Moral panic

Today’s blog post deals with moral panics in music.

Moral panic means that a certain group in society is critizised by the established authorities for allegedly jeopardising the moral standards and values of said group. A phenomenon that usually happens during a moral panic is the self-fulfilling prophecy. That means that an effect only occurs, because it was warned that said effect would occur, but if no one ever had warned that the effect would occur it hadn’t happened in the first place. Self-fulfilling prophecies only work because people who expect that an event will turn out in a specific way tend to act like the event already had turned out the way they expected it by what they make the event actually turn out in the way they expect.
A quite recent moral panic that happened in the media and music industry was caused by Miley Cyrus or rather the media blaming her to cause one.
Miley Cyrus used to be a disney singer, she became famous for her role in the tv-series Hannah Montana and many people know her as a children’s pop star, but for her latest album ‘Bangerz’ she changed her image. She is now using a much more mature and sexualised image and especially the video to her song ‘Wrecking Ball’ and her performance at the VMA’s in 2013 were heavily criticised in the media.
The media reported over months how wrong it was that a former children’s star was using sex as a way to sell her music and that many young girls who had known Miley as disney singer would now learn wrong moral values. Through the huge media coverage regarding her person Miley Cyrus’ popularity increased raptly making her performance at the VMA’s and her song ‘Wrecking Ball’ globally successful. Only through the media coverage her allegedly morally wrong behaviour was made famous so that this is a very god example of a self-fulfillung prophecy and a moral panic in the music industry.


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