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Miley Cyrus Is a Lousy Role Model, But She’s Not the Freakin’ Devil

Posted by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 8:00 AM
  • 20 Replies

Miley Cyrus Is a Lousy Role Model, But She’s Not the Freakin’ Devil

by Adriana Velez

miley cyrus vmaOkay, I think it's pretty safe to say a lot of moms weren't exactly thrilled with Miley Cyrus' VMA performance last week. Oh dear Lord, what to tell the children, etc. Call me crazy, though, but I think blaming the Steubenville sexual assault on Miley Cyrus is going maybe just a bit too far. That seems to be what self-proclaimed "old fogey" Richard Cohen is doing in his Washington Post opinion piece, "Miley Cyrus, Steubenville, and teen culture run amok."

Cohen begins by calling Miley a "cheap act" and then hops over to the Steubenville rape. He ends by saying Miley's act debases women and feeds into the very rape culture that resulted in Steubenville. Aaaand I'm calling bullshit -- not because I think Miley's performance and rape culture are totally unrelated. It's just that the arrows in my diagram would be going in the other direction, if that makes any sense. Performers like Miley don't cause rape. But maybe rape culture influences performances like Miley's.

Here's how Cohen ties it all together:

So now back to Miley Cyrus and her twerking. I run the risk of old-fogeyness for suggesting the girl’s a tasteless twit — especially that bit with the foam finger. (Look it up, if you must.) But let me also suggest that acts such as hers not only objectify women but debase them. They encourage a teenage culture that has set the women’s movement back on its heels. What is being celebrated is not sexuality but sexual exploitation, a mean casualness that deprives intimacy of all intimacy. Cyrus taught me a word. Now let me teach her one: She’s a twerk.

I mean, this is almost blaming the victim here. (And for an older man to call a scantily-clad younger woman a "cheap act" reeks of misogyny.) It's freakin' creepy. If anything, Cohen is perpetuating rape culture more than Miley is. Miley went all slutty on us, flaunting her sexuality; therefore, she is the reason why hormone-frenzied teenage boys can't control themselves. Right? Bullshit. You don't go from "Miley objectifies/debases herself" to "blame Miley for rape culture." Nice try, but no.

Miley isn't exactly on my 9-year-old son's radar and he hasn't seen the performance, but he knows who she is. So I've been thinking about how I would talk with him about that performance, if it came up. What do we say to our BOYS about Miley?

I wasn't crazy about Miley's act, either -- mostly because I think she's capable of better. What I see is a young woman who's exploring her sexuality in a very public way, probably with a hearty helping of narcissism and too many enablers who aren't helping her exercise better judgment. In other words, Miley is doing on the big screen what countless teenage girls do on social media every single day.

This is new territory for all of us -- this online world where we can share too much in a split second and live with the results forever. Girls are getting hit especially hard with mixed messages: Be sexy but not sexual, show us your tits/don't be a slut, whatever happens, it's always your fault. Most of all, girls shoulder most of the responsibility for everything that happens, their own actions as well as the action of others. And that's grossly unfair. I want my son to know better.

So what I would tell my son about Miley's VMA performance is that a woman exploring her sexuality in a public way does not deserve to be shamed or raped. It doesn't matter what she's doing with that glove or what she's not wearing. She's an imperfect human being trying to figure it all out, maybe making some mistakes, just like you. You don't have to like what she's doing, and it's okay if you actually do like what she's doing. But you treat her with respect and never, ever use what she does as an excuse to treat women or girls as objects. Ever.

Do you think Miley is playing into rape culture, or is she trying to break free from it?

by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 8:00 AM
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by Silver Member on Sep. 7, 2013 at 8:28 AM

Honestly - I think she's trying to prove how "grown up" she is. I don't care about sex - we all know sex sells and as crappy as it - It's how it's always been - I care more about her songs promoting drug use than her sexual behaviour

by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 8:36 AM
I dont think it has to do with any of that she acted like that before she was raped
by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 8:50 AM
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I think she is just trying to break out of the Disney mold. 

Lots of other singers have done more offensive things, IMO, but because they were already outrageous it wasn't a big deal.

I'm thinking about Nikki Menange(whatever her name is) dressed as a nun and humping things and blood all over her.

by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 8:51 AM

On another note: WHAT the hell is up with her and her tongue!!?? I'm so tired of seeing THAT!

by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 10:25 AM
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Honestly, what you put out there reflects who you are. Her actions, on AND OFF the stage...sexual innuendo to drug use do not reflect a girl who is growing with the slightest clue of self respect or handle on is about be the girl falling out of her clothes, batting her eyelashes, sticking out her tongue and her ass and then taunting he men...don't touch me or think of me that way...well, she's lacking in integrity...and men...some boys they too lack integrity...and when faced with a girl like this respond in anger, TAKE what they feel they have been lead to believe they will be GIVEN...IT IS NOT RIGHT...but is is the mindset of a remarkably large number in society today, it is reality, the world my daughter IS living in and facing...personally, I am teaching my 13 year old daughter not to taunt with or inadvertently promise what she has no intention of giving...I am teaching her integrity and authenticity...and to be proud, value herself, and save for those worthy for the right time and place the most precious two things she has to give, her heart and her body.

by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 10:30 AM

I see a young girl trying to break away from her Disney mold and doing a very bad job at it. 

She is fighting so hard to prove she is grown up, that she is pushing the limits in all the wrong ways. We are watching her rebell in a way she probably couldn't when she was younger. It's almost like she needs a group hug. 

The village hasn't finsihed raising her, instead of bashing and slamming her she needs to know that she is still important...for who she is, not what she thinks/feels others see her as.

She's still a teenager, even if she is legally adult. 

by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 10:30 AM

she is disguting,a lousy role model for sure -  end of story

by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 11:06 AM

The media is giving her way too much publicity. Was she tacky and classless well... Yes. Is she a role model for girls.. I really hope not. At least maybe how not to act. The girl has issues, obviously, and from talking to my kids they recognize that she is going on a downward spiral in her life. I hope she gets help. But as for the way she behaves is demeaning for all women.. Well I don't define my womenhood by the way Miley or any "rock star" behaves. There are too many good role models out there to look up to.. Which luckily my kids still think I am one of them

by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 3:50 PM
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I feel sorry for her honestly my dd age 15 and I have discussed how sad it is and how yes, she's trying to break away from her Disney role in WRONG oh so wrong way. However, if parents are concerned their kids will look up to Miley as a role model they had better have some serious conversations with their kids. No way my dd would ever do that. She's smart enough to spot a tragic train wreck at this point. Yep, makes me sad. :(
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by on Sep. 7, 2013 at 7:26 PM

She played right into the script, her dances and roles are written for her....Has anyone ever seen the uncut video to blurred lines, she just played the role.

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