There has been a lot of talk during the past few weeks among teens and adults alike regarding the recent antics of Miley Cyrus. From her provocative music videos for hits such as “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” to her recent performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, Miley has remained the center of media attention.
Most of the backlash seems to stem from the fact that Miley rose to fame as a Disney star with a fanbase consisting of young girls who look up to her.
The Parents Television Council particularly took offense to the performance because the VMAs were rated TV-14, meaning that it should have been suitable for teens ages 14 and up to view. The council disagreed with MTV’s rating of the program. Dan Isett, a spokesperson for the council, asked during a press release, “How is this image of former child star Miley Cyrus appropriate for 14-year-olds?”
While I agree that perhaps the performance was not necessarily suitable for young teens, the VMAs has a reputation for airing suggestive performances. I still remember the kiss Madonna and Britney Spears shared and the performance that had Lady Gaga being murdered, fake blood and all, during a performance. Given the reputation the VMAs has created for itself, the performance really should not have been that big of a surprise to adults.
Speaking of surprises, this is not the first time Miley has been ridiculed because of her actions. She came under scrutiny in 2009 because of her performance at the Teen Choice Awards. Since then, she has been open about her use of marijuana and has released a viral video of her “twerking”. It is simply impossible for people not to have realized that Miley is no longer the innocent Hannah Montana.
The only remaining question is whether or not it is even Miley’s responsibility to be a positive role model. Sure, it is nice to be able to look up to people who are in the public eye. Unfortunately for us, “role model” is not in her, or any other celebrity’s, job description.
Celebrities are people just like the rest of us. They are flawed and they make mistakes. In Miley’s case, she does what a lot of young adults do at her age – party and dance provocatively. Perhaps adults are putting too much responsibility on Miley by saying she should be a better role model for her fans.
Instead of attacking Miley as a person, people should be focused on teaching teenagers the difference between right and wrong. Teenagers need to know that it is okay to enjoy the work of their favorite celebrities, but that they should not necessarily mimic the behavior of those in the public eye.