By Liz Everly
So I don’t know half the cultural references my fellow Lady Smut bloggers write about. When you have kids, your cultural references shift. I usually don’t have time to watch a whole movie and don’t watch reality TV and until recently one of the only stations we watched on a regular basis was the Disney Channel. My girls are older now and I find them huddled around the computer watching Youtube shows more than the TV—when we are at home, which is not often these days.
My girls loved the show Hannah Montana, which starred Miley Cyrus and her dad, Billy Ray. I liked the show, even though the premise was kind of silly, wherein a girl lives a double life. Nobody knows who she is, except her best friend and family. She is a superstar “Hannah Montana” by night and a school girl who hangs out at the beach with her friends during the day. During the show, there was a lot of exploration about what it means to be famous—and what it doesn’t mean. I liked it because there was music involved and Miley portrayed a good kid. And Billy Ray played a very good father. Here’s the opening scene from the Hannah Montana movie:
Unfortunately, Miley has become quite the teen star cliche. We see this coming from a distance—yet the people around her seem helpless about helping her. It happens so much to these teen stars that I think we are becoming jaded about it, when it’s still deeply disturbing. I think of Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, and Justin Bieber. Jail. Drugs. Bad relationships and bringing children into the mix. I also think of Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse. The whole fame at young age thing often leads to tragedy. With Miley, there have been drug arrests, films of her doing lap dances, and so on. Now is the time for someone in her family or in her circle of friends to step up.
Of course, Miley Cyrus has gone through several stages in her career already—at the ripe old age of 20. The last and newest stage of it is troubling to me—my daughter and I watched the latest video together and she said “That’s so disappointing.” I gotta say I loved hearing that from my 12-year-old’s mouth.
Here it is:
I think one of the many things we are about here at Lady Smut is owning your own sexuality. And I for one love to see artists stretch and try new things—and even get sexy. But this video and and song is troubling on many levels. (Yet it’s up for Billboard award, so what do I know?) I’m not sure I see it as expression as much as I do pandering. What do you think?
I don’t find it sexy at all–in fact, I think it’s sad. And then there is this, reported on The Root, in an interview about her video–Miley told this to her producers:
“I want urban. I just want something that feels black.”
This from the writer of the Root piece: “OK, listen. I’m generally all for people doing what they want to do and being who they want to be, but this whole thing just pokes me directly in my eyeball. I have a bit of a problem with people taking from and profiting off of a culture while generally not caring about or giving back to it. Things that are frowned upon and labeled “ghetto” and “ratchet” when black people do them — twerking, wearing gold teeth, getting multicolored weave — are suddenly hip and trendy when adopted by white folk.”
Hmm. As I said, Miley is pandering. This is not an artistic exploration as much as it is a privileged young woman profiting from acting like a spoiled brat and flaunting that she can do whatever the eff she wants. I’m calling bullshit on her. She’s buying in to the whole “I need to rebel because I had this sweet image” thing and wants her fans to think she is strong and sexy because she’d doing that. So cliche. So sad. And so unsexy and weak.
Do you know what would be rebellious for a 20 year-old superstar? To NOT go down that road. C’mon Miley. We know you have it in you.