I still recall watching Miley Cyrus on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” a little over a month ago. My 8-year-old niece heard the name of her former idol announced and shrunk back in horror. Seeing the fearful look on her face, I calmingly reassured her.
“It’s okay, Olivia, it is about 5 degrees in New York tonight. If Miley doesn’t want to become a ‘Miley-sicle,’ it would be in her best interest to keep her clothes on.”
I love the fact that my dear niece is a prude, as most pre-pubescent girls should be, and the fact that she is offended by Miley’s actions makes perfect sense in her world. However, I don’t believe it makes much sense in ours.
Destiny Hope Cyrus, more commonly known as Miley, was born on November 23, 1992 and is now 21 years old. She is old enough to drink, and yet most people still look at her as a child, and by extension, some type of role-model for other children. After all, let’s be real – it wasn’t 16-year-olds watching Cyrus’ character stumble through adolescence and pop stardom on the Disney Channel hit, Hannah Montana – it was third graders, like Olivia and her pals, that took all of Miley Stewart‘s actions to heart. Even Disney itself has recognized the difference in target age by revitalizing their ‘ABC Family’ channel with shows like Pretty Little Liars for the 14-18-year-old crowd.
The fact is, most shows about teenagers actually feature adult actors, and, in turn, those actors respect their young audience by staying out of trouble (typically). However, when an adult performer WAS a child star, and his or her show was cancelled long ago, he or she should have the right to do whatever it is that he or she wants, and should not have the obligation of answering to anyone.
Now back to Miley. Honestly, what has she done that Lady Gaga and Katy Perry haven’t already tried (or some variation of it)? Take her performance at the VMAs (MTV’s Video Music Awards), since it seems to be the go-to example. Lady Gaga opened the show by promoting, uh, I mean… singing her just-released single “Applause”. By the end of her performance, she was wearing nothing but a seashell bikini (let’s just say we could tell where and how she waxed) and close to no one even mentioned it. Apparently, Gaga’s antics were eclipsed by Miley, at the same show, when she sported a flesh-colored bikini, a foam finger and an affinity for Robin Thicke’s package. The only difference in the audacity between the two women’s performances is the fact that the latter was once a card-carrying member of the ‘House of Mouse’!
Not to mention, what about Mr. Thicke himself? He is happily married to a wonderful woman, and next to no one objected to his actions that night. But why should they? After all, these were the Video Music Awards, and most of the night’s performances were based on the videos for the songs being sung.
Let me explain. Most Thicke fans know that the video for “Blurred Lines” featured Thicke, Pharrell and rapper T.I. surrounded by stark-naked women (none of which were their wives or girlfriends) against a backdrop inscribed with the words “Robin Thicke has a big ****” (I’m not going to type this, suffice it to say it rhymes).
Miley was collaborating with Thicke, which was a smart move since he was a very prominent artist that summer, and she was playing the role of the naked girl from the video. It was not even her concept to begin with. Unfortunately, most of the outraged, bible-thumping baby-boomers would not know that before lambasting her!
Miley should not be compared to Amanda Bynes, or anyone else legitimately suffering from mental illness, for making an informed business decision. Miley apparently is a smart person, and realizes that 8-year-olds do not buy albums or designate radio or club play. If she wants to continue procuring an income in a business that is all about sex and glamor, then I think she made a smart, if not bold, move. People are talking about her, and she knows that at the end of the day, it is all free marketing. I know I personally would not have paid any attention to “We Can’t Stop” or “Wrecking Ball” without all the controversy that surrounded the singles’ releases.
All artists need to grow and change, but apparently these standards do not apply to Miley. It’s sad. It is NOT Miley’s job to pretend to be someone that she isn’t, perpetually, because lazy or disinterested parents cannot get off their butts and change the channel, or turn the radio off.
And, for those of you who believe that the current incarnation of Miley is what she “isn’t,” then you clearly had no memory of what it was like to be her age. I would bet my house that ‘Squeaky!Clean!Miley’ was the fake, or the poser, as the kids say. Let’s make no mistake that Disney is the last company that adheres to the old ‘studio system,’ and they have been whitewashing her personality for years now. This Miley is the real thing, and she is here to stay. Why not? She has every right to!