In my original post just under a year ago following the scandal that Miley Cyrus ‘pole danced’ on stage at the Teen Choice Awards 2009 I thought it was all just a big storm in a tea cup. Yes Miley has lots of young, impressionable fans but her antics on stage were hardly akin to anything sexual and she was just enjoying herself.
BUT, the latest Miley Cyrus scandal has changed my opinion of the 17 year old. Today a clip has been passed around the internet with a girl, who I assume to be Miley Cyrus, dancing wholey inappropraitely with director Adam Shankman at a party to celebrate the end of filming Miley’s film, The Last Song.
Wiggling her bum around the openly homosexual director’s crotch she looks like she’s having a splendid time… But I’m sure none the less a scandal will be whipped up, damning her for influencing her fans to place themselves on the crotch of any middle aged men.
Whilst the two incidents are completely different, appearing on stage there are completely different rules and codes of conduct compared to when you’re at a private party, and it seems as if Miley is unaware that she is being filmed or that the video would end up on the internet but none the less her position in the media and her celebrity status means that this can only be bad news.
Yes, celebrities are entitled to do whatever they please, but when your every move is being watched and subject to scrutiny perhaps it’s best to keep such antics behind closed doors. No it’s not fair, she’s not the only 17 year old girl to have been caught in such a compromising position, but the price you pay for fame is being watched, constantly, whenever and wherever you are and if you can’t take the good with the bad possibly a the celebrity career path isn’t the one for you.
I highly doubt that any child post seeing this video will then emulate Miley as good parenting should teach children that it’s inappropriate no matter what Miley is telling them, but the debate still ensues. Was Miley in the wrong for doing it in the first place? Was the person who covertly filmed her in the wrong for passing his video around the internet? Am I wrong for passing it around further? What do you think?
*Edit: The video has been removed from youtube, if you really want to see you can get it here*
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Earlier this week Primark were publicly shamed into removing a range of padded bikinis they had for seven year old girls. Pressure group Mumsnet who had set up a ‘Let Girls Be Girls’ campaign against the early sexualisation of young girls had the support of David Cameron who deemed the tops “disgraceful”, Brown soon jumped on the bandwagon saying, “All of us as parents can recognise there’s something wrong when companies are pushing our kids into acting like little grown-ups when they should be enjoying being children.” And Equity Spokesperson for the Lib Dems Lynne Featherstone, not to be left out, put in her two cents with “Young children need our protection and shouldn’t be the prey of greedy retailers selling them adult products.”
This issue at hand is clearly very emotive, as the word “paedophilia” tends to provoke a knee jerk reaction and is something no retailer will want to be seen as encouraging. But if you step back and think about the issue are these items really encouraging paedophilia? By definition paedofilia is an attraction to prepubescent children, so by making a girl look older is it really encouraging it? Most victims of child sex abuse are known by their attacker, the accessibility makes them a target as opposed to their clothing. Telling a child or a mother than her daughter can’t wear a padded bra is dangerously close to telling a woman wearing a short skirt that she’s asking to be raped, something which society generally sees as wrong.
So is it all just a storm in a tea cup with party leaders looking to hop on any bandwagon going in the weeks leading up to the election? Whilst a characteristically over blown headline from The Sun ‘Peado Heaven on our High Street’ seems to be evoking a moral panic of epic proportions, none the less other retailers have been brought into the debate with Tesco and Peacocks bras being slammed, and even BHS, viewed by many as a wholesome and old fashioned retailer, has been criticised for a diamante studded bra for nine to ten year olds, strapless dresses and tracksuits emblazoned with “Princess” across the bottom. But is there any criticism of the Marks and Spencer’s ‘Angel’ range of bras? Not that I’ve seen. It appears as if the top end of the high street is immune to this debate, leaving it exclusively in the hands of the affordable retailers to take the full brunt of criticism.
There is no doubt that in today’s society the line between adulthood and childhood is becoming increasingly blurred. But are these retailers the only ones to blame? Certainly not. Try looking at our media for instance, you’ll see images of Christina Aguilera advertising Sketchers dressed as a school girl with pig-tails, open a magazine and you’ll see a fifteen year old Miley Cyrus appearing bare backed on the cover of Vanity Fair, switch on the television you’ll see music videos and films suggesting that sexual performance has to be undertaken not be socially punished.
The result of which is a plethora of mixed messages for children. Girls are naturally curious about growing older, the results of which are sometimes acceptable- wearing your mum’s lipstick, putting on a pair of her shoes- fine; wearing a padded bikini top- one too far. Whilst curiosity and imitation of womanhood is given with one hand, simultaneously with the other it is forbidden. And boys also seem immune to such pressures, they can talk or behave as sexually as they like without any consequence.
Were Primark right to sell these tops? No, selling a mass marketed notion of adulthood and sexualisation to girls who are too young to fully understand the consequences is irresponsible, but it wasn’t helped by the timing of this revelation prior to the election and consequent media frenzy. In order for the ‘Let girls be girls’ message to have any effect it has to be consistent. Retailers aren’t the only perpetuators of this idea and removing these items from stores can only go so far. Try looking to the media and asking what celebrity role models are telling your children about sexuality before Primark is vilified as being the only upholder of this message.
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Posted in Celebrity News, tagged Miley Cyrus on August 10, 2009|
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Miley on stage at the American Teen Awards 2009 with said pole.
Last night the Teen Choice Awards took place in Hollywood, with anyone who’s anyone attending and playing host to its fair share of controversies, including a spot of pole dancing from young starlette Miley Cyrus. The big winners of the night included Britney Spears, Twilight and Miley herself, who won a total of six awards.
Miley’s performance has yet again landed her in hot water with the P.C. brigade after a pole was used as part of her routine during her performance of Party In the USA. I’d like to stress, the performance looks to me to be as un-raunchy as possible. She’s hardly doing moves you’d expect from your standard pole dancer and it seems more like she ‘danced with a pole’, as opposed to ‘pole-danced’.
Miley is no stranger to controversy, after she appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair with just a sheet covering her modesty, and pictures she’d taken of herself in her underwear were leaked onto the Internet, with parents claiming that she wasn’t a good role model for her young fan base.
In my opinion it seems like she’s done absolutely nothing wrong or worthy of controversy at all, merely putting together an entertaining performance that happened to include a pole. And if any parent is worried that their child is then going to go off and get a job as a pole dancer to try and emulate the star, they should first question their parenting skills before they lay the blame at Miley’s door.
Critics have also been quick to suggest that her performance was part of a plan to market the start to an older audience and to lose her ‘Disney’ image, which doesn’t make all that much sense. Miley’s on to a good thing with her legion of devoted young fans, she’d be a fool to try and alienate the very audience who got her where she is and I’d hope she (or her management) would know when she was on to a good thing, which she certainly is given her massive celebrity status.
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