In Defense of Disney Stars Gone 'Bad'

Maressa Brown

2010 may have been the year of the Fallen Disney Angel. Miley Cyrus was caught smoking a substance (supposedly not pot) from a bong, Demi Lovato got sent to rehab for cutting and an eating disorder, and Selena Gomez took off her purity ring—gasp!

We should have seen it coming. They've all begun "acting out" as they've turned 18. While some moms may be dismayed that their kids see Demi Lovato on Disney one minute and accidentally Google news about her sex tape the next, the fact of the matter is that what the three famous young women were "caught" doing this year wasn't exactly out of the ordinary ... for any woman stumbling into adulthood.

First of all, you have to admit the media likes to spin stories to neatly file young female celebs under one of two labels: Good Girl or Bad Girl. Rihanna may have declared herself as the "Good Girl Gone Bad" with her hit album this year, but there's no Good Girl Gone Bad like a Disney girl.

Lindsay Lohan's courtroom-rehab drama was one cautionary tale for the likes of Miley, Demi, and Selena. Britney was one of the original squeaky clean Disney-queens-turned-toxic-hussy. And on the flip side, you've got Taylor Swift. Oh, innocent Taylor who somehow got away with dating skanky guys all year long—one of whom was definitely no Prince Charming and 10+ years her senior (cough, John Mayer, cough). It didn't matter, though, because she wore flouncy white dresses and croons that boys "belong to her." Lucky for Taylor and her publicist, she appears to be emotionally stunted at 13 ...

But between the two extremes of Lohan-Spears Nervous Breakdown-ville and Taylor's Pure Pink Bubble Land, most women come of age emotionally, mentally, and physically by going off to college or in some other way, experiencing some kind of journey of self-discovery. They aim to assert their independence and figure out who they really are by experimenting—sometimes with their sexuality or by trying drugs and drinking, etc. 

When you think about it that way, it's no shocker that Miley's asserting her inability to be "tamed," Demi's struggling with her self-image, and Selena is considering, or very possibly having, sex. It's all par for the coming-of-age course.

In the end, the current Muskateer Trifecta isn't necessarily headed toward Life FAILs like their gone-to-hell predecessor LiLo. But they are going to fall down and pick themselves back up again a lot—just like any 18 year-old. The only difference is that, if they choose to continue pursuing a future under the Kleig lights of Hollywood, their wins and missteps will be captured for all to see.

Do you expect young female stars to behave a certain way, even as they enter adulthood?

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