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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

ARTS COMMENTARY: Rodrigo doesn’t owe fans kid-friendly shows

Photo obtained from
Olivia Rodrigo’s profanity at the “GUTS” tour caused parents to be concerned about children attending her concerts.

As a young Disney star, expectations and responsibilities are automatically put on your shoulders: don’t swear, don’t be provocative and never tarnish Disney’s reputation. While these expectations are common, they are very unrealistic.

For past female Disney stars trying to top the charts and break boundaries in their singing careers, these expectations are bound to be destroyed. From Miley Cyrus’s wrecking ball era to Britney Spears shaving her head, the internet has seen many stars come out of their comfort zones and remove themselves from the Disney image. While some parents saw this as disrespectful during the time, it’s rather just self-expression.  

This year, Olivia Rodrigo kicked off the “GUTS” tour performing hits from both her debut and sophomore albums. While her target audience seems to be teenagers and young adults, many children and families were also excited to go see Rodrigo perform. 

Considering her past Disney career, these families expected to see the cookie-cutter good girl Rodrigo was years before. Back when the singer starred in “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” and “Bizaardvark,” Rodrigo only released clean music and gave off a very innocent vibe. Her shows and music were both targeted toward young audiences, with her outfits, jokes and lyrics all being very kid-friendly. 

These families were disappointed at the “GUTS” tour when now 21-year-old Rodrigo swore multiple times on stage and danced provocatively. They complained that her shows were not “family-friendly,” even though she never claimed that they would be. 

After Rodrigo’s opening night concert in Palm Springs, lots of criticism sprang up about her profanity and so-called inappropriate dancing, which was targeted toward an older audience.

As a 21-year-old performer who has broken away from Disney, Rodrigo has the right to say and act however she pleases. She should not be expected to fit the persona that these parents want, and audiences should understand she is not a child anymore. Much like Rodrigo, Miley Cyrus was put into this facade when she starred in “Hannah Montana.” After moving on from the series and releasing her own music, Cyrus went “wild” and started dressing and acting provocatively. While most saw Cyrus as just breaking out of her shell, parents attacked Cyrus for “acting out,” just as they are doing now did with Rodrigo. 

When looking into the singer’s lyrics, parents should already be able to see the angsty energy she is attempting to give off. Rodrigo used multiple swear words in her albums, so it should come to no one’s surprise that these words will be used when she performs live.

Realistically, the Disney expectations are unreasonable, and Rodrigo was bound to break these boundaries eventually. Expressing herself through her performances and lyrics does not make Rodrigo a “rebel,” it gives her more of an opportunity for creativity. 

Behind the Byline
Sophia Nicholls
Sophia Nicholls, Arts & Culture Editor
Sophia Nicholls is a 2023-2024 Senior Chief Arts and Culture Editor for the Wessex Wire. She likes to spend time with her friends and family. Her favorite artist’s are Harry Styles and Taylor Swift, and her favorite show is “Pretty Little Liars”.
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