. Her album 'S&M' was banned in 11 countries, while her latest 'We Found Love' even offended the most liberal of all countries - France.