Sunday, May 16, 2010

She's Just Being Miley

I wrote this post awhile ago about Miley Cyrus and my concern for young pop stars that seem overly sexualized. Then a video of her giving a 40-year-old man a lap dance surfaced (yes, I'm a little too in to celebrity gossip..) and it made me rethink a lot of what I originally wrote. I'm going to post it anyways, because I think these are important questions we need to ask, but I really want to emphasize that in no way do I think it's wrong for a person to be sexual, and I really dislike the practice of "slut-shaming." My concern is strictly about age and the affect being so sexual so publicly will have.

Miley Cyrus has a new music video out, and I quite like it. As someone who is not quite a music officianado, I find it's gothic feel a cool kind of edgy. It's Rihanna meets Britney Spears meets Michael Jackson's Thriller. The song's not great, but I can get over that.

In the video, Miley's in a couple crazy outfits, dancing around in a mature manner, singing about how she can't be tamed. The artistry itself is pretty cool, as I said, but I find the fact that it's Miley, a 17-year-old, singing and acting this way a little disconcerting.

I'm all about women being free to express their sexuality however they please. I don't care if teenage girls want to run around in miniskirts and low-cut tops and what have you. If they're comfortable with how they're dressed, then why should I care? So why is Miley's video a little upsetting to me? Because she's not just dressing this way to go to a car wash, she's dressing this way to make money.

Here's my rationale.

Is Miley (legally or otherwise) capable of agreeing to dressing and acting this way in the music video?

If you say yes, then I have to ask why it's not okay for other teenage girls to take provocative pictures of themselves and sell them on the internet. This is commonly referred to as child-pornography. Further more, there are 16- and 17-year-old girls taking sexy pictures of themselves and sending them to their boyfriends, then finding both of them in court for possession of child pornography. They're not even making money off these pictures, yet clearly something about these events is striking a nerve. What's the difference between these girls and Miley Cyrus? Being famous? Setting it to music?

If you say no, then that means her sexuality is being exploited by the adults in her life to make money, which is blatantly wrong. The producers, directors, and probably her parents know that Miley's a good looking young girl. Having her writhe around in a pile of feathers in skimpy clothes will certainly have grown men all over the world hammering for more. That makes money.

When she turns 18, and decides she wants to prance around naked in her next music video, I won't concern myself with it. At that point she'll be expected by our society, for right or wrong, to be an adult and be capable of making adult decisions. She'll be expected to understand the ramifications of her actions. And besides, naked pictures of her will no longer be child porn.

But I'm still concerned about the next young, money-making machine. The same thing will most likely happen to her. I can't help but feel that these choices the adults in this business are making are leading girls down the wrong path. I don't know, maybe it's just me.

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