home
WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

I Don’t Care What Miley’s Parents Think…

GuestBloggers Icon Posted by Guest Blogger

August 12th, 2009

By Guest Blogger Cara Lisa Berg Powers

I don’t care what Miley Cyrus’s parents think. But if you have “tween” daughters — or if you are a tween or teen girl — you probably should.

miley stripper pole

Not only did Monday night’s Teen Choice Awards feature Miley Cyrus atop an ice-cream cart in booty short and high heeled boots, but she was perched alongside what can only be described as a stripper pole. It is difficult enough for women in today’s society to have control over their own sexuality. Imagine how much more challenging this is for girls, when corporate male fantasies make their way into performances by teenagers at awards shows created specifically FOR teenagers. As if that weren’t enough, early Tuesday, pictures and video surfaced on many websites, featuring Miley’s 9-year-old little sister, Noah, playing with, dancing around, and posing astride her own stripper pole backstage at the awards.

noah-cyrus-miley-cyrus-little-sister-and-a-stripper-pole-1.0.0.0x0.400x601

One commenter defended the little Cyrus, saying that her pole dance was no less innocent than any 9-year-old circling a support beam in their parent’s basement. There are, of course, two critical differences: (1) a support beam has not been constructed socially to symbolize the male fantasy of striptease, usually in the context of sex work, and (2) no one that I have ever heard of has ever posed proudly with a support beam in pictures that then turned up on the internet.

And here’s where the rubber meets the road — the complete apparent lack of understanding on the part of the entire Cyrus clan on the effects their parenting decisions have on the social norms constructed for 5-16-year-olds all over this country. While Miley Cyrus is getting scattered internet, women’s magazine and Entertainment Tonight coverage for dating a 20-year-old (who reportedly lived with the Cyrus family), and sending him suggestive cell-phone shots of herself, teenagers all over the country are getting criminal records for similar behavior. While Noah Cyrus’ parents think it’s cute for their 9-year-old to pose alongside a stripper pole in a dance costume, my parents and many others have had to find out that their 9-year-old and younger daughters have been forced or coerced into taking even more exploitatively sexual pictures by predatory adults.

cuar01_miley0806

How many of us have heard, “I don’t care what your friend’s parents say, I am your mother and I have a good reason for doing what I am doing.”

Not the case with the young Miley Cyrus. I do, in fact, care what Tish and Billy Ray Cyrus think, because ultimately, it sets a social standard for parents all over the country, who, Spike TV’s website speculates, will have their tween children begging them for stripper poles this Christmas. I have defended similar acts in their ’20s (like an older Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera), noting that while I thought that they should understand their role of influence on young girls, as young women in their ’20s they should also have the right to express their sexuality. However, in the case of Miley Cyrus, as in the younger Ms. Spears (think the “Baby One More Time” sexed-up-schoolgirl-in pigtails-video or the 1998 Rolling Stone cover), we are talking about a minor participating in explicitly sexualized behavior at the behest of adult handlers. This isn’t about girls getting in touch with and developing healthy pride in their own sexuality (a great resource to that end is Scarleteen). This is about calculating adults and corporate entities who profit by shaping tween and teen girl icons into pop culture Lolitas.

Britney Spears turned 18 within a year of releasing her first album. In contrast, Miley Cyrus’ first run-in with the morality police came over a year ago when pictures from a Vanity Fair shoot showed the then 15-year-old wrapped in a sheet, lipstick smeared and hair tousled, with her father on set.

s-MILEY-large

Since then, pictures intended for her 20-year-old boyfriend have popped up on the internet almost every other month, mostly taken herself (like much of the so-called MySpace generation) and featuring her in wet clothes, exposed bra, and even in her underwear, as well as half naked, strewn across the lap of (hopefully) a boyfriend. But, asVanity Fair notes, her Disney handlers probably don’t want her name anywhere near the word “sex” even while the tabloids follow her around “praying for her to pull a Britney.”

Well wait no longer, tabloids. While the ice-cream cart antics of the Teen Choice Awards may have reminded some in the TRL generation more of Mariah Carey, the sexy showmanship was all Britney. From here on out, any comparisons to the fallen Ms. Spears are warranted. Most of all, “Where are this girl’s parents?” The sad answer, in both cases: cheering them on from the sidelines with younger sister in tow. I hate to make anyone’s life into a cautionary tale, but if the breakdown of Britney Spears isn’t enough to make showbiz parents want to shield their kids from this sort of harmful pressure, then maybe the teen motherhood of her younger sister Jamie-Lynn would make a parent think twice about exposing a nine-year old to the same too-sexy too-soon culture. But… no on both counts for the Cyrus parents.

Sexual abuse, stranger rape, date rape, and domestic violence are some of the very real consequences of this sort of distorted sexualization of your girls (see: Journal of Social Sciences). It is hard enough to build healthy relationships as adults in such an oversexualized media culture that consistently undervalues women AND men as whole people. We, as a society need to push back on dangerous sexual images of young girls and boys, but especially in cases like this we need to ask the parents to consider the very real consequences of their actions, not just on their children, but on all of our youth.

cara lisa berg powersGuest Blogger Cara Lisa Berg Powers is an organizer, educator, and activist for youth empowerment through media. She co-directs Press Pass TV, a Boston-based youth media organization, is the author of By Any Media Necessary and is a candidate for her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change with a Media Studies concentration.

16 Responses to “I Don’t Care What Miley’s Parents Think…”

  1. chemical suppliers
    July 18th, 2013 02:51
    1

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

  2. chemical suppliers
    September 25th, 2013 00:52
    2

    Fulgurous article, I suppose it is one of the prizewinning I’ve ever seen

  3. conceiving a girl naturally
    October 28th, 2013 19:47
    3

    Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The text in your article seem to be running off the screen
    in Chrome. I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with
    browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The design look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon.

    Cheers

  4. cantabria
    December 21st, 2013 15:05
    4

    After I initially commented I appear to have clicked
    on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I recieve 4 emails with the
    exact same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service?
    Thanks!

  5. gia thang may
    February 16th, 2014 04:52
    5

    TIN SHOCK HOT GIA THANG MAY thang may thoi trang dep 2014 thoi trang dep thang may

  6. thang may
    March 21st, 2014 19:03
    6

    Normally I do not learn post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, quite nice post.

  7. thang máy
    April 13th, 2014 12:04
    7

    Remarkable things here. I’m very happy to peer your article. Thanks a lot and I’m having a look forward to touch you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?

  8. Tomas
    May 1st, 2014 02:40
    8

    Receiving delivery of flowers is one of five courier insurance large cities to
    receive a card with a number of other delivery features. The array of possibilities
    including FTD delivery, and the real appeal of the entire environment.
    There is no doubt that at some point in time in our lives; creative online
    gift delivery can help you relax. The first step you will need to aggressively courier insurance
    open communities early in 2013 in order to afford medical care.

  9. thang máy gia đình
    June 17th, 2014 19:44
    9

    Its like you learn my thoughts! You appear to know a lot about this, such as you wrote the e book in it or something. I believe that you just could do with a few p.c. to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, that is excellent blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  10. Paulette Snowball
    October 2nd, 2014 05:26
    10

    I wanted to comment on how the site looks. I like blog like these. I love the way the blog looks. Nice layout.

  11. sex
    October 3rd, 2014 17:28
    11

    Great blog here! Also your website loads up fast!

    What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  12. Jermaine Strollo
    October 16th, 2014 19:26
    12

    I like the structure of your respective web-site, however I cannot load each of the side section. Whenever you can solve it may be terrific.

  13. Vince Tozer
    October 16th, 2014 19:27
    13

    Fantastic website you were given here, best content yet!

  14. Davis Coryell
    October 16th, 2014 19:35
    14

    Hello.This post was really fascinating, particularly since I was looking for what it really this subject last number of days.

  15. Bill Pacific
    October 16th, 2014 19:38
    15

    I positively such as this record, i didnt appreciate a kismet of the items you posted in here. i ahve far more new news regarding these topics and topics related to it. some people will find it implacable to understadn english but i realize its rather calm tabs for the confidentiality which has discover to get what is todays policy.

  16. Dana Dorsch
    October 16th, 2014 19:39
    16

    I’m reading should be genuine, and that i absolutely concur with what Sam said.

Leave a Reply