Posts Tagged ‘role models’

Miley Cyrus is all over the news this week, poor girl. I’m not a celebrity follower, but I teach young girls; some of them are fans of hers. That’s probably why watching her implode on a public stage has really been on my mind lately.

I was never much of a Miley Cyrus fan. It wasn’t that I hated her show, Hannah Montana, but I have three boys and we were knee-deep in Star Wars and the Wiggles when it was popular. Hannah Montana was barely on our radar. My niece watched the show and loved it, but other than buying her a blonde wig for Christmas, I really didn’t follow it. I knew who Miley’s dad was. Billy Ray Cyrus was hugely popular when I was in high school. Our family went to Tennessee the summer that “Achy Breaky Heart” was at its peak. Every pick-up truck with a dog in the back was blaring it down the crowded streets of Pigeon Forge. Not my style, but you would have had to have been dead to not know who he was. When his daughter burst in on the Disney scene, she was all over the news. The media all talked about what a well-adjusted girl she was and how great of a role model she was to the tween set and younger who watched her show. Then something happened.

I didn’t watch the VMAs the other night. I haven’t ever. MTV turns me off with its shock-culture and low-grade shows that do nothing except show younger people how to behave badly. I don’t allow the boys to watch it, either. I’m under no illusions that they could probably see it somewhere else, but it’s not a part of our family. Garbage in, garbage out, right? Anyway, I didn’t even know they had been on until the next morning when Facebook erupted with Miley Cyrus postings. I watched it online then and no matter how much I try, I won’t be able to un-see that.

Now, even before the fiasco of the other night, Miley had been in the news for some other Lindsay Lohan-esque behavior: proudly twerking on camera (basically shaking one’s hindquarters/cellulite in the faces of others. Ew.), radically changing her look, and praising the drug “Molly”, a type of ecstasy that is popular in concert venues. Even I, someone who doesn’t follow tabloids, was a bit shocked by how quickly she was trying to shed her good-girl image. It’s not as if others haven’t struggled with that transition before. Going from a teen star to hopefully being taken seriously has derailed a lot of Hollywood’s babies on a path of self-destruction. All of the kids from Diff’rent Strokes, some of the Brady Bunch crew, Britney Spears, and, of course, the aforementioned Lindsay Lohan, have made some bad choices about how to be seen as valid once they’ve turned 18. Others have done well, but it seems as if the majority have a tendency to self-destruct.

Now, I don’t know any of these people personally. Probably no one reading this blog does, but this I do know. I don’t have daughters, but I have beautiful, wonderful nieces and cousins. The oldest of them is going to be eleven pretty soon and heading for that age where choices about being a girl become more difficult. Boys have difficult choices, too, but since I was a teenage girl many years ago, I know a bit more about that. Girls walk a tricky line between wanting to be admired by boys (or other girls) and being independent. It makes it really difficult when celebrity women have so little respect for themselves that they are masturbating with foam fingers in front of both a live and a television audience. That’s NOT what our young, impressionable girls need to be seeing! Hell, I don’t want to see it! That kind of thing goes back to Madonna, but it doesn’t make it right.

I’ve seen the rebuttal that her performance was “art”. Bull. One hundred percent bull. Art is not cheap. Art does not degrade oneself or others. On the Today Show, I watched Robin Thicke’s wife call his uncensored video for his song “Blurred Lines” “art”. I’m not a prude, but having beautiful naked women dancing around and hang all over you while you sing about them “wanting it” not only disgusts me, it creeps me out. Isn’t that what a lot of rapists and abusers say? “She wanted it”?  It’s not art; it’s the same thing that it’s always been: the old boys’ club that exploits women.

If I ever saw one of my beautiful nieces or students doing what Miley Cyrus did the other night, my heart would break, not that I’m worried about that happening. Their parents would kill them if it did and they’re not being raised like that anyway. But it does make me wonder. What part of her upbringing makes that behavior okay? Why did dancing like that ever seem like a good idea? Why does she feel the need to leave nothing to the imagination? It makes me very sad for her. It really does. I feel like she was failed by people in her life and, as a result, these are the kinds of choices that she makes. I see those same choices in some of the girls at the high school and even the middle school. They’re allowed to leave the house wearing booty shorts and sheer tops with lacy bras showing through. These are 12- and 13-year-old girls. Why don’t their parents say, “NO!”? That’s something I don’t understand. Parents are afraid to tell their children, especially teenage children, no and it shows. Not all of them turn out to  be hot messes, but why risk that? I want my kids to be aware that their actions have consequences, that how they portray themselves creates their reputation, boys or girls. I want my boys to not take women for granted, to respect them and to be respected in turn. It’s kind of hard to respect someone who calls herself an adult yet runs around like she’s high with giant teddy bears, stroking a married man between his legs with a foam finger. You might be able to see the same thing in the clubs down on Michigan Avenue.

I really don’t even know where I was going with this, just that I was really  upset about seeing that whole thing. I wish the best for young Miley and for the girls who are now confused about what happened to her. I pray for the parents who have to find some way to explain this to their kids, including me, and that Miley somehow understands that what she’s done didn’t help her career any. The End.

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