Why Can Zac Efron Get Away with What Miley Cyrus Cannot?

"High School Musical" star gets sexual in his new trailer

Focus Features unveiled on Tuesday the red band trailer for its raunchy comedy “That Awkward Moment,” starring Zac Efron. The blogosphere chuckled and drooled over Efron as he exposed his bum on a toilet and engaging in other sexual hijinks.

But there was no outrage on par to what Miley Cyrus experienced after her equally raunchy MTV Video Music Awards performance in August, where she waved a foam finger provocatively. “Morning Joe’s” Mika Brzezinksi and “The View’s” Jenny McCarthy both slut-shamed Cyrus, but Efron, who wears a limp prosthetic penis in the trailer, largely got a pass in the media.

Nobody even uttered as much as, “What will the children think?” The NY Daily News cooed, “Oh, hello Zac Efron.”

Efron and Cyrus both got their starts in the Disney universe back in 2006 — Efron in “High School Musical” and Cyrus on “Hannah Montana” — but their fans aren’t kids anymore. There’s still a double standard when it comes to sexuality in Hollywood: men can get away with whatever they want, and women are called whores when they try to do the same.

Cyrus (who is 20) and Efron (25) are both young adults, who are still experimenting with their brands. Let’s keep that in mind the next time Cyrus does something outrageous with a foam finger.

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  1. Margaret says:

    The difference is Zack’s movie is not rated pg and kids can’t just turn the TV on and see it. Also Miley was on TV till 2011 so the tweens are still watching her, High School Musical 3 came out in 2008 so his fans are about 18 now and older .Miley’s fans are barely into their teens that is the difference.

  2. Cathy says:

    What happened to being classy and performing the true talent of acting / singing. When did smut become the new word for classy? I find it very disgusting. If I want to want porn, I will rent a video.

  3. athena says:

    Well, Zac Efron is acting in a film and Miley Cyrus is providing entertainment live on stage…big difference.

    • Frank W says:

      You said what I was going to say. Adding it was LIVE TELEVISION (wasn’t it?). Red Band trailers are online or in movie theaters where they are watching R rated movies.

  4. Jumpjoy says:

    The MTV music awards are very different than an R rated movie – at least they are supposed to be. The problem was with the context of Miley’s performance. Many people let their tweens watch the award show, but would not think to allow the same children into an R rated movie.

  5. pezlee says:

    two completely different things. one is acting in a movie. the other isn’t. so why are you comparing them?

  6. bwahaha says:

    seriously dude , are you nuts comparing the two ? and you know why a female can’t show as much skin as man , it’s cuz every millimeter of a woman’s body is sexual to men .that’s why .

  7. Violette says:

    I’m a fairly modest 40 year old mom sitting here trying to understand what’s the big deal? In the grand scheme of things, what’s the harm in anything Cyrus or Efron did? Stop clutching your pearls over things that don’t matter.

  8. Taylor says:

    Aside from the fact that Efron is 5 years older (and longer from away from his franchise) and as the others have pointed out playing a character, you’re missing an even bigger point.

    Why was no eyebrow raised when Vanessa Hudgens & Selena Gomez were acting in the even more explicit and racy ‘Spring Breakers?’ How does your argument about double standards based on gender work with this?

  9. david says:

    I don’t think it was the risqué dancing that bothered people as much as I think it was the awkward tounge wagging. I think people were more confused than offended by her actions. I’m also a prude, and would have no problem being known as a member of the Disney crew. I’m in my 20’s.

  10. Jay Mills says:

    I agree with other people on here. These really aren’t the same situations. Miley Cyrus was live onstage whereas Zach Efron is acting in a movie. The real double standard was criticizing Miley Cyrus more than Robin Thicke. She’s a 20-year-old trying to prove she’s not a little Disney girl anymore. Alan Thicke is a grown man with a wife, and never should have been a part of it. It was ridiculous he got out of that with so little criticism. Personally, I don’t think twerking is that big of a deal, it’s just enthusiastic grinding.

  11. Bella says:

    Because he is clearly in a sexual environment when that happens. Miley was on a stage. Not a sexual environment, if you ask me.

  12. steve says:

    Well.. the difference is… women are the ones shouting whore.. first off.. Guys shout slut.. Second of all, Zac Efron is playing a character- not being himself (which miley claims she’s been doing lately). Thirdly, his was tasteful in the sense that it wasn’t on public television- No red band trailers get aired on TV. Whatever trailer does air on TV will be for all audiences- and those who go to see the movie must be 17+ to see the explicit material…. end of lesson.

    Really sad when you have to explain something this simple to an ‘adult.’

  13. There’s a difference between “naked” and “sexual”. And one is a red band trailer and the other was on television network marketed towards teens during prime time. There’s a HUGE difference between 20 and 25. And young girls are far more apt to watch Miley make bad choices than they are to hunt down the red band trailer for a movie (that shows the side of a naked bottom in a non-sexual way) for a movie not marketed to them. Context. Context is the difference. Not sexism.

  14. mrcopas says:

    It’s simple. Efron is “acting” while Cyrus is supposed to be performing. Her performance was awful. Lady Gaga performed in even less clothes than Cyrus and no one cared. Why? Because Gaga is a talented singer and dancer while Cyrus is not. It has nothing to do with gender or sex and everything to do with how much talent the performer has. If Cyrus would have come out and actually sounded good and danced well people wouldn’t have been so outraged.

  15. Igna says:

    Finally someone speak out with wisdom!, I mean people defending him with things like he’s acting…. so as performing is, and act, as a singer you should know that, even Miley said it on her own documentary, performing is giving a show, acting for the people. I mean like if Lady Gaga was on a thong and shell bra all day long at her house with a extremely big wig. Then the “Rated R” deal, what’s the difference, we all know MTV is not a Rated G channel, neither the performers are rated PG…. and neither her performance was far for a real Rated R stuff. Then no one talk about his nudity, he show his abs and ass, not the big deal, eventually people is like…” Whooo what a hunky” and stuff, The same Cyrus was naked on her last music video (without even showing that much as Zac). But again people is like!!! Men naked= cool and sexy, Woman naked= sluts!… Plus between this two, only one had been on rehabilitation. And for the ones that didn’t know it was Zac.

    • steve says:

      please, pretty please… stay in school or go back through… your use of the english language makes me want to vomit as there were zero sentences within that rant that were written with grammar and spelling in mind. I want those brain cells back that you just killed.

  16. Tiara says:

    Its completely different. Zac is “acting” in a COMEDY which is rated R. Miley was just “being herself” and tried way too hard to get attention and out do Britney, Madonna, and Lady Gaga on a show with audiences of all ages.

  17. Duni says:

    The difference betweent the 2. Zac is playing a scripted character. You won’t find him, everyday, trying to keep up the character. Miley has said that this is her. The ranchy person you see on that screen ISN’T a character. Its her, her habits, her life and she will live it provacatively in front of the camera for all to see.
    He’s keeping his private life to himself. No one even knew he had a substance abuse problem till he went into rehab. She posts pics of herself smoking and acting foolish. Zac does not. He picks his scripts, does his job and goes home

  18. B says:

    This article is right. The people in the comments saying that there’s a difference because Zac plays a character need to remember that Miley was playing the character Hannah Montana and shouldn’t be judged because she ~used to be a Disney girl.
    Also, pop stars are known for creating new identities in their eras for new albums. Like when Rihanna went dark, edgy and goth for Rated R and was hipster for Unapologetic. Miley is a performer and an artist and has created a fun identity for Bangerz. As she has stated, she didn’t even try to be sexy for the VMA performance – that was just for fun and to celebrate the music videos for We Can’t Stop and Blurred Lines (and if you did watch those videos, you would know that Robin Thicke and Miley totally delivered a performance that was in the spirit of their videos). The nakedness in the video for Wrecking Ball was to show the vulnerability (again; not for the sexiness) and as stated she licked the hammer because it symbolizes her love (because a hammer destroys things; just like the man the loved who ‘destroyed’ their relationship). So she keeps the hammer close, to keep him close.

    But of course, Zac won’t be judged because he’s a man. How DARE a woman show she’s comfortable in her own skin. Sighh.

    • steve says:

      If you actually believe that ‘cover her ass’ BS story about the hammer and all that other stuff.. I’m sure you believe Iraq had WMD’s, the Clinton’s are in love and Snooki is a real celebrity too…

  19. Alex says:

    Because he is an actor inestad of a tacky girl forcing it so much, looking so fake while doing whatever it is she is doing? Talentless woman.

  20. Terrance says:

    Well lets see – probably because Efron is acting as a character in a movie – are you serious with this one?

  21. Mary says:

    What in the world? These are two completely different scenarios. Efron is playing a character in a movie, in a trailer which was clearly labeled as red-band. Cyrus is doing everything she’s doing as herself, in the public eye, not in the movies.

    • the truth says:

      vanessa hudgens and selena gomez were both just characters in spring breakers but they got slammed, so what your opinion

      • the truth says:

        are you serious ? they didn’t get slammed ?

      • steve says:

        They didn’t get slammed. There was 1 article- not mass outrage (as the case is with cyrus). Also, both are playing characters. Performing on stage is not playing a character in any sense. To see the movie you had to be 17+ where as cyrus aired her dirty laundry on public television where 5 and 6 yr olds could see it. Also, vanessa hudgens and selena gomez are established actors having both been in movies nominated for awards. And Selena Gomez didn’t do anything remotely raunchy in Spring Breakers so I don’t know why you even mentioned her… Weird..

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