The Miley Cyrus Double Standard

The media has been abuzz with controversy ever since Miley Cyrus began exposing audiences to a risqué -- sometimes outright tawdry -- public image that culminated in her infamous VMA performance, in which she aggressively twerked all over Robin Thicke's crotch.

Since then, Miley debuted the video for "Wrecking Ball," her second single off the newly released album, Bangerz, in which she again appears unapologetically naked, but this time with arguably some minimal degree of taste.

Like the stunts leading up to the clip's release, the "Wrecking Ball" video has elicited strong negative reactions. However, when 2008's biggest pop-star, a.k.a. Lady Gaga, debuted the naked album cover for her forthcoming Artpop this week, not only was there little, if any, outrage but some critics even praised her for her outrageousness.

As you can see, Lady Gaga appears fully nude, a "sculpture" by Jeff Koons and her hands being the only barriers between us and her little monsters. The pose is perhaps meant to represent a high-art statue like those depicted in the background, but I'm not convinced. She looks more like a plastic Barbie doll than a Roman goddess forged of stone, and we all know what a terrible reputation Barbie has.

Lady Gaga, like Miley Cyrus, is a pop-star known for craving attention. She may have reasons she thinks of as artistic for the things she does, but I find it difficult to justify her recently released nude yoga video as anything other than a cry for attention.

When comparing Miley Cyrus' nude images in the "Wrecking Ball" clip with Lady Gaga's latest album cover and yoga video, I see the exact same thing: both of these women are n-a-k-e-d NAKED! But unlike Gaga, only Miley has generated controversy for her racy image.

Anyone else see a double standard here?

Yes, Lady Gaga, 27, is older than Miley Cyrus, 20, but why should that matter? Miley may be only 20, but she's already been engaged and, judging by her twerking and barely clad image, it's safe to say she's no virgin. Why is America screaming at Miley to put her clothes on and behave when it doesn't demand the same of its other pop-stars? Is it because she was once a squeaky-clean Disney star? If so, then consider that while Lady Gaga did not play Hannah Montana, once upon a time she primarily identified as the little girl known as Stafani Germanotta. It seems to me that Miley is just following in her elders' footsteps--elders whose steps we're not trying to restrain.

Many people have criticized Miley's performance with Robin Thicke for being needlessly shocking and positively unsexy, but it seems audiences have forgotten Madonna's writhing on stage in a wedding dress, Britney Spears' stripping into nothing but sparkles, and the three-way kiss between Madonna, Britney and Christina Aguilera--all three of which occurred on the same MTA VMA stage. Miley may have taken things to a new extreme, but was her performance really so different from Britney humping a dancer in bed during the Onyx Hotel tour which aired on TV?

Personally, I find Miley Cyrus' super-"sexy" image distasteful, as it sends a terrible message to young girls and women the world over, but I find the double standard people are promoting even less savory. I want to see the same public outcry against Lady Gaga's latest equally naked, only allegedly artistic image, or I want everyone to move on and stop giving any of these silly people more attention than they deserve. (Yes, I'm giving it to them too, but I hope I am at least making a point.)

An earlier version of this story appeared on Daniel Davidson's blog, Pulse of My Nation.