Monday, May 14, 2012

The 10 Most Slut-Shamed Former Disney Stars?

Hey Complex, fuck you. That's how we feel about your idiotic pop culture piece "The 10 Most Corrupted Former Disney Stars"... (Yes, this piece is from February, but we just found it - via ONTD - and we couldn't let it go without saying something.)
No matter how many movies Vanessa Hudgens puts out, including this weekend's Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, they still won't erase the memory of her nude photo scandals. To be fair, she isn't the only former Disney star who has the problem of a tarnished image. From Miley Cyrus' salvia video to Britney Spears' mental breakdown, Minnie Mouseketeers often make a grand exit from the House of Mouse.

There's just so much wrong with their "top 10 list" that we don't even know where to begin... 

Why are Disney stars expected to remain squeaky clean teenagers, well into adulthood? Teen stars - as most non-famous teenagers - grow up and become adults. It happens! Shocking! They drink alcohol. They have sex. They make mistakes. Just like most human beings. So why do we hold them to a higher standard? Why do we act like they have to be children forever and then shame them when they aren't?

Or how about the fact that every person on this list is female? Because apparently when male stars do something wrong, it doesn't fucking matter. But if a young woman does anything at all, she's "tarnished". Why are female stars held to a higher standard than their male counterparts? 

Shia LeBeouf, who starred on Disney's Even Stevens, didn't make this Top 10 list. Why not? He's certainly "tarnished" his image as much as some of the women on they selected... His past "fails" include: criminal trespassing (2007), unlawful smoking (2008), failing to make a court appearance (2008), drunk driving (2008), multiple bar fights (2011), and has admitted to dating certain  female celebrities while they were in relationships with others (or at least he claims to have done this; some of the women have denied his allegations). 

How about Orlando Brown (That's So Raven) who was arrested for marijuana possession (2007) and DUI (2011)? Or Mitchell Musso, who wasn't even 21 yet when he was arrested for a DUI? Joe Jonas took racist photographs, allegedly smoked marijuana at a club and broke up with Taylor Swift over the phone (not a crime, but pretty douchey). Zac Efron dropped a condom on the red carpet of a children's movie premiere and Corbin Bleu posed practically nude for ads promoting his (now cancelled) racy series The Beautiful Life. [We don't see anything wrong with those last two, but they're certainly "as bad" for their squeaky Disney images as being the subject of a false pregnancy rumor, see below.]

So why didn't any of them make the list? Why? Because we apparently don't give a shit with male celebs do. It's extra fucked-up that this list was compiled by a female "writer" (Tara Aquino) because the only thing more annoying than men slut-shaming women for their choices, is women doing it to each other!


We went down the entire list and very few of these women's offenses are actually that bad (or bad at all). Most of them have to do with drinking alcohol (over the age of 21) or being sexual in any way. To be clear, we're not condoning doing drugs, drinking and driving, or any other illegal activity. But one mistake does not mean you are "tarnished" and it certainly isn't fair to hold women to a higher standard than men; former child or teen stars to a higher standard than stars who peaked as adults; or Disney stars to a higher standard than, well, everyone else.

So here's their fucked up, idiotic, sexist, slut-shaming list... with our commentary:

10. CHRISTINA AGUILERA
Fail: Arrested for public intoxication (2011)
The Mickey Mouse Club veteran was booked after cops pulled over her boyfriend on suspicion of driving under the influence. While the L.A. Sheriff's Department spokesperson made sure to state that Aguilera wasn't belligerent, he mentioned that she was incapacitated enough to cuff her. She was placed in a cell, where she was held until she made bail the same night.

They started off with the perfect example of how stupid this list is. Public intoxication? Seriously? That's the best they can pin on Aguilera. She wasn't roaming the streets drunk and picking fights and vandalizing property. She was in a car and her boyfriend was driving. According to the LA County police department, her boyfriend was pulled over and found to have BCA of 0.09% (the legal limit is 0.08%). She was never prosecuted because she had "no criminal intent". Aguilera was taken in because she was too drunk to care for herself and had no driver to take her home once her boyfriend was arrested. According to Deputy Bill McSweeney: "You're sitting in a car drunk. You have every legal right to be there, but when we come across you we say you can't drive and we're not going to put you on the sidewalk." [FoxNews.com]

So basically, the only thing she did wrong was she had a little too much to drink. Who hasn't done that at least once? She was of legal drinking age and she made the right decision not to drive. Her boyfriend allegedly broke the law, but she did not.

9. ANNELIESE VAN DER POL

Fail: Arrested for a DUI (2007)

Regardless of her low profile as Raven's sidekick, Chelsea, on That's So Raven, Van der Pol found herself under arrest for a drunk driving accident in 2007. The actress pleaded no contest to the charge of driving with a blood alcohol level of .19, well over the legal limit of .08. The L.A. Superior Court gave her 36 months probation, required her to pay the requisite fines and attend an alcohol education program.
This one is condescending from the start. Her "low profile"? "That's So Raven" was on the air for four years and was really popular at the time. (Just sayin'.) Yes, drunk driving is bad and it's a crime. We won't condone it. But it also doesn't mean you're "corrupted" or "tarnished". And there are tons of male stars that have been guilty of the same crime and we barely bat an eye. The arrest happened in 2006 (not 2007, as they claim)... so it's been a good 7 years since she made this one mistake and nothing much has happened since. Yeah she's totally corrupted.

8. BRENDA SONG

Fail: Engaged to Trace Cyrus after a surprise pregnancy (2011)

The former Suite Life of Zack and Cody star surprised us when she announced that she was pregnant with the baby of singer, Trace Cyrus, also known as Miley Cyrus' older brother. Cyrus was also linked to another Disney star, Demi Lovato. The baby news is beside the point, though. The fact that the up-and-coming actress, who starred as Eduardo Saverin's pyromaniac girlfriend in The Social Network, is about to marry into the Cyrus clan disturbs us.

This one might be the most annoying. The rumors that Song was pregnant started in August 2011. But there's still no baby... there isn't even a baby "bump" yet! So how long do they think pregnancies last? The pregnancy rumors were disproved a long time ago and in case you still weren't sure, here's a photo of Song from her 24th birthday last month:


She doesn't look very pregnant to us (nor does she look like she just gave birth). It's one thing to hide a pregnancy for a while, but it would be near impossible to hide an infant. So they're basically calling Song "corrupted" because someone else started a stupid rumor about her... and because she's engaged to someone that they don't like. There's nothing wrong with Trace Cyrus, but apparently his being related to Miley Cyrus is enough for Song to be #8 on this list. Okay.

7. DEMI LOVATO

Fails: Took racy photos of herself that leaked and got into a fight with a back-up dancer (2010)

Pictures of Demi getting close with a number of her female back-up dancers became the subject of public criticism. Gossip mongers speculated whether she was a lesbian, while others said how "trashy" and "attention-seeking" she was. In reality, Lovato was simply troubled. Later that year, after a fist fight with one of her dancers, Lovato voluntarily checked herself into rehab. The former Sonny with a Chance star had been struggling with bulimia, bipolar disorder and self-mutilation.

It is annoying enough that they're still blaming women for photos that other people leaked (last time we checked, taking "racy" photos isn't a crime) but it's offensive that they're holding her medical issues against her in this way. (We've defended her before and we'll do it again.) Bipolar disorder isn't a choice and it isn't a "corruption" and she certainly can't be blamed for strugging with mental illness (especially not before she was diagnosed). As for her eating disorder and self-injury problems, neither are issues that are exactly choices either. She was overworked, overstressed, and has dealt with body issues for a long time (including being bullied and called "fat and ugly" as a teen). She was self-medicating to numb her pain (not to "party") and she got help when she needed it - she went to rehab voluntarily. Since leaving rehab she has spoken out about her eating disorder, both calling out commenters on Twitter who said she had gained weight and Disney themselves, for making jokes about eating disorders on their shows. [HuffPo]

We think that's awesome and we're proud of her for working towards her recovery, so she's not "corrupted" at all in our opinion. 

6. ADRIENNE BAILON

Fail: Staged her own nude photo scandal (2008)

The former Cheetah Girl got caught in a naked photo scandal and initially claimed that the pictures were taken from her stolen laptop. Bailon and her "legal spokesperson" Jonathan Jaxson even said that they'd pursue legal action against the perpertrator. While we were already willing to believe it was another hacker's foolery, Jaxson, actually Bailon's publicist, confirmed that the photo leak was actually a scheme devised to sex up her image. And yes, Bailon was in on it, too.
Again, another "naked photo scandal". Ugh, fuck society for even making this a common phrase that we have to say "another" about! Why do we care what adult women are doing in their sex lives? (Bailon is 28!) But the actual jackass in this scenario is Bailon's publicist Jaxson. He didn't just confirm that the photos were purposely leaked, it was his idea! He advised her to sex up her image by leaking the photos. And then he threw her under the bus and admitted it publicly.


5. LALAINE VERGARA PARAS

Fail: Arrested for possession of crystal meth (2007)

Yup, the girl better known as Miranda from Lizzie McGuire was caught with meth. Later that year, she failed to show up at her first court date and a warrant was issued for her arrest. The warrant was withdrawn when she showed up to her next hearing. After pleading guilty to the charge, Lalaine was required to finish drug treatment with the Asian-American Drug Abuse Program, after which her record would be wiped clean.
Yeah okay, crystal meth is not good. And skipping your court date isn't great either. But again, it's her only offense ever. And since there was never any news about this since 2008, it's safe to assume that she finished her treatment and was never arrested again. We're not going to defend what she did... but let's take a moment to think about how many men have been in and out of jail and/or rehab repeatedly and yet no one seems to give a shit.

4. BRITNEY SPEARS

Fails: Married friend Jason Alexander in Las Vegas, annuled it the next day, then married Kevin Federline (2004), Caught driving with her son on her lap (2005), Shaved her head after a night in rehab (2007), Rushed to the hospital for an alleged mental breakdown (2008)

The former Mouseketeer first began acting out of her girl-next-door image in 2004. There was the quickie-marriage to a childhood friend followed by a failed marriage to back-up dancer Kevin Federline. Reports of her reckless behavior with her children and late night partying with Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan would eventually seem like nothing compared to her two mental breakdowns. During the first incident, she shaved her head and attacked a paparazzi SUV with an umbrella. In the second episode, she was rushed to the hospital for allegedly being under the influence of drugs and refusing to give up her kids to their father, Federline, after her visitation rights were over.
It's kind of funny that they're listing marrying Kevin Federline as one of her "fails". Yeah, okay, we won't pretend that Spears hasn't gone through a hell of a lot over the years. But there's still the question of whether any of this is fair to hold against as evidence that she her image is "tarnished". We may never forget all of Spears' mishaps, but it's not as though her career is hurting at the moment. Her 2011 single "Hold It Against Me" debuted at #1 and her album Femme Fatale was very successful. Celebrities are human beings and their images are always changing. There's no reason to think that a few setbacks can ruin a person's career for good.


3. MILEY CYRUS
Fails: Took racy photos of herself that leaked (2008), Caught smoking salvia (2010), Photographed licking a penis cake (2012)

The bad girl streak began when a underwear-clad photos leaked before the former Hannah Montana star was even legal. Once Miley was free from the Disney Channel, her adventures really began taking center stage. In 2010, she was caught on video smoking salvia out of a bong, rambling gibberish and giggling like a maniac. She later referenced that incident at her 19th birthday, during which she referred to herself as a stoner. Most recently, Miley was photographed wielding a knife and licking a penis-shaped cake for her boyfriend's birthday.
Those photos weren't that racy and yet again, why are we blaming her for pics that someone else leaked!? Basically, what we're really blaming her for, is daring to be at all sexual. The fact that she was "caught" (in a photograph) smoking salvia might not be her proudest moment, but really, who cares? It's not illegal.

The most ridiculous "fail" on the list is the birthday photograph. She was "wielding a knife" and licking a penis-cake. It's just too funny to think of people getting their panties in a bunch over something so innocent. They make it seem like she was caught on film licking a real penis! And she wasn't "wielding" a knife in any vicious way - she was going to cut the fucking cake! I mean, seriously, get a grip people!


Well, it is a pretty creepy looking cake.


2. VANESSA HUDGENS

Fails: Took nude photos of herself that leaked (2007, 2009, 2011)

At the peak of Vanessa's career, the High School Musical star was the subject of a number of cell phone photo leaks, with images ranging from her in lingerie to her standing clothes-less in front of her bedroom mirror. If that wasn't scathing enough, another batch of photos popped up in 2009 and 2011, with the latter being the most graphic of all. The photos not only display a naked Vanessa touching herself, but they also show her kissing Zoey 101 star Alexa Nikolas.
We've already bitched about the "leaked photos" issue a few times on this list, but the Vanessa Hudgens "scandal" was perhaps the most annoying. We blogged about this back in 2009 when the second batch of photos were released. Not only do we not give a shit whether she takes naked photos or not, but the person we should be calling "corrupted" is the asshole who keeps leaking her photos every few years. A lot of people wrongly called Hudgens "stupid" for letting this happen "again", but the pictures that were leaked were all from the same general time period. (Some are older than others, but none are "new". That is, none were taken after the initial photo leak.)

What likely happened is that this one person (an ex, a former friend, or someone who may have hacked into her computer/phone) is choosing to leak a few photos at a time at two-year intervals. For all we know there may be another leak in 2013. This is beyond shitty on their part, but there is no reason for this to tarnish Hudgens' reputation or image because she hasn't done anything wrong. All she has done is take some photos for personal use and perhaps, trusted the wrong person.



And then... for the #1 "corrupted former Disney Star", of course, it's Lindsay Lohan!

1. LINDSAY LOHAN

Fails: Publicly ridiculed by a Georgia Rule producer (2007), Arrested twice for a DUI and possession of cocaine and sentenced to jail for the first time (2007), Set off her alcohol-monitoring bracelet and sentenced to jail twice for violating her probation (2010), Arrested for theft and ordered back to jail for violating probation (2011)

At this point, Lindsay Lohan's reputation precedes her more than any of her films do, including Disney's The Parent Trap (1998), Get A Clue (2002) and Herbie Fully Loaded (2005). News of her hard partying began popping up in tabloids in 2006, prompting the eventual open letter from Georgia Rule producer James G. Robinson calling her "irresponsible and unprofessional." In addition, Lohan has been arrested five times and has served court-ordered jail time for four incidents. Her past criminal charges include numerous DUIs, drug possession, theft, and violations of her probation, whether it was missing a court date, failing to complete community service or setting off her alcohol-monitoring bracelet. Now she's taking nude photo shoots for everyone from Terry Richardson to Playboy on the reg. What a wild ride.
Oh Lindsay Lohan. The media is obsessed with her and her past troubles. Now, we're not going to defend some of her behavior. DUIs, drug use, theft, and violating parole are not things we want to condone. But addiction is pretty much a disease and we have to yet again think about how many male actors have been in and out of rehab and/or prison as many times as Lohan, but haven't exactly been disparaged or given the title "tarnished". How about Chris Brown, Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr., Shia LeBeouf, etc.? (Okay, you can say that some of their images are tarnished, but it hasn't exactly ruined their careers and we just keep "forgiving" them.)

The annoying part of Lohan's list of "fails" though, is that although she's supposed to be clean and sober right now and trying to rebuild her career (she recently hosted SNL and will appear in an upcoming episode of Glee) they've basically written her off. It ends by criticizing her for taking nude photos for Playboy and other publications. Why? Playboy has been around for years and so many female celebrities have graced its cover and pages. It's not the right choice for every person, but it should hardly be listed along her legal problems as yet another bad mark on her image.
 

There's been a lot of talk about what lessons these stars' behavior is sending to their young fans... well how about, for one, that celebrities aren't role models? Or that teenagers grow up to be adults? Or how about, people make mistakes? But all this obsession over pregnancy rumors and naked photos is definitely sending the wrong message. It sends the message that your body is something to be ashamed of and that it's wrong to express your sexuality (even if you're legally old enough to consent to sex, even if you're in private, even in the context of a relationship, even if you choose to do it because you want to.)
 
But the real question is why is taking nude (or semi-nude) photos, either for personal use or to advance your career, a "fail"? Why is daring to be sexual as an adult, a "scandal"?



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