Miley Cyrus: HOW DARE SHE AGE! It’s not just crusty old farts who are scandalized by the “overt sexualization” of that brazen hussy. The New York Times spoke with a handful of middle school teenyboppers who miss her good, clean fun. Girls think Miley has “gone too far” and some of them are marching off in a huff.Tween girls told the Times they’ve been scratching their heads over Miley for a while. There was her semi-nude photo shoot in Vanity Fair two years ago, her “pole-dancing” brouhaha earlier this year, and her onstage “lesbian kiss” just a month ago. These tweens are indicative of Miley’s decline in popularity: her most recent album Can’t Be Tamed has seen disappointing sales and one marketing exec said Miley only ranks #7 on the list of celebs considered popular by kids 8- to 12-years-old.
You know, I get it that little girls are bummed that Miley isn’t 13 anymore. “Hannah Montana” soon won’t be on TV and kids will have to watch “iCarly” instead, or something. Nine-year-old girls don’t relate to sexed-up 17-year-old Miley, so their disdain is understandable to some extent.
But I also friggin’ hate the idea that young girls are learning to slut shame other females. We want to extinguish the virgin/whore paradox, not feed it with more tinder from Miley’s sexualization. Will these girls’ disdainful opinions of Miley’s sexualization be turned back at them when they themselves grow up and become more sexual? (To be clear, none of the girls interviewed explicitly called Miley a “slut.” Slut-shaming is a concept that means devaluing a woman because she’s sexual, or too sexual.)
Every time adults react/overreact to Miley’s increasingly sexual behavior, kids pick up on those messages. Good girls don’t dress like that. Good girls don’t dance like that. Good girls don’t … etc. etc As much as I’m grossed out by Miley pole-dancing or giving a lap dance to an older man, these aren’t the messages I want tweens and teens learning about femaleness and sexuality.
Is it Miley (and the Miley machine behind her) that needs to tone it down? Or is it the culture that needs to ease up? I say both. [NY Times]