I have been shaking my head for the past few days. Amazed that this culture is so intrigued, enthralled and obsessed with the performance of one 20 year old girl at a major music video awards ceremony on national television. The best thing that could have happened for Miley would probably have been zero attention about what she did – just to seriously let it drop. That would have been an effective message of disapproval for both her and her supposed ‘mature’ counterpart Robert Thicke. Instead, we gave her just what she wanted – attention – and lots of it. As I have surfed the net over the past 48 hours, I have found little else than varied takes on the whole event, but nothing touched me more than a letter written as a blog to Miley Cyrus from a teenage girl. She speculated that no more than about 400 people would read her blog, and likely not Miley, I would like to prove her wrong.
The reason this letter touched me so deeply was the truth in it. Much of the outrage at her performance was due to the poor role-model she was enacting for our youth. Children were watching these awards, and here – one of the ‘star’ singers defiled herself in front of the world. Now, I am an adult, by all ‘normal’ standards (though I still feel very much like a kid inside). I am comfortable with my sexuality and the sexuality of those around me. I understand the energy of it and the potency of the power which runs through our expression of it. I also understand that when I was younger, I did not. Miley clearly does not either. Robert Thicke, however, I question his judgment in performing this piece with her, somehow condoning the defilement of women in public. But this is not the point of this article.
I really wanted to pass along the words of a young person, who saw right through the act up there – to the heart of the matter – and decided to call it out. So here it is:
Last night I, as well as millions of Americans, sat in amazement as I watched your VMA performance. No, you are not the first artist to grind on a backup dancer (however you may be the first to grind on a teddy bear but who knows), sing about your life of partying and drug abuse, or to strip down to your chonies. It’s all been done before. So why is your performance evoking such media attention, anger, amusement, and general confusion? Well, I have yet to speak to the millions of viewers personally, but here are a few of my guesses.
1. Yes, we all know that you are NOT Hannah Montana and we are all aware that you are of legal age to make your own decisions and mistakes. I am sincerely sorry that at such a young age you were forced to adhere to the pressure of being a role model when no 12 year old can really comprehend what that even means. I am sorry that you became a media product and you had to remain marketable despite your growth and interest in finding yourself. You were forced to push your own dreams and desires aside in order to keep the money rolling in for everyone around you. I have never been a child star and I will not pretend to know what that is like. However, you’ve been on a constant quest to prove how very not Hannah Montana you are and after a while it gets old. I mean, look at Britney. She too wanted to prove that she was no longer a girl but not yet a woman so she just penned a nice, catchy ballad about it, recorded a music video of herself singing it over a mountain top and moved on. The point is, instead of parading your rebellion 24/7, try letting us into your world and your heart.
2. I know I mentioned that a 12 year old should never have to be a role model, but as you have been very clear, you are no longer 12. You are 20. Therefore, you now have the responsibility of being a role model. So when you sing about getting a line in the bathroom, getting high on Molly, shaking it like you’re at a strip club, and doing whatever you want, you are sending the wrong message to girls everywhere. You see, you are the exception to the general rule. When you do those things, you get media attention. You get paid for club appearances. You get checks in the mail for your iTunes downloads. But when our girls do that, they get pregnant. They get addicted to heroin and end up on the streets leaving their family and friends in constant fear and grief over them. They drop out of school. They get kicked out of college and lose their scholarships. So, they really do end up shaking it at a strip club in order to pay the rent for themselves and their deadbeat boyfriends who can’t hold a job because of their alcohol dependency. You see, your music paints a false picture of what reality is. Partying and using drugs doesn’t lead to number one hits and nights filled with champagne, limo service, paparazzi attention and Snoop Dogg (lion?) calling you his homie. It leads to disaster, poverty, heartache and unfortunately for some, death.
3. Watching you perform makes me sad. I don’t mean that in the passive-aggressive “I don’t like you so I’m going to call you pathetic to make you feel stupid” kind of way. It really makes me feel sad because you have one of the greatest voices in the music industry. You have talent beyond what you may even know and you just cannot sustain a long term career using sex and drugs as your only muse. I know that there is something deeper in that little heart of yours and that’s what the world wants to see.
So Miley, you will probably never read this because I think the most hits my blog has had in a day is 400 (and yes I felt cool), but this is my prayer for you. I pray that you stop dancing with Molly. I pray that if you insist on wearing nude colored shorts that you consider picking a pair that leaves more to the imagination. I pray that you really do find yourself the way you so desperately want to. I pray that you live a LONG life full of fulfilled dreams, adventures, and love. I pray that you find your way back home and rediscover the heart that got you to where you are. I really am rooting for you. All the best.
Brilliantly said Rihanna. Thank you for your honest words, which will likely touch many. And who knows – maybe Miley will see this letter from one of her teenage fans and thank you too.
Written by: Stasia Bliss