How Heavy Metal Was Framed By Disney's Tween Stars
The VMA's, Miley Cyrus, "twerking," foam finger-humping--I'll be so happy when all the bullshit about this Disney star turned disgusting excuse for a pop culture icon is over.
Usually it's supposed to be hard to look away from an emotional trainwreck, but Miley Cyrus's dead eyes and awkward tongue-wagging was pretty easy to ignore. We get it: you wanted to make a personal statement, just like Madonna's "Like a Virgin" in 1984, Britney Spears' "Oops I Did It Again" in 2000, and their shared kiss on stage in 2003--just to name a few.
After hearing all about the VMAs, it got me thinking about all the Disney child stars and mouseketeers who've fallen off the wagon. I mean, it's pretty much the only way things go for the majority of them, or at least the girls: Christina Aguilera, writhing in water and assless chaps in the middle of a boxing ring. Vanessa Hudgens' topless photos. Miley Cyrus singing about rolling on Molly and giving oral sex to guys in a club bathroom.
And people are blaming heavy metal for promoting casual sex, drugs and irresponsibility? When it comes down to it, doesn't that sudden shift from innocent childhood icon (i.e. Hannah Montana character) to sex-crazed, attention-starved, provocatively dressed tween affect society way more than the sex, drugs, and rock and roll of heavy metal?
So that's why I'm convinced that Disney frame heavy metal. And it all started back in the 1980s.
Ah, Disney. Responsible for countless childhood memories, animator of the 20th century, visionary of the Happiest Place on Earth. For an adult metalhead like myself, you can re-create that experience for a fraction of the price with a little Metalocalypse, fireball whiskey, and a $2.99 pack of Play-doh. Don't ask, but it's how the ladies' nights have been going in my house lately.
Conspiracy theories abound about Disney. For example, just last week I had to endure a debate between two of my friends about how Disney films engrain the standard for a girl's self-image early on. One girl argued that Beauty in the Beast taught girls to stay by the side of a man who treated her badly and had a bad temper. The other girl was up in arms about how a new doll on the market, based off the main character in Brave, had been revamped to have bigger hips and a smaller waist. I just sipped my whiskey after making a feeble argumentative attempt that, in my mind, the moral of Beauty and the Beast was understanding people from different walks of life and helping reveal the best in people. I was brutally rebuffed.
Another conspiracy? The deftly hidden sexual innuendos among the animation, like in the 1977 film The Rescuers where a blatant shot of a topless woman in a window appears; the apparent showing of Jessica Rabbit's lady garden in Roger Rabbit; or the weirdly phallic palace on the cover of The Little Mermaid. For decades there has been talk that Disney has been selling subliminal sexual messages to children.
But the real culprit in my mind? The goddamn Mouseketeers and Disney child stars.
Million-dollar money machines, forever indebted to Disney. For years they have been molded and shaped by Disney as the ultimate childhood icon, before they give them a little leeway in their teenage years and blow the top off pop music's volcano of sexual tension.
Maybe Disney and Tipper Gore worked in cahoots to set the stage for the brainwashing and demise of the next generation of young girls. 10 years before Brittany Spears shook her 16-year-old ass while cooing "Hit me baby one more time," they decided to ensure that the music that was looked at as most awful was heavy metal, and accomplished that by slapping a Parental Advisory sticker, or "Tipper Sticker," on every heavy metal and punk album.
Hell, back in the mid-'90s Al and Tipper Gore wore Beauty and the Beast Halloween costumes, almost a $10,000 set-up reportedly paid for by Disney and the Democratic National Committee.
Heavy metal may contain pornographic images, and promote lust, violence and black magic--but at least it's honest about where it stands. It's pretty easy to decide if you like a band or not right from the get-go, because their opinions and lifestyle are laid right out on the table.
But when you reap millions of dollars off of the Hannah Montana obsession of six-year-old girls, promoting her as a family friendly, innocent figure and role model for children and teenage girls all over the world? That's gotta be one of the most fucked up musical forays I've ever seen--never mind Dee Snider from Twisted Sister rocking a little makeup on stage. I think Miley might've taken some makeup tips from Snider himself.
So maybe Tipper Gore and Disney knew that heavy metal would never make the amount of money that wholesomely marketed child idols-turn-tricks would reap. I bet Gore let loose a spew of profanity upon seeing Miley Cyrus, thinking back to how clever a Mickey Mouse head-shaped advisory sticker would've looked on Disney CDs, shimmering in the fluorescent store lighting. Parents wouldn't have even noticed it, anyway.
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