Cher was born Cherilyn Sarkisian in El Centro, California, on May 20, 1946. Her father, John Sarkisian, was an Armenian-American truck driver with drug and gambling problems; her mother, Georgia Holt (born Jackie Jean Crouch), was an occasional model and bit-part Actress who claimed Irish, English, German, and Cherokee ancestry. Cher's father was rarely home when she was an infant, and her parents divorced when Cher was ten months old. Her mother later married actor John Southall, by whom she had another daughter, Georganne, Cher's half-sister.
Throughout her solo career, Cher has sold 100 million records worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She is the only Artist to date to have a number-one single on a Billboard chart in each decade from the 1960s to the 2010s.
In 1961, Holt married bank manager Gilbert LaPiere, who adopted Cher (under the name Cheryl LaPiere) and Georganne, and enrolled them at Montclair College Preparatory School, a private school in Encino, whose students were mostly from affluent families. The school's upper-class environment presented a challenge for Cher; biographer Connie Berman wrote, "[she] stood out from the others in both her striking appearance and outgoing personality." A former classmate commented, "I'll never forget seeing Cher for the first time. She was so special ... She was like a movie star, right then and there ... She said she was going to be a movie star and we knew she would." Despite not being an excellent student, Cher was intelligent and creative, according to Berman. She earned high grades, excelling in French and English classes. As an adult, she discovered that she had dyslexia. Cher achieved notoriety for her unconventional behavior: she performed songs for students during the lunch hours and surprised peers when she wore a midriff-baring top. She later recalled, "I was never really in school. I was always thinking about when I was grown up and famous."
At age 16, Cher dropped out of school, left her mother's house, and moved to Los Angeles with a friend. She took acting classes and worked to support herself, dancing in small clubs along Hollywood's Sunset Strip and introducing herself to performers, managers, and agents. According to Berman, "[Cher] did not hesitate to approach anyone she thought could help her get a break, make a new contact, or get an audition." Cher met performer Sonny Bono in November 1962 when he was working for record Producer Phil Spector. Cher's friend moved out, and Cher accepted Sonny's offer to be his housekeeper. Sonny introduced Cher to Spector, who used her as a backup singer on many recordings, including the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" and the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'". Spector produced her first single, the commercially unsuccessful "Ringo, I Love You", which Cher recorded under the name Bonnie Jo Mason.
Cher signed with Liberty Records' Imperial imprint in the end of 1964, and Sonny became her Producer. The single "Dream Baby", released under the name "Cherilyn", received airplay in Los Angeles. Encouraged by Imperial, Cher worked with Sonny on her second solo single on the label, a cover version of Bob Dylan's "All I Really Want to Do", which peaked at number 15 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. Meanwhile, the Byrds had released their own version of the same song. When competition on the singles charts started between Cher and the Byrds, the group's record label began to promote the B-side of the Byrds' single. Roger McGuinn of the Byrds commented, "We loved the Cher version ... We didn't want to hassle. So we just turned our record over." Cher's debut album, All I Really Want to Do (1965), reached number 16 on the Billboard 200; it was later described by AllMusic's Tim Sendra as "one of the stronger folk-pop records of the era".
She has held U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles over the longest period of time in history: 33 years, seven months and three weeks between "I Got You Babe", which topped the chart for the first time on August 14, 1965, and "Believe", whose last week at number one was April 3, 1999. With "Believe", she became the oldest female Artist to have a U.S. number-one song in the rock era, at the age of 52. Billboard ranked her at number 43 on their "Greatest Hot 100 Artists of All Time" list. In 2014, the magazine listed her as the 23rd highest-grossing touring act since 1990, with total earned revenue of $351.6 million and 4.5 million attendance at her shows.
Cher's following releases kept her solo career fully competitive with her work with Sonny. The Sonny Side of Chér (1966) features "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)", which reached number two in America and became her first million-seller solo single. Chér, also released in 1966, contains the Burt Bacharach and Hal David composition "Alfie", which was added to the credits of the American version of the 1966 film of the same name and became the first stateside version of the popular song. With Love, Chér (1967) includes songs described by biographer Mark Bego as "little soap-opera stories set to rock music" such as the U.S. top-ten single "You Better Sit Down Kids".
Cher's next album, Backstage (1968), in which she runs in diverse musical directions, including Brazilian jazz and anti-war protest settings, was not a commercial success. In 1969, she was dropped from Imperial Records. Sonny and Cher had been dropped from Atco; however, the label wanted to sign Cher for a solo album. 3614 Jackson Highway (1969) was recorded without the guidance of Sonny and incorporates experiments in soul music; AllMusic's Mark Deming proclaimed it "the finest album of her career". Displeased with the 3614 Jackson Highway album, Sonny prevented Cher from releasing more recordings for Atco.
Meanwhile, Sonny dated others, and by the end of the 1960s their relationship had begun to unravel. According to People magazine, "[Sonny] tried desperately to win her back, telling her he wanted to marry and start a family." They officially married after she gave birth on March 4, 1969 to Chastity Bono (who later became Chaz Bono).
Watched by more than 30 million viewers weekly during its three-year run, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour was praised for the comedic timing, and deadpan Cher mocked Sonny about his looks and short stature. According to Berman, they "exuded an aura of warmth, playfulness, and caring that only enhanced their appeal. Viewers were further enchanted when a young Chastity also appeared on the show. They seemed like a perfect family." Cher honed her acting skills in Sketch comedy roles such as the brash housewife Laverne, the sardonic waitress Rosa, and historical vamps, including Cleopatra and Miss Sadie Thompson. The Bob Mackie designed clothing Cher wore was part of the show's attraction, and her style influenced the fashion trends of the 1970s.
Between 1971 and 1973, Sonny and Cher's recording career was revived with four albums released under Kapp Records and MCA Records: Sonny & Cher Live (1971), All I Ever Need Is You (1972), Mama Was a Rock and Roll Singer, Papa Used to Write All Her Songs (1973), and Live in Las Vegas Vol. 2 (1973). Cher later commented on this period: "I could do a whole album ... in three days ... We were on the road ... and we were doing the Sonny & Cher Show".
Cher has six tattoos. The Baltimore Sun called her the "Ms. Original Rose Tattoo". She got her first tattoo in 1972. According to Sonny Bono, "Calling her butterfly tattoos nothing was like ignoring a sandstorm in the Mojave. That was exactly the effect Cher wanted to create. She liked to do things for the shock they created. She still does. She'll create some controversy and then tell her critics to stick it." In the late 1990s, she began having laser treatments to remove her tattoos. The process was still underway in the 2000s. She commented, "When I got tattooed, only bad girls did it: me and Janis Joplin and biker chicks. Now it doesn't mean anything. No one's surprised." In 1992, Madame Tussauds wax museum honored Cher as one of the five "most beautiful women of history" by creating a life-size statue. She was ranked 26th on VH1's list of the "100 Sexiest Artists" published in 2002.
In 1974, Cher won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy for The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. The same year, Sonny premiered a solo show on ABC, The Sonny Comedy Revue, which carried the creative team behind the Sonny and Cher show. It was canceled after 13 weeks.
On June 30, 1975, four days after finalizing her divorce from Sonny, Cher married rock musician Gregg Allman, co-founder of The Allman Brothers Band. She filed for divorce nine days later because of his heroin and liquor problems, but they reconciled within a month. They had one son, Elijah Blue, on July 10, 1976. Sonny and Cher's TV reunion, The Sonny and Cher Show, debuted on CBS in February 1976—the first show ever to star a divorced couple. Although the show was a ratings success on its premiere, Cher and Sonny's insulting onscreen banter about their divorce, her reportedly extravagant lifestyle, and her troubled relationship with Allman caused a public backlash that eventually contributed to the show's cancellation in August 1977.
Cher's next albums, I'd Rather Believe in You (1976) and Cherished (1977), the latter a return to her pop style at Warner's producers' insistence, were commercially unsuccessful. In 1977, under the rubric "Allman and Woman", she recorded alongside Allman the duet album Two the Hard Way. Their relationship ended following the release of the album, and their divorce was finalized in 1979. Beginning in 1978, she had a two-year live-in relationship with Kiss member Gene Simmons. That year, she legally changed her name from Cherilyn Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman to Cher, to eliminate the use of four Surnames. She returned to prime time television with the specials Cher... Special (1978) and Cher ... and Other Fantasies (1979).
Encouraged by the popularity of Take Me Home, Cher planned to return to rock music in her next album, Prisoner (1979). The album's cover features Cher draped in chains as a "prisoner of the press", which caused controversy among feminist groups for her perceived portrayal of a sex slave. She included rock songs, which made the disco release seem unfocused and led to its commercial failure. Prisoner produced the single "Hell on Wheels", featured on the Soundtrack of the film Roller Boogie. The song exploits the late 1970s roller-skating fad and contributed to its popularity.
Cher's "ability to forge an immensely successful and lengthy career as a woman in a male-dominated entertainment world" has drawn attention from feminist critics. According to author Diane Negra, Cher was presented in the beginning of her career as a product of male creativity; Cher remembers, "It was a time when girl Singers were patted on the head for being good and told not to think". However, her image eventually changed due to her "refusal of dependence on a man and the determination not only to forge a career (as an actor) on her own terms but to refuse the conventional role assigned to women over forty years old in an industry that fetishises youth", wrote author Yvonne Tasker. She was featured in the 16th-anniversary edition of Ms. magazine as an "authentic feminist hero" and a 1980s role model for women: "Cher, the straightforward, tattooed, dyslexic single mother, the first Oscar winner to have entered into matrimony with a known heroin addict and to have admitted to being a fashion victim by choice, has finally landed in an era that's not afraid to applaud real women."
With decreasing album sales and a lack of commercially successful singles, Cher decided to further develop her acting career. While she had previously aspired to venture into film, she had only the critically and commercially unsuccessful movies Good Times and Chastity to her credit, and the Hollywood establishment did not take her seriously as an Actress. She moved to New York in 1982 to take acting lessons with Lee Strasberg, founder of the Actors Studio, but never enrolled after her plans changed. She auditioned for and was signed by Director Robert Altman for the Broadway stage production Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, playing a member of a James Dean fan club holding a 20-year reunion. That year, Altman cast her again in the film adaptation of the same title. Cher credits Altman for launching her acting career: "Without Bob [Robert Altman] I would have never had a film career. Everyone told him not to cast me ... I am convinced that Bob was the only one who was brave enough to do it."
Director Mike Nichols, who had seen Cher onstage in Jimmy Dean, offered her the part of Dolly Pelliker, a plant co-worker and Meryl Streep's lesbian roommate in the film Silkwood. When it premiered in 1983, audiences questioned Cher's ability as an Actress. She recalls attending a film preview during which the audience laughed when they saw her name in the credits. For her performance, Cher won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.
In 1985, Cher formed the film production company Isis. Her next film, Mask (1985), reached number two at the box office and was Cher's first critical and commercial success as a leading Actress. For her role as a drug addict biker with a teenage son who has a severe physical deformity, she won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress. During the making of the film, however, she clashed with Director Peter Bogdanovich. She attended the 58th Academy Awards in a tarantula-like costume "to show her scorn for the 'system'", according to authors James Parish and Michael Pitts. The incident garnered her much publicity.
In 1987, Cher signed with Geffen Records and revived her musical career with what music critics Johnny Danza and Dean Ferguson describe as "her most impressive string of hits to date", establishing her as a "serious rock and roller ... a crown that she'd worked long and hard to capture". Michael Bolton, Jon Bon Jovi, Desmond Child, and Richie Sambora produced her first Geffen album, Cher, which was certified platinum by the RIAA. It features the rock ballad "I Found Someone", her first U.S. top-ten single in more than eight years.
Stephanie Brush from The New York Times wrote, following the telecast of Cher's Oscar win in 1988, that she "performs the function for women moviegoers that Jack Nicholson has always fulfilled for men. Free of the burden of ever having been America's sweetheart, she is the one who represents us [women] in our revenge fantasies, telling all the fatheads ... exactly where they can go. You need to be more than beautiful to get away with this. You need to have been Cher for 40 years."
Cher's 19th studio album Heart of Stone (1989) was certified triple platinum by the RIAA. The music video for its second single, "If I Could Turn Back Time", caused controversy due to Cher's performance on a Navy warship, straddling a cannon, and wearing a leather thong that revealed her tattooed buttocks. The song topped the Australian charts for seven weeks, reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and became one of Cher's most successful singles. Other songs from Heart of Stone to reach the U.S. top ten were "After All", a duet with Peter Cetera, and "Just Like Jesse James". At the 1989 People's Choice Awards, Cher won the Favorite All-Around Female Star Award. She embarked on the Heart of Stone Tour in 1990. Most critics liked the tour's nostalgic nature and admired Cher's showmanship. Its parent television special Cher at the Mirage (1991) was filmed during a concert in Las Vegas.
Beginning in 1990, Cher served as a donor and as the National Chairperson and Honorary Spokesperson for the Children's Craniofacial Association, whose mission is to "empower and give hope to facially disfigured children and their families". The annual Cher's Family Retreat is held each June to provide craniofacial patients, their siblings and parents an opportunity to interact with others who have endured similar experiences. She supports and promotes Get A-Head Charitable Trust, which aims to improve the quality of life for people with head and neck diseases.
Cher's final studio album for Geffen Records, Love Hurts (1991), stayed at number one in the UK for six weeks and produced the UK top-ten single "Love and Understanding". The album was certified gold by the RIAA. In later years, Cher commented that her Geffen label "hit years" had been especially significant to her, "because I was getting to do songs that I really loved ... songs that really represented me, and they were popular!" She released the exercise book Forever Fit in 1991, followed by the 1992 fitness videos CherFitness: A New Attitude and CherFitness: Body Confidence. She embarked on the Love Hurts Tour during 1992. That year, the UK-only compilation album Greatest Hits: 1965–1992 peaked at number one in the country for seven weeks. It features three new songs: "Oh No Not My Baby", "Whenever You're Near", and "Many Rivers to Cross".
Cher's public image is also reflected in her music videos and live performances, in which she "repeatedly comments on her own construction, on her search for perfection and on the performance of the female body", wrote Tasker. Unlike other music video and stage acts of that time who often featured female backers who would mimic the singer's performance, Cher uses a male Dancer dressed as her in the 1992 concert video Cher at the Mirage; Author Diane Negra commented, "In authorizing her own quotation, Cher acknowledges herself as fictionalized production, and proffers to her audience a pleasurable plurality." James Sullivan of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that "Cher is well aware that her chameleonic glitz set the stage for the current era of stadium-size razzle-dazzle. She's comfortable enough to see such imitation as flattery, not theft."
Cher has been a vocal supporter of American Soldiers and returning veterans. She has contributed resources to Operation Helmet, an organization that provides free helmet upgrade kits to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. She has contributed to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which serves military personnel who have been disabled in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those severely injured in other operations. In 1993, she participated in a humanitarian effort in Armenia, taking food and medical supplies to the war-torn region.
Cher is a donor, fundraiser, and international spokesperson for Keep a Child Alive, an organization that seeks to accelerate action to combat the AIDS pandemic, including the provision of antiretroviral Medicine to children and their families with HIV/AIDS. In 1996, she hosted the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) Benefit alongside Elizabeth Taylor at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2015, she received the amfAR Award of Inspiration for "her willingness and ability to use her fame for the greater good" and for being "one of the great champions in the fight against AIDS".
The 1998 song "Believe" has an electronic vocal effect proposed by Cher, and was the first commercial recording to feature Auto-Tune—an audio processor originally intended to disguise or correct off-key inaccuracies in vocal music recordings—as a deliberate creative effect. After the success of the song, the technique became known as the "Cher effect" and has since been widely used in popular music. Cher continued to use Auto-Tune on the albums Living Proof (2001) and Closer to the Truth (2013).
In May 1999, after the Council of Fashion Designers of America recognized Cher with an award for her influence in fashion, Robin Givhan of the Los Angeles Times called her a "fashion visionary" for "striking just the right note of contemporary wretched excess". Givhan referenced Tom Ford, Anna Sui and Dolce & Gabbana as "[i]nfluential designers [who] have evoked her name as a source of inspiration and guidance." She concluded that "Cher's Native American showgirl sexpot persona now seems to epitomize the fashion industry's rush to celebrate ethnicity, adornment and sex appeal." Vogue proclaimed Cher "[their] favorite fashion trendsetter" and wrote that "[she] set the grounds for pop stars and celebrities today", describing her as "[e]ternally relevant [and] the ruler of outré reinvention". Alexander Fury of The Independent lauded Cher as "the ultimate fashion icon" and traced her influence among female celebrities such as Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Kim Kardashian, stating that "[t]hey all graduated from the Cher school of never sharing the stage, with anyone, or anything ... They're trying to share the spotlight, to have Cher's success."
During the 2000 United States presidential election, ABC News wrote that she was determined to do "whatever possible to keep him [Bush] out of office". She told the site, "If you're black in this country, if you're a woman in this country, if you are any minority in this country at all, what could possibly possess you to vote Republican? ... You won't have one fucking right left." She added, "I don't like Bush. I don't trust him. I don't like his record. He's stupid. He's lazy."
Closer to the Truth, Cher's 25th studio album and the first since 2001's Living Proof, entered the Billboard 200 at number three in October 2013, her highest position on that chart to date. Michael Andor Brodeur from The Boston Globe commented that "Cher's 'Goddess of Pop' sash remains in little danger of undue snatching; at 67, she sounds more convincing than J-Lo or Madonna reporting from 'the club'". Cher premiered the lead single "Woman's World" on the season four finale of the talent show The Voice, her first live TV performance in over a decade. She later joined the show's season five as judge Blake Shelton's team adviser.
Author Yvonne Tasker, in her book Working Girls: Gender and Sexuality in Popular Cinema (2002), notes that Cher's film roles often mirrors her public image as a rebellious, sexually autonomous, and self-made woman. In her films, she recurrently serves as a social intermediary to disenfranchised male characters, such as Eric Stoltz's Craniodiaphyseal dysplasia victim in Mask (1985), Liam Neeson's mute homeless veteran in Suspect (1987), and Nicolas Cage's socially isolated baker with a wooden hand in Moonstruck (1987). Film critic Kathleen Rowe wrote of Moonstruck that the depiction of Cher's character as "a 'woman on top' [is] enhanced by the unruly star persona Cher brings to the part'. Jeff Yarbrough of The Advocate wrote that Cher was "one of the first superstars to 'play gay' with compassion and without a hint of stereotyping", as she portrays a lesbian in the 1983 film Silkwood.
In 2003, Cher appeared at number 41 on VH1's list of "The 200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons", which recognizes "the folks that have significantly inspired and impacted American society". She was ranked 31st on VH1's list of "The 100 Greatest Women in Music", based on the period 1992–2012. Esquire magazine placed her at number 44 on their list of "The 75 Greatest Women of All Time". In a 2001 poll, Biography magazine ranked her as their third favorite leading Actress of all time, behind Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn. She was featured on the "100 Greatest Movie Stars of our Time" list compiled by People. She is one of the few artists to win three of the four major American entertainment awards (EGOT—Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), and one of five actor-singers to have had a U.S. number-one single and won an acting Academy Award.
On Memorial Day weekend in 2006, Cher called into C-SPAN's Washington Journal endorsing Operation Helmet, a group that provides helmets to help Soldiers avoid head injuries while in the war zone. On June 14, 2006, she made a guest appearance on C-SPAN with Dr. Bob Meaders, the founder of Operation Helmet. That year, in an interview with Stars and Stripes, she explained her "against the war in Iraq but for the troops" position: "I don't have to be for this war to support the troops because these men and women do what they think is right. They do what they're told to do. They do it with a really good heart. They do the best they can. They don't ask for anything."
Author Craig Crawford, in his book The Politics of Life: 25 Rules for Survival in a Brutal and Manipulative World (2007), describes Cher as "a model of flexible career management", and relates her career successes to a constant reshaping of her image according to the evolving trends of popular culture. He further explains that she billed "each dramatic turnaround of style as another Example of rebellion—an image that allowed her to make calculated changes while appearing to be consistent." Author Grant McCracken stated, "The term 'reinvention' is now often used to talk about the careers of American celebrities. But in Cher's case, it is particularly apt [because she] is inclined to lock on to each new fashion wave [and] is swept violently down the diffusion stream and out of fashion. Only substantial re-creation permits her to return to stardom." Her "integrity" and "perseverance" are highlighted in the Reaching Your Goals book series of illustrated inspirational stories for children, in which her life is detailed emphasizing the importance of self-actualization: "For years, Cher worked hard to become a successful singer. Then she worked hard to become an Actress. Even when she needed money, she turned down movie roles that weren't right for her. Her goal has always been to be a good Actress, not just a rich and famous one."
Cher supported Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign. After Obama won the Democratic nomination, she supported his candidacy on radio and TV programs. However, in a 2010 interview with Vanity Fair, she commented that she "still thinks Hillary would have done a better job", although she "accepts the fact that Barack Obama inherited insurmountable problems". During the 2012 United States presidential election, Cher and Comedian Kathy Griffin released a public Service announcement titled "Don't Let Mitt Turn Back Time on Women's Rights". In the PSA, the pair criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for his support of Richard Mourdock, the U.S. Senate candidate who suggested that pregnancies resulting from rape were "part of God's plan".
Cher's older child, Chaz Bono (born Chastity Bono), first came out as a lesbian at age 17, which reportedly caused Cher to feel "guilt, fear and pain". However, she soon came to accept Chaz's sexual orientation, and came to the conclusion that LGBT people "didn't have the same rights as everyone else, [and she] thought that was unfair". She was the keynote speaker for the 1997 national Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) convention, and has since become one of the LGBT community's most vocal advocates. In May 1998, she received the GLAAD Vanguard Award for having "made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for lesbians and gay men". On June 11, 2009, Chaz came out as a transgender man, and his transition from female to male was legally finalized on May 6, 2010.
Cher returned to film in the 2010 musical Burlesque, playing a nightclub impresario whom a young Hollywood hopeful is looking to impress. One of the two songs she recorded for the film's Soundtrack, the power ballad "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me", reached number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart in January 2011, making Cher the only Artist to date to have a number-one single on a Billboard chart in each decade from the 1960s to the 2010s. In November 2010, she received the honor of placing her handprints and footprints in cement in the courtyard in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The next year, she lent her voice to Janet the Lioness in the comedy Zookeeper. Dear Mom, Love Cher, a documentary she produced about her mother Georgia Holt, aired on Lifetime in May 2013.
Cher first mentioned plans for a Broadway musical based on her life and music in June 2012. At that time, she revealed that the show would feature three actresses playing herself during different stages of her life. By 2015, she was still working on the project, enlisting Writer Rick Elice to develop the script. In late 2016, it was announced Jason Moore had signed on to direct, while Flody Suarez and Jeffrey Seller would serve as producers. Billed as The Cher Show, a staged reading was workshopped in New York City from January 2–14, 2017.
In September 2013, Cher declined an invitation to perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Russia due to the country's controversial anti-gay legislation that overshadowed preparations for the event. In June 2015, after Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President, she made a series of critical comments on Twitter, stating that "Donald Trump's punishment is being Donald Trump".
Cher has attracted media attention for her physical appearance—particularly her youthful looks and her tattoos. Journalists have often called her the "poster girl" of plastic surgery. Author Grant McCracken, in his book Transformations: Identity Construction in Contemporary Culture (2008), draws a parallel between Cher's plastic surgeries and the transformations in her career: "Her plastic surgery is not merely cosmetic. It is hyperbolic, extreme, over the top ... Cher has engaged in a transformational Technology that is dramatic and irreversible." Caroline Ramazanoglu, author of Up Against Foucault: Explorations of Some Tensions Between Foucault and Feminism (1993), wrote that "Cher's operations have gradually replaced a strong, decidedly 'ethnic' look with a more symmetrical, delicate, 'conventional' ... and ever-youthful version of female beauty ... Her normalised image ... now acts as a standard against which other women will measure, judge, discipline and 'correct' themselves."
Classic Cher, a series of shows in cooperation with AEG Live, will see her perform 30 live concerts in the newly built Park Theater at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino and The Theater at MGM National Harbor. Opening night was on February 8, 2017. At the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, Cher performed "Believe" and "If I Could Turn Back Time", her first awards show performance in more than 15 years, and was presented with the Billboard Icon Award by Gwen Stefani, who called her "a role model for showing us how to be strong and true to ourselves [and] the definition of the word Icon."