'I had no idea who Dylan Sprouse was 3 days ago but now I love him'
'I'm not complaining #hot #dylansprouse'
'Dylan Sprouse puts the D in Disney'
Although there were many responses of shock and disgust, there were equally a large number of people who praised Dylan for his actions, labelling him as hot and glorifying him for simply taking the photos of himself. To me, this is the perfect example of when society lets its double standards run wild. Why? Look at Miley Cyrus, former Disney Star who flashes the flesh every now and then by wearing very little and having a good old twerk when she wants to. Cyrus has been widely criticised by the media, one criticism being that she is a bad role model to young girls, including her fans from Disney's Hannah Montana TV show. Whilst both Dylan and Miley are largely two of my childhood heroes, only one of them has been slated for exposing themselves and to me, it is very typical that the woman of the situation is being slated.
Like it or not, we live what I see as a 'lad' v.s. 'slag' culture, whereby if a man does something provocative, he can often get away with it by playing up to the 'cheeky lad' character, whereas if a woman does a similar thing, she is immediately branded with the harsh titles of 'slag' 'whore' etc. Since Miley Cyrus has revealed her new edgy image, I can't say that I am a fan of her, but in this situation, I am standing in her corner as a woman. I find it offensive that Dylan Sprouse can get away with exposing himself in pictures simply because the pictures were sent to 'the WRONG someone' but Miley Cyrus is constantly criticised for wearing next to nothing- even though in most cases she still wears clothes. Both celebrities are from the Disney channel and have ultimately done something that will forever tarnish their squeaky clean Disney image, however, in the long run Miley Cyrus will be the one to suffer the most backlash for this.
Whilst working in Disney, Miley was very restricted in terms of what she could and couldn't do so that she could maintain her image, so it is somewhat understandable that she wants to break free and explore a different side of her character that was held back for the best part of her teenage years. Whether she has done this in the right way is debatable, but Miley's image is something that has not developed purely out of vanity, but from her desire to make herself a marketable recording artist that will succeed in a century where smiles and cheesy lyrics are not enough anymore. Ultimately, Miley had many motives when 'edging up' her image and when taking time to reflect on these, I do empathise with her when she is being criticised.
From his statement that, since the photo went viral, he gained 200,000 twitter followers, 40,000 followers on tumblr and 20,000 followers on instagram, it is clear that Dylan is reaping the benefits of his actions. If we pretend for a second that Dylan was a woman in this situation, I am sure he (well, she) would still gain all of those followers, but equally the public would find it more offensive that a woman has dared to expose her body to the world. Look at the glamour models of Page 3- although they are glorified by many, they also offend others due to the needlessness of getting their boobs out simply to give some men a cheap thrill which can be seen as encouraging the exploitation of women. I know we are past the days where women can't show their ankles, but it seems that women still face a larger backlash for public exposure than men do.
Sexual equality is something that I expect in 2013 as human beings have evolved from the time where women were seen as inferior and irrelevant in society. Nevertheless, the double standards raised from the response to Dylans' leaked photos have made me realise that it will be a long time before men and women are treated equally as gender ultimately plays a role in how people are treated for the same action.