By Lore Oxford
The recent release of Spring Breakers has sparked international debate with regard to its cast of scantily clad, Disney-famed tween role models. Twitter has been overflowing with conflicting opinions, from "I heard Spring Breakers is trashy and a waste of time & money" to "Don't forget to go see @springbreakers it's too good, like finger licking good." Meanwhile, American gossip columns have been overflowing with opinionated commentaries.
"Selena Gomez peels off her Disney girl persona, and most of her clothes, in [the] R-rated Spring Breakers", wrote Stephen Schaefer for the Boston Herald. The beauty of this particular vein of media attention is that, whether the overflowing Christian sector of North America likes it or not, sex - and controversy - sells. But we already knew that and, as such, the question is raised: is nobody bored of this yet?
Let's face it. The Disney-star-gone-bad image is hardly big news. The Mouseketeers must be sighing nostalgic sighs, as they remember their sex-fuelled, paparazzi-ridden journeys into adulthood. They already understand that the only way to shed that lacquered sheen and relinquish themselves from the shackles of a role model-hungry audience is to put their middle finger up to the cameras until parents ban them from their household.
Justin Timberlake's move to N*Sync was synonymous with his avocation of numerous questionable things: hairstyles in particular, but his lyrics were under at least equal scrutiny (the first thing that comes to mind is "All day long I dream about sex / and all night long I think about sex"). His solo career hasn't done much to alter his racy image either. Similarly, Christina Aguilera went on to showcase some equally questionable hair (those braids) and romp around a wrestling ring in crotchless leather trousers, telling anyone who would listen that she was dirrty. Later, Ryan Gosling starred in the controversial The Believer as a neo-Nazi, which - while it could be taken as a nod to Walt Disney in all the glory of his rumoured bigotry - was not an angle that sat well with the majority of his Mouseketeer fans. And let's not even get started on Britney Spears.
New-gen Disney stars have been anything but shy when it comes to following in their predecessor's footsteps. Vanessa Hudgens hasn't even had a look-in on the Spring Breakers phenomenon. Her perky chest has been thrust into the face of the media so many times that her public persona now doesn't differ much from that of the girl at school who's only remembered for the up-skirt pictures she sent boys during class. Meanwhile, ex-boyfriend and High School Musical co-star Zac Efron has enjoyed dirtying up his image with Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy, whilst fellow former Disney star Miley Cyrus parades the pages of the internet in her underwear with a bong in hand, whilst hanging out with blow-up dolls (admittedly not all at the same time).
In short, those who enter into the glittering halls of Hollywood through Disney are destined to suffer a gruelling initiation into adulthood, through whichever duct of filth reveals itself first. Some of them get a taste for it, and are doomed to an existence of public arrests and nervous breakdowns (we're looking at you, Brit). For others, reincarnation is possible. Ryan Gosling has a roster of internationally acclaimed films under his belt, while Christina Aguilera has just moved to a $10million mansion in Beverley Hills, and is renowned for her award-winning contributions to countless charities.
Hudgens and Cyrus might seem like undesirables now, but that doesn't mean they won't flourish into respectable and talented actresses once the dust has settled. The prospect of reinvention is surely better than existing as a perpetual one-trick pony, destined to repeat the incessant catchphrases from your youth at the mercy of the likes of Family Guy or The Simpsons. Remember Gary Coleman?