The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

Olivia Rodrigo Is So Much More Than an Ex-Disney Kid

Art by: Estefany Vazquez

Olivia Rodrigo is one of the world’s biggest rising stars in the music industry right now. Since making the transition from Disney child star to beloved pop sensation, Rodrigo has scored a massive fanbase and has worked her way into the club of other celebrities who made similar transitions into stardom, such as Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. Now, at age 21, Rodrigo has released two albums, “Sour” and “Guts,” and she has embarked on two concert tours for each. Her discography perfectly chronicles her journey from teenage girlhood to adulthood and has earned a place in her fans’ hearts for her vulnerability and relatability, as the majority of her most loyal fans have grown up with her. 



Currently performing her way across the country on her “Guts” tour, Rodrigo’s growth and development have been on display for the world to see since her Disney days, and it is clear that she has matured in front of everyone’s eyes. Through her song lyrics, her concert production and the way she uses her platform for activism, Rodrigo proves that young celebrities can be much more powerful role models than people give them credit for.


Starting with her maturity as an artist, the differences between “Guts” and “Sour” are obvious in terms of sound and lyricism. “Sour” was written from the perspective of a heartbroken teenager, filled with slower ballads mostly about reeling from a bad breakup. With the transition to “Guts,” Rodrigo turns her teenage angst into female rage. She takes the concepts from “Sour” songs like “brutal” or “jealousy, jealousy,” and makes a whole album of songs like them. The themes of “Guts” are much more adult and nuanced than those of her freshman album, not to say that “Sour” is immature, but as Rodrigo grows up, her music will grow with her, and “Guts” is a perfect amalgamation of that growth. Her sophomore album explores topics of sex, anxiety about entering her twenties, being taken advantage of by an older man and her ever-changing public image. 



Her public image is a huge theme of this album, as her closing track on “Guts” titled “teenage dream” tells how she is anxious about her time in the spotlight expiring as she exits her teenage years. “all-american bitch” and “ballad of a homeschooled girl” also handle both her self-perception as she grows up and how the public perceives her. She expresses her exhaustion and annoyance with people forcing her into the Disney kid box and acts appalled when she wants to sing about sex and partying as a grown woman with every right to do so.



Proving her point perfectly, some parents of her younger concert attendees have expressed their outrage with Rodrigo for her explicit lyrics, costumes and choreography. Again, not letting her break free of her Disney image and expecting her to pander to their nine-year-olds exclusively, even though the majority of her fans are her age or at least teenagers. Part of what makes the “Guts” tour so much more exciting and electric than the “Sour” tour is exactly what parents are whining about. Rodrigo’s fresh choreography, featuring running her hands up and down her body and arching her back on the floor, is much more adult and mature than her previous choreography. This combined with the flashing red and purple lights perfectly matches her age-appropriate new vibe and her, *gasp* sex drive. 


Her costumes, as well, widely differ from her last tour, in terms of flair. This time around, Rodrigo wanted glitter and skin shown and baby tees with sassy catchphrases. She traded her old plaid skirts and singing heartbreak ballads into a mic stand for wild, unedited, sexy female rage energy that features a segment where she shuts off the lights and lets her audience just scream their lungs out. This new concert aesthetic could not be more exuberant or more “Guts,” and if you thought that “bad idea, right?” was about a slumber party, maybe that’s your fault, not hers.



Even if certain uninformed parents disagree, Olivia Rodrigo is a great role model for girls of all ages who look up to her. Before kicking off the first show of the “Guts” tour, Rodrigo took to TikTok to announce Fund 4 Good, a global initiative that will help support people seeking reproductive health freedom. Her initiative also supports community-based non-profits in the fight against issues involving girls’ education and gender-based violence. For the entire North American leg of Rodrigo’s tour, she is partnering with the National Network of Abortion Funds, an organization that focuses on supporting those who have faced healthcare barriers since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022. This organization will also have a table outside all of Rodrigo’s North American shows, which will educate concertgoers on reproductive rights and provide assistance to those in need. 


A part of this collaboration included providing her fans with free contraceptives like Plan B pills and condoms, however, her team decided to remove those items from the NNAF tables and limit them to stickers and informational pamphlets. This retraction came from the outrage of, again, uneducated parents and conservatives on X and other social media sites who accused Rodrigo of being “promiscuous” and corrupting children. 


This type of misinformation is exactly why she developed Fund 4 Good in the first place, to properly educate and inform her fans on proper ways to have sex and use birth control methods because the country they live in does not want them to have that information. Acknowledging the existence of and providing teenagers with birth control is not promiscuous or wicked, it is actually the most responsible thing we as a society can do to prevent such issues as unwanted teen pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, especially in reality where the right to an abortion is no longer a given.



Olivia Rodrigo has already accomplished so much as a performer, artist and activist, and deserves all the praise and acclaim she has been given in the short time since “Sour” came out. As fans, sometimes asking a celebrity to speak out on important issues feels like an uphill battle, so it is a breath of fresh air to watch someone so popular and high-profile among young women utilize her platform and money to try and make a difference for the women and uterus owning people of all gender identities that idolize her. The authenticity and confidence Gen Z celebrities have when speaking their minds about topics that need to be spoken about is so refreshing in such a politically divided climate. Regardless of some of the unjustified backlash, Rodrigo is doing so much good for her community, so she needs to stop being treated like a kid who doesn’t understand her influence.


Support Student Media

Hi! I’m Annie Gleydura, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.

More to Discover
Donate to a magazine
Our Goal