I’m going to admit it. I used to watch Hannah Montana and I liked it.
Miley Cyrus was an adorable, wholesome Disney darling and seemed to have unlimited talent. I remember watching an Oprah interview with Miley years ago in which she talked about making the transition one day to become a young adult. Miley said she was grounded, unlike other teen stars and planned to make a smooth transition.
If it wasn’t bad enough that she has been walking around for the last year with the most bizarre haircut, I watched in horror Sunday night as Miley pranced around the stage at the VMAs in the most bizarre outfit, making sexual and awkward moves that surely made her mother cringe as much as it did an audience full of musical talent.
For the last few days, the Internet has been abuzz with reaction.
Camille Paglia of Time Magazine wrote: Miley, Go Back to School. She blames Miley for artistically bankrupting music culture and asks, How could American pop have gotten this bad?
Paglia describes Miley’s performance this way: Bopping up and down the catwalk in hair-twist devil’s horns and a flesh-colored latex bikini, Cyrus lewdly wagged her tongue, tickled her crotch with a foam finger, shook her buttocks in the air and spanked a 6-ft. 7-in. black burlesque queen.
My favorite reaction came from Lisa Belkin of The Huffington Post who wrote: Dear Miley: Here’s What I Hope You Learned About Adulthood After The VMAs. In her letter to Miley, she says: “I hope you really weren’t trying to create this firestorm, because that would mean you believe too little in your talent and too much in the need for outrage as a marketing tool when you have so much else to sell. And I hope you aren’t crushed. This isn’t the end for you. There’s an upside to the annoying fact that all of us knew you as a child — it also means we think of you as ours, and we are more than willing to forget and move on.”
What scares me about the Miley “situation” is that she’s not all that different from other teens trying to prove themselves with attention seeking behavior. Unfortunately, Miley has a much more public platform to embarrass herself.
The good news in the Miley mess is that teens are talking about it. My kids said it was the big conversation at school on Monday. Most teens were critical of Miley, they felt she had made a fool of herself. That gave me satisfaction. I don’t want my kids to be judgmental. But I do want them to recognize attention seeking behavior for what it is and to understand the message it sends — mostly a message of immaturity.
If I were Miley’s mom, I’d be having the same conversation with her that I’m having with my own kids. Everyone makes embarrassing mistakes. We’ve even had U.S. Presidents that have made them. But teens need to know it’s possible to recover from them. It’s how you own up to your mistakes and move on that shows the world that you really have matured.
You can do it, Miley, after all, it’s it you that sings “Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has those days…”