Miley Cyrus’s “performance” last night at the VMA show is causing quite a stir. It should, but I don’t think the outrage goes far enough.
For those who are fortunate enough not to know that much about Ms. Cyrus, she is the former Disney star whose role as Hannah Montana set her up as the idol of tweens everywhere and made her rich at a very young age.
Now Cyrus clearly wants to shed the Hannah Montana image (and nearly all her clothes apparently) by performing an act usually reserved for establishments frequented by men carrying rolls of one dollar bills.
By transforming herself into the newest face of the world’s oldest profession, she is following in the footsteps of a recent line of former child stars who yearn to compete for a place at the bottom of life’s barrel. Britney Spears led the way with Lindsay Lohan and most recently Amanda Bynes following in a similar professional death spiral.
When I say “recent child stars,” it bears noting that the most famous child star ever, Shirley Temple, actually served as a United States ambassador. If there is a photo of Ms. Temple anywhere doing a lewd dance in her underwear, it isn’t public.
What’s really sad about Miley Cyrus and Company is that each of these young women at various times has been a role model for young girls.
Sadly, people like Miley become role models much the same way that athletes do for young boys. Honestly, I used to wonder whether girls or boys were in worse shape in this regard, but Miley Cyrus’s obscene performance last night pretty much settles that question.
The influence that these young women have on their respective generations is pretty obvious. A few years ago, I travelled with my oldest son on a school trip for fifth and sixth graders to Washington, D.C. We weren’t on the bus five minutes when it became abundantly clear that the girls on the trip were way ahead of the boys when it came to sex. They dressed like college freshman and came across as very aggressive.
After listening to these girls for about a half an hour, another mother of a son on the trip turned to me and whispered, “I’ll kill myself if my son ever comes home with one of these girls.”
I nodded in agreement.
Given the way many eleven and twelve-year-old girls are acting these days, I don’t think any of their parents should be too terribly shocked by their behavior when they reach Miley Cyrus’s age.
In fact, many of these parents are actually complicit in this behavior. Eleven-year-old girls don’t have jobs, so they aren’t out buying themselves make-up and clothes that might be more appropriate for a twenty-year-old (if that).
Just like the violent video games when it comes to young boys, parents of impressionable young girls need to step up and take charge when it comes to their daughters’ influences. Otherwise, they shouldn’t complain if their own daughter ends up on a You Tube video someday doing the bump and grind their hero Miley Cyrus made so famous last night.