Danielle Bean, a wife and mother of eight, is editorial director of Faith & Family magazine and author of My Cup of Tea, Mom to Mom, Day to Day, and most recently Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Read more of her blogging at Faith & Family Live and DanielleBean.com.
I’d like to pretend I have no idea who Miley Cyrus is. But can any of us truly claim to have remained immune to the deluge of media from the the pop/television star in recent years?
I think I first saw her face on a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. And then on a bottle of orange juice. And then on children’s sunglasses, packages of cookies, cans of hairspray, and ... every single magazine cover on the planet.
When the dad of a homeschooling family that doesn’t own a television set asked me one day, “Who is this Hannah Montana?” I knew that the young Ms. Cyrus had achieved the ultimate in media saturation. Which is not necessarily a good thing for her. Or us.
After her recent raunchy performance on Britain’s Got Talent, there was a media flurry of concern over the fact that 17-year-old Miley might be “growing up too fast.”
I looked at some of the video from that performance and while I have to admit that Miley Cyrus surely is doing something too fast, it is not growing up.
“Growing up” should mean gaining wisdom and maturity, taking on greater responsibilities, and properly managing the privileges and freedoms of adulthood. It does not mean undressing on stage, simulating a lesbian kiss with a band member, and later blogging on your website about how you so did not do that.
Though my kids have never been attracted to the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus phenomenon, I am worried about the example Cyrus is setting for young girls who look up to her. I am concerned that young women will hear a message of “to be cool you need to be sexually attractive and available” in her actions.
But mostly I worry about Miley Cyrus herself, along with a series of other young female stars whom I see as victims of the Hollywood scene. The “fame machine” is schizophrenic in its insistence upon churning out an endless supply of young women, dressing them up, parading them around as young sex objects and then wringing its hands over how quickly they are “growing up.”
Hey Hollywood, what’s happening to these girls is not “growing up.” They’re being used. But you already know that. I only wish more parents who encourage these kinds of images for their children did too.