The Bangerz tour by Miley Cyrus began on Valentine’s day in Vancouver, and while there are mixed reviews from critics, it’s widely agreed that the 21-year-old pop star is pushing the boundaries of what is age-appropriate. The tour includes video montages with plenty of skin, mocking oral sex with a man wearing a Bill Clinton mask, on-stage masturbation, and suggestive grinding with her backup singers. All of this makes it a nightmare for parents with young children in attendance.
After a controversial performance, parents are leaving Miley Cyrus’s show with their young children and lodging complaints with her record company. Some are even calling for the cancellation of the entire tour. While this is unlikely to happen, Cyrus’s team is discussing ways to tone down the show, in case they are unable to control her behavior. The backlash against Cyrus stems from her seemingly sudden transformation from Disney star to provocative adult entertainer. Despite undergoing a gradual evolution over the past five years, 2013 marked a significant departure from her previous image. With the help of her new manager, Larry Rudolph, Cyrus embraced a more sexually explicit and drug-infused persona that has not been well received by some parents and critics. If the situation continues to escalate, it’s possible that concert ratings systems similar to those used for albums, movies, and video games may be implemented.
It is understandable to question how any parent who bought tickets for a Miley Cyrus concert could have been unaware of the scandalous headlines she has been generating over the past six months. However, it is evident that some parents were indeed clueless. In today’s world of multimedia overexposure, it is up to media makers to provide ample notification about potentially inappropriate content rather than relying solely on the consumer’s discretion. This responsibility has long been recognized in other forms of media, such as movies, which have had ratings since 1930, and video games, which were given ratings in response to violent and sexually explicit console games like Mortal Kombat in 1994. While music has a parental advisory label for explicit content, it is not required by law and is left up to the record label to determine. The “Explicit” label was introduced in 1985, and Prince’s Purple Rain was the best-selling album that year to carry the warning.
A rating system for concerts would likely follow a similar binary designation as the record industry. Nowadays, concerts are highly produced with every detail pre-planned, unlike the spontaneous and wild events of the ’70s and ’80s. Shock performers like GG Allin, who engaged in self-mutilation on stage and promised fans he would commit suicide during a show, are no longer common. Allin died from a drug overdose before fulfilling his promise. According to Allin’s brother and bass player Merle, one never planned on finishing a tour with GG due to potential imprisonment or hospitalization. Some parents are hoping to end Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz tour early, and ticket prices on the secondary market have dropped significantly in recent months.
The introduction of PAL on records had an unintended consequence of increasing demand for records with the label because of its presence. Although it is uncertain whether issuing an “explicit” warning for purchasing tickets to see Bangerz would have a similar effect, it would clarify that Miley Cyrus is not simply a more mature version of Hannah Montana. This warning would serve as fair warning for anyone who might have missed her very public transformation.