There’s a new storm in town this year, and Hurricane Miley has hit us full force. For Miley Cyrus, it’s been one provocative act after another. Her recent behavior is a rude awakening for avid Hannah Montana fans out there: Hannah, the lovable Disney Channel character, is long gone, replaced by a contumacious Cyrus looking to appeal to a more mature fan base.
Her songs promote a wild lifestyle, with lyrics such as “Red cups and sweaty bodies everywhere/Hands in the air like we don’t care/Cause we came to have so much fun now/Bet somebody here might get some now."
The recent MTV Video Music Awards added fuel to the fire, igniting a whirlwind of media commentary about Miley’s performance. Her risqué actions and attitude during the VMAs included a revealing costume, inappropriate use of an innocent foam finger, and twerking (vigorously shaking the buttocks while in a squatting position) onstage. Controversy arose after the performance, with many condemning its vulgarity.
Miley’s antics are amped up in her music videos, where she kisses a sledgehammer and rides a wrecking ball naked in fragmented, slow-motion clips. Her fans claim that the nudity was symbolic of the “emotional vulnerability” Cyrus experienced during her recent break up. That may be true, but emotional vulnerability does not require nudity. I’ve never seen Adele’s midriff.
Ultimately, I can look past Miley’s actions. She’s twenty years old, and after spending her childhood in the spotlight, it’s only natural that she is struggling to discover her identity. Like so many other teenagers, this time includes partying, drugs and a lack of clothes.
What really bothers me has been society’s response to Miley.
Plain and simple: Society has made Miley Cyrus who she is today. We promote her promiscuous behavior. Maybe not directly, but through our obsession with her every action, we tacitly condone her behavior. Her VMA performance last month generated over three hundred thousand tweets per minute. Regardless of the content of the tweets, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. We have allowed Miley to thrive in her role as stripper/singer/entertainer. Her music videos have combined for over a billion views, and have been parodied by the likes of Saturday Night Live and Betty White. No matter how satirical these derisions may be, they keep Miley in the spotlight, inadvertently condoning her behavior rather than decrying it.
The worst part about our fascination of Miley Cyrus is the hypocrisy that surrounds it all. We all claim to hate Miley, but her songs dominate the radio waves. Her album debuted atop the Billboard 200 Chart. Since this is the case, do we secretly like Miley and her music? If this is true, then we really need to refocus our idea of good music.
Obviously, there are people who enjoy Miley Cyrus and her music. Many probably do, since they spend money to buy her songs. But the majority purchase her songs because everyone else does, and they watch her videos and tweet about her to be like everyone else. Also, it’s fun to watch someone make a fool of themselves. This is what worries me about the interests and culture of our society. Why are we so fascinated with the behavior of an immature twenty year old?
Miley herself is not an accurate portrayal of our society. However, it’s our obsession with her that defines us. And I’d like to think that our society is more dignified than focusing on a twenty year old as a source of entertainment. It’s a little embarrassing we are so fixated on someone like Miley.
Though I don’t approve of Miley’s actions, I also don’t think that she should be excoriated by society for them. She’s young, and her celebrity status is not a concession for everyone else to critique her life decisions. Think about this: There’s a chance that Miley’s actions are merely a publicity stunt and are not an accurate portrayal of her. How foolish are we now for fixating on a fake persona? And when the next “Miley” comes along, will we fall into the same publicity trap? More importantly, I can guarantee that we all have better things to do than being consumed in Miley Cyrus’s life. So I advise that you all put your tongue back in your mouth and stop drooling.
Lillian Scott is a student at Westfield High School.