I’ve never paid much attention to Justin Bieber, other than to point and giggle when I saw some teenage girl doodle his name on her paper. Never to the girl’s face, of course, but Justin Bieber is not someone I would ever think of as being sexy…
Still don’t, so don’t go thinking this is a post about his hotness or anything like that.
Though, if I’m honest, he does embody an interesting mix of masculine and feminine sexiness factors that make him appealing on a purely aesthetic level. I mean, look at that tender, girlish face, but he’s rocking the plaid of a lumberjack or a hipster.
Bieber, taking metrosexual to a whole new level!
But no, this is not a post on how sexy he is. That sentence alone makes me feel like a pedophile, even though I’m well aware that he is of legal age. So what is it that makes me feel dirty for even considering him a thing to be considered sexual?
I’m fairly certain it has something to do with a double standard.
And I’m sure you are completely shocked that double standards still exist in this day and age! (Apparently my snark button is stuck today. Watch out world!)
In the world of music and television, there seems to be this idea that female actors and musicians reach a magic age where they suddenly become sex objects, whereas the magic number for men is much, much later.
Daniel Radcliffe commented on it, and it is one of the reasons why he’s become one of my favorite actors… that and the movie Horns (which if you haven’t seen it, you really must). In an interview, he commented about people constantly telling him he was an “unconventional lead,” and as he pressed further, the interviewer explained that it was because people had a hard time separating him (and consequentially sexualizing him) from the role of Harry Potter, Boy Wizard. His response was priceless, and a major boon for feminists (yeah, I said the F-word) everywhere:
His point was that Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, was almost instantly sexualized. She got a new chic hairstyle, showed up in a suit jacket with no blouse, and suddenly she was the Lancome spokes-model, or some such. Men took exactly 12 seconds to decide she was a sexual object. I’m not even sure the last Harry Potter film had shown in theaters yet, which meant her character wasn’t quite of legal age yet!
Now, I know that there’s this saying that women mature faster than men, but should it really effect our perception of actors as well? We shouldn’t sexualize male actors until they reach a certain age, while female actors become sex objects as soon as they are legal… and in some cases, just before? Does that seem right to anyone?
We see the same thing in the music industry. Remember when Miley came of age? Everybody was a little shocked at her “risque” pole dance… if only we could go back to such an innocent time. *Sigh*
The point being, people were shocked… for about a minute. Miley was 16 when that happened (if memory serves), and the argument was that she was coming into her own as a woman. Meanwhile, Disney didn’t want to have anything to do with it, because she was still on their channel, and it seems to be a grey area because she’s a girl.
Meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers, an all male group which somewhat got their start on Miley Cyrus’ show, Hannah Montana, were expected to be virginal, and promote promise rings, and maintain all sorts of extremely high standards of innocence… but why?
Leave it to South Park to answer the hard questions. Admittedly, this episode came out a long while ago….when the Jonas Brothers were relevant, but the point stands!
The Jonas Brothers’ job was to sell sex to teenage girls. The success of the Boy Band, such as New Kids on the Block or One Direction and all the ones in between, relies on the prepubescent female population. It’s a strange middle ground where they’re supposed to be romantic and enticing, but not truly sexual, and if they cross that line into the truly sexual realm, with overt lyrics, or heaven forbid some sort of sex scandal, they drift off into obscurity for a while. Or forever.
It goes back to this double standard: we sell women on the idea of romance and true love, while we sell the idea of sex to men.
There’s a lot of talk about rape culture, and how we should hold men responsible for their actions. In other words, phrases like “she was asking for it,” or questioning a woman’s attire, places blame on the victim because men are incapable of controlling themselves. But what are we teaching men in the media?
We teach men that they are inherently more valuable because they are judged on their abilities, but women are judged primarily by their sexual nature. Males are promoted for their talents, but women on their looks. How hot is she? What is she wearing? How old is she?
Yeah, age is a factor.
According to mainstream media, women have an expiration date, and once they’ve reached a particular age, they cannot be considered attractive anymore. Men age gracefully, while women just get old.
So, we rush women into adulthood so we can sexualize them, and then race to use them up before they expire by conventional standards.
Ugh… Double standards!
And to think, we got here all because I heard a Justin Bieber song that sounded a little too grown up, and I felt like a pedophile for liking it. I guess I’m guilty of the double standard, too.