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What The Runaways Did For Women

The Accidental Legacy of The Runaways: Sexed-Up Pop Stars

The Runaways may have opened the door for female rockers, but they also left it open for the hypersexualized female pop star. Now with The Runaways movie out today, it's the perfect time to look at the band's legacy.

The girls used their sexuality to garner attention, create a bad-ass image, and sell records. Yet there was no national outcry when teenagers Joan Jett and Cherie Currie went on stage dressed in lingerie. Maybe it's because it was the '70s or there was no Internet to complain to, but The Runaways' success was considered a positive thing for women. And rightly so.

Twelve years ago when Britney broke through, she was dressed in a seductive school uniform and looking straight into the camera like it was Justin Timberlake. When Miley Cyrus pole-danced at the Teen Choice Awards last year, it was not just on stage but on an ice-cream truck. Sure, The Runaways sexed up their act because they wanted to be liked, they wanted the crowd to go wild, and they wanted to be successful, but it was about empowerment, not capitalizing on the barely legal (or illegal) fantasies of men everywhere.

Join The Conversation
jocupcake jocupcake 7 years
I think the point the article is getting at is that the Runaways weren't combining sex with childhood imagery - ex: pole dancing on the ice cream truck, sexed-out school girls. Joan Jett and Cherie Currie were probably aware that their sexuality would sell, but they sold themselves as hot women, not little girls. I actually don't know much about the Runaways but I'm pretty impressed that they were confident enough to rock out in their underwear and talented enough to look sexy while actually sounding good (as opposed to most pop stars now who look hot but aren't actually good musicians).
leslievanhouten leslievanhouten 7 years
What pop start isn't hypersexualizes? Peggy Lee singing Fever? Eartha Kitt? Tina Turner? The real legacy of the Runaways is an all female band that plays their own instruments
sourcherry sourcherry 7 years
To be honest I don't think there's such a big difference. I was born more than a decade later but I'm sure a lot of people at the time said they were capitalizing on men fantasies as well. Just like years from now we'll say Britney was empowering too; it's all a matter of perspective.
StellaBliss StellaBliss 7 years
Even having a daughter myself I find this drama around "controversial" teen sexuality exhausting. If Miley Cyrus wants to dance on a pole, I say more power to her.
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