What do Corey Worthington and Miley Cyrus have in common?

Not being a big TV watcher here in the vege patch I was going to leave the whole Corey Worthington thing well alone. I don’t watch Big Brother so I was of course not going to bother with BB08 and made my opinion clear here. But the comments of others who like to engage with pop culture more than this radish made me rethink my stance. Perhaps this radical radish was being more hypocritical than critical in its thinking. So one blog led to another and now I feel confident enough to discuss Corey with more empathy and less vitriol then I otherwise would have.

Miley Cyrus posed for Vanity Fair wearing nothing but sheets and was made to apologise to the public for her foolishness. The 15 year old Hannah Montana star was made to apologise by Disney in order to minimise any PR damage to their brand. Of course neither Vanity Fair nor any of Miley’s minders who let this happen were made to apologise. So a young girl is manipulated into a compromising position and she is the one that has to say sorry. This story got me all riled up. It is very easy to view this story with a feminist lens and rage against the sexualisation of the young, the PR maneuvering by Disney who are attempting to keep her image ‘clean’, the way in which the photo shot plays up to societal expectations of young girls as readily available sex objects (alright I haven’t seen the pics, and they may be ‘artsy’ as claimed, but theres a pretty unambiguous symbolism in a picture of a teenage girl naked between sheets), but interestingly enough I have realised that the Corey story is actually quite similar. Maybe minus the sex.

So Corey throws a party that gets out of control. Then the media gets hold of the story and things get further out of control. Corey, the unrepentant party boy, is loved by some and loathed by others. Promoter Max Markson sees potential in the media exposure Corey received and Corey was taught to DJ and perform at parties set up by Max. Then, the big score, Max does a deal with channel Ten that sees Corey do a stint in the Big Brother house timed to coincide with the releases of his single, a cover of (what else could it be), The Beastie Boys ‘You gotta fight for your right to party’.

Well upon hearing that Corey was going on BB didn’t this radish get indignant, just like half of Australia it seems. (Here is an example of some of the opprobrium directed at Corey). But now I realise that Corey’s image is no more real than Miley’s image. Disney spins a clean cut image presentable for family viewing, and protects this image from the taint of a sexy photo shot. Vanity Fair wants to present a different type of image entirely, one designed to sell magazines. And A Current Affair, the Telegraph, and Big Brother are marketing a one dimensional image of the out of control youth, designed to manipulate our fears or play to our expectations about ‘the youth of today’ so that we will buy newspapers and CD singles, and keep our eyes glued to the tele. I have realised love him or loathe him, it is two sides to the same coin. We are reacting to a media image designed to sell a product. I don’t know Corey, and I hope that he, like Miley has someone to look after him and and help him deal with the fall out from all this media exposure and exploitation. Because that’s what these two teenagers have in common, exploitation by an uncaring media intent on selling copy.