Sep 29, 2014

Young, Female, Talented, Hated

People don't like show-offs, or arrogance. I get that. I agree with them. Justin Bieber is understandably lambasted for his antics. Kanye West attracts (gentle) mockery for his attitude and lifestyle.

But other than Justin Bieber, I don't really see young famous guys attracting the level of hatred and mockery landed on young women. Young female stars are not lauded much for their talent, even when they are very talented.

Miley Cyrus is almost universally reviled now. For some bad taste dancing and probably a touch of arrogance. But listen to her songs: she has some great arrangements, and her voice is incredible. She may be young, and she may be annoying - but better get used to her, she's going to be around for a long, long time. I fact, I think she will be a HUGE star, and will last. She reminds me a bit of Madonna in her early years, but with the difference that unlike Madonna back then, Miley Cyrus can really sing.

Taylor Swift is someone everyone loves to make fun of, for her supposedly too-many boyfriends, her bad dancing, and her heart-on-her-sleeve lyrics. But how brave, to write and put your teenage poetry out there, and to develop and mature along the way. Apart from the early 'Love Story' which is pretty 'young' in its outlook, I have liked almost all Taylor Swift's songs. Shake It Off, her latest, tells how she intends to deal with "haters". It's probably all bravado but kudos to her. She's young and she's dealing with a lot for someone so young. It's not nothing to create stuff and put it out there and have every aspect of your persona so publicly mocked.

Lana Del Rey has been mocked for her "fake" image, and her past as a wannabe vanilla pop star. But she's a performer, and performers mostly want to be famous. Why wouldn't they try different ways to get there? Most of them have changed their image and their style at some point along the way. (Granted, perhaps not as much as Lana Del Rey). And whatever - it seems she has managed to find the style that really, really suits her. Rock on, Lana.

Katy Perry is mocked for, as far as I can make out, being a sex symbol but not a good enough one. I like some of her songs and don't like others, but I'm pretty fond of Katy Perry for embracing her pre-teen girl audience and treating them with respect and responsibility.

Lady Gaga, with her avante garde persona, gets a bit more respect, or at least is gently mocked rather than vilified. Maybe people are scared of looking as if they don't "get it", or maybe people think they can't figure her out enough to truly dislike her, whereas they think they have the others figured out.

In contrast to all the above, Lorde is universally admired. She is also very talented. But I guess it's much easier to love an "indie" star than the pop stars whose efforts to reach fame are probably much more visible and easier to mock.

I don't have any Miley Cyrus songs, but my iPod contains a few Taylor Swifts, Katy Perrys and Lana Del Reys, and a whole Lorde album. I have Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster on CD as the kids used to love it. Oh, and I've got one Justin Bieber song too (it was requested by my daughter but I don't hate it).


  1. Regardless of talent, and I am not really sure I know what I am talking about, some street cred goes a long way, which I guess is what Lorde has. I assume Miley Cyrus is the daughter of Billy Ray. I like her. She was quite influential in stopping the monster Phillip Island development. As used to be said, all tomorrows fish wrapping.

    1. That is true. Lorde is real and hugely talented, so no denying her street cred. Street cred doesn't really factor for pop stars so it's perhaps harder for them to win respect.

  2. "Young female stars are not lauded much for their talent, even when they are very talented."

    THis is true, funny how you then deride Madonna as not having singing ability. I think she is and has always been a very talanted singer. Not crazy about her personally, but think she has been a great entertainer, not an actress, but an entertainer.

    Perhaps you are a little guilty of what you are pointing out.
    If so, it is a very good way to make a point. And yes, I agree with you, female entertainers are judged by their lifestyle more than the men, and Justin Beiber is a train wreck...talented but a train wreck.

    1. Damn, that sounds so critical. THat was not my intention. Sorry.

      Good points, good post.

    2. No worries! I actually do think Madonna is a good singer now, but that initially her voice was weak; she worked very hard and got better and better. It didn't come out in my post (you're right), but I have a lot of respect for her and I still love her best album Ray of Light.
      I admit my young self wasn't a Madonna fan but I grew to like her stuff later.

  3. And not only the young. Women in whatever their field do seem to attract criticism totally unrelated to their area of expertise/talent. Criticism which obscures that talent.



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