What Happened to Miley?

Like millions of other young girls in this country, my daughters have been raised with the Disney girls.  My eldest was a long time fan of both Lyndsey Lohan and Hillary Duff and witnessed with disbelief as their girl-next-door appearances slipped into sex symbol and their  lives slipped out of control in a world that seemed to devour them whole. Where were their parents I wondered as they made bad choice after bad choice? Disney fame seemed to be a curse for the girls who grew up as role models for so many young girls.

My youngest daughter has been a fan of Hannah Montana for years. The values and lessons in the show, with her real Dad at her side, were a comfort to us and we somehow believed that she would escape the fate of her predecessors. My daughter would say,  “She’s from the south, her dad won’t let her do sexy music videos…”  I don’t know, maybe they left her for a long vacation, because it is hard to believe that her parents or the Disney executives who promote Hannah Montana would be okay with the soft porn music video, “Can’t be Tamed” that she just released.

The line between pornography and music videos has been  blurry for a long time. A quick look at Christina Aguilera in her new porn feature (music video) Not Myself  Tonight demonstrates that there really is no line that pornography has not crossed in our hip-hop culture.  Female equals sexualized  if you hope to get any attention.  And apparently 16 is not too young to turn a Disney girl into the next piece of meat for us to devour.

The message is clear to all the pre-adolescent girls out there bearing witness to the seemingly inevitable transition from teenager to sex symbol.    Overt and intimidating sexual maturity is what makes female stars valuable.  I am not sure whether the visuals or the lyrics are more disturbing.   Several women in the audience are wearing birdcages as hats.  Miley herself is cast as a new form of life, with wings, who is also caged.  Yet  as her sexual energy increases, she breaks out of the cage.  All the while singing how she can’t be tamed and she goes through men like money…. Oh good.   The girl is 16.  So much for the sweet sixteen and the romantic allure of young love.

The cutaways to her lying on her back, waiting for her deflowering borrowed from the classic view of the submissive, beautiful female waiting for…well you know. I suppose I am reflecting my age and the concern of a mother who is raising  girls in a world that is full of mixed messages about what it means to be female. On the one hand, we are living in a society that is  seeing the dominance of women in the workforce and as family wage earners for the first time.  On the other hand, we are promoting the end of courtship and intimate relationships by reinforcing the extreme sexualization of everything female.

The most tragic part of this unfolding new world where pornographic images and text re-invent the manner and capacity of relating is the loss of  our ability to link the experience of heartfelt love with the drive to be intimate.  As we exchange the bitter sweet love affairs for provocative and unfeeling sex,  we actually lose the opportunity and capacity for  the healthy, vital passionate lives we all want for ourselves and our children. While pornography has an increasingly loud voice in the world, that is crossing into all entertainment industry,  we can draw the line on its intrusion into our personal intimate relationships.

I Can’t Be Tamed is not the sexuality that I want my children to learn from or embody as they embark on their own discovery of what it means to be intimate. Porn, in all its forms  is  a poor stand-in for the deep transformations that passionate love, fierce loyalty  and authentic connection brings to our lives. Have we entirely given up our belief in the connection between love and sex or are we just afraid to show the heart breaking truth of deep lasting intimacy?


Kamia C.
Kamia T2 years ago

Both my kids were drop-dead cute as youngsters, and could have been models if I had let them. But I had seen too much of Hollywood to be able to ignore what the lust for money and fame does to children, and didn't. Being a millionaire with a dysfunctional daughter would not be a success to me!

Lin Moy
Lin M6 years ago

Read this thinking I hope my g.kids are not like this when they get older or it could even be worse then.Oh my

Sue K.
Sue K6 years ago

Fan or not,to blame the kid is wrong.The parents,the greed of the industry,not the kids who start out innocent.The innocence is destroyed by fame,fortune,and lack of the influences of every day people.They are shaped by the adults around them quite often.But also at some point they think for themselves.Parents can only guide,if they mess up as adults,that is on them.
I do think that it is wrong to let your teenager have the freedom of these celebrity kids.They end up uneducated,in & out of jail,etc....It's a big problem.And why do these teens need to be "sexy"if they're there for the entertainment of other kids.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago

Joy is right.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago

I've never been her fan. :-)

Joy Jin
Joy Jin7 years ago

Hannah Montana: What started as an innocent Disney show has spiraled out of control. It's disgusting and it defiles the name of Disney.

Jewels S.
Jewels S7 years ago

I agree with the author. I am a mobile DJ and have seen the freak dancing they do. I am horrified. I do think the parents need to step up. From what I have observed mainly from what my brothers have done is just horrible parenting. My oldest bro used to threaten any guy that looked at me wrong but now with his daughter he is being totally accepting. My Mom trusted me but not others so I felt ok to say no to anything I didn't feel comfortable. My dad on the other hand was missing in action and when he was there would tell me he wanted me to be a plyboy bunny. Parents have a tremendous responsibility and I applaud those that do the parenting instead of trying to be their child's friend. You can be a friend when your job is done and they are older.

Caroline L.
Caroline L7 years ago

I was raised by a catholic woman who had more morality than the church. I was not outside of our home at an hour later than 9 pm until I was 18 years old and even then she made me come home from college on the weekends to keep me under her wing. I was the only virgin in my social group at age 20. I was taunted for this, even then. But I look back on my mother's actions as love. She wanted so bad to protect me and I get that now. At the time, all I wanted was to be cool, even if it meant wrecking my life. Everyone could use a mom like mine. There is nothing uncool about being a virgin and having a romantic view of life. It's time for this to come back and be ok with young girls. There needs to be more in life for girls than sex and the attentions of men. We had bad role models when I was young, too, in the sixties there were whores. I may have found them fascinating but I was never one of them. Nurture the talent and creativity of the girls in your life and make sure they know that it isn't all about the dress they wear or how much they're willing to do for boys. There is so much more for girls to do and to love and to experience. It's robbing them completely to teach them otherwise.

Janice P.
Janice P7 years ago

I had to come back to make another comment on this topic today after something I saw yesterday on a hike in my local state park.

I think a much better question would be "What happened to the PARENTS of young girls like Miley Cyrus?"

Near the end of my 12-mile hike yesterday, I went down to the Meramec River, to sit on a boulder and gather together enough energy to walk the 2 or 3 miles back to my car. While sitting there, I saw two young girls, neither one of which could have been over the age of 12 or 13, walking from the parking area for the boat ramp to the river. Both of them were wearing the skimpiest string bikinis I have ever seen. Those girls were developing and they both looked absolutely vulgar. The most shocking thing was that they were accompanied by both parents of one of those girls. I can't even begin to imagine what was going on in the minds of those parents. Neither could those parents have been thinking about common decency or that their daughter and her friend are a pedophile's dream. Parents like that, in my humble opinion, are little more than pimps for their daughters. They are inviting taunts and possibly serious attacks upon their daughters, not only physically, but emotionally, as well.

Are parents so afraid of saying "NO", that they are willing to sacrifice their own daughter on the altar of popularity? If a parent is unable or unwilling to accept the responsiblities of raising children, they should not have any at all. Get a pet.

Betty C.
Betty C7 years ago

If we give them a good foundation, they'll usually always come back to it.