Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why It Hurts When Miley Twerks

It’s been two days since Miley Cyrus shocked millions of TV viewers and nearly broke Twitter when she ‘twerked’ away the final remnants of her beloved Disney role of Hannah Montana. Miley believes that she is finally free from the restraints of being a child star. She is an adult, and she can now do whatever she wants, whenever she wants without having to answer to anyone. With this newfound freedom, Miley believes that she can now twerk, tongue hanging out ala Gene Simmons, without a care in the world. After all, this is a free country and free speech is something that we all enjoy as American citizens, including Miley Cyrus. But what Miley failed to factor in was the backlash that would be generated from this performance and how her beloved pre-twerk fans would view her now. As Hannah Montana, Miley had a fan base comprised of very impressionable girls and preteens who loved her, wanting to be just like her. They lived vicariously through her; an adorable and talented young lady with a solid family structure. According to Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana is dead. As of Sunday night on MTV’s Video Music Awards that death was confirmed...D.O.A.

Now that we have seen the image that Miley is trying to adopt, some have tried to make excuses for her behavior. Teenage angst? Growing pains? Some have even gone on to blame her parents and the Disney Channel for not helping their former stars to transition into adult careers. As parents, the question you may ask yourself is: “Why does it hurt to see Miley twerk?” The answer is quite simple. Those of you who have children that grew up on Hannah Montana are dealing with impact that lost innocence has on a parent when you finally realize that your ‘baby’ is not a baby anymore. If your child was a Hannah Montana fan, then they have now hit puberty or are pretty close, which means you are very close to having ‘the talk’ with him or her. Your child will be exposed to adult situations and adult themes that you have to prepare them for, and that is scary. What hurts the most about Miley is that she was supposed to be different. She isn’t Lindsay Lohan or Brittany Spears. She was expected to transcend all of the riff raff and “make it,” so to speak.

The reality of Miley’s new image is that it’s nothing new. She is following the trajectory of many young people, having fun without worrying about the consequences of her actions. The only difference is that she’s in the spotlight, making it look so, so, so much worse. Some may have found her performance to be disturbing or inappropriate, but Miley is a young lady who must find her own way, whatever road she takes is on her. All of her mistakes and missteps are on public display, open for scrutiny in the court of public opinion where she is being crucified. If all of the media reports are true, then Miley simply doesn’t care what people think. As parents, what you have to do
is make sure that message isn’t missed with YOUR child. Whatever mistakes they make will ultimately affect them and you can’t start a fire without being burned. Miley Cyrus is a real human being, flaws and all. Hannah Montana wasn’t real and that’s the reality that we are faced with. We have to have an open dialogue with our youth about how they should behave and explain to them that there is a time and place to express oneself, whether it’s singing, painting, and yes, twerking. There will come a time when our children shed their bibs and throw their pacifiers away and proclaim, “I’m a big kid now!” Before that time comes, we can equip ourselves with as many resources as possible to make sure we are able to support our young people as they transition into young adulthood.

by Shana Adams, Health Communications Assistant, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

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