by hannahBENSON, ’15

Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 12.56.33 PM

Spring Breakers, director Harmony Korine’s first venture into mainstream film, was released nationwide on March 22. The film, which follows four girls after they rob a fast food restaurant to go on spring break, has been surrounded by controversy for more than a year. The fact that infamous indie director Korine (Gummo, Trash Humpers) has decided to go conventional is controversial enough. His casting choices, however, are what have sparked a public outcry. His movie stars include fresh-out-of-Disney girls Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, and Pretty Little Liars favorite Ashley Benson. The debate raging since the first batch of promotional photos surfaced has mainly surrounded these pop stars and their clean careers. A quick glance down the line of individual photos for the film finds all the female stars in bikinis. Awfully small ones. The photos do their job in attracting interest and attention, in addition to sexualizing last season’s role models for middle and elementary school girls.

Much of the focus remains on the fresh-faced Gomez and Hudgens. Is their image too pure? Is Mickey Mouse not far enough in the rearview mirror? It feels like only yesterday Hudgens wowed fifth-grade audiences as Gabriella Montez of High School Musical and Disney was Gomez’s sole focus. The starlets would do well to be mindful of post-Disney apocalyptic examples Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, although these girls seem to be in control of their actions.

“I know that people will judge my involvement in the movie as a whole,” Gomez told The New York Times on March 8. “I’m prepared to accept it.”

It’s possible Spring Breakers could be these stars’ successful step into the adult cinema world. So far, fans and the media alike are torn.

Image by Annapurna Pictures