Dear Miley,

Please Don’t Let Us Down

I’m writing to you as a mom of two young girls. We watch your show and listen to your music in the car. I ask my youngest daughter, age 7, why she likes you. She says you’re a good singer and you have good friends. She thinks you hang out with Emily Osment after work.

Last week my oldest daughter, age 9, and I went to a Mother-Daughter evening at school. We sat there with her 9, 10 and 11 year-old schoolmates – your devoted audience – as the school nurse explained puberty and all the changes these girls are about to experience. At the end of the talk, they were each given a discreet zippered pouch with a few maxi pads inside. They took away those pouches, slightly embarrassed but smiling, as if they had just joined a secret club. I’m sure you remember what that was like.

Think About These Girls

Your new album, Can’t Be Tamed comes out this week, and no doubt you’ll be all over the TV, web and radio. The first video, ‘Can’t Be Tamed’ is currently the #4 best-selling video on iTunes and has been viewed on YouTube over 19 million times.

Chrissie Hynde with a six-pack?

The ‘Official Miley Cyrus Content’ on your website says that on your recent Billboard magazine cover, “Miley wears all black outfit (sic) and displays her new grown-up attitude.”

“I’m just at a certain place where I’ve changed a lot as a person,” you say. “I’ve grown up a lot, which everyone does.”

But Please Consider

I realize that you’re maturing and you want to try new things, but where does it say that grown-up = simulated orgies and faux, porn-style lesbianism, as we can see in your new video? It’s as if a three-way is some new right of passage, like getting your braces off. Is there a pop princess handbook outlining what you need to do when “making the often-murky transition into adult artist” (again, from your website)? And why does it so often include these rather tiresome displays of ‘liberated’ sexuality?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it.

How far will it go, Miley? In her latest video, Christina Aguilera wears an S&M hood and a crystal bit in her mouth. Come on! She’s a lovely woman with a fantastic voice, but today in this ever-crowded pop culture universe, she feels she has to revert to being, as Jon Pareles of the New York Times writes, “… a sexbot: a one-dimensional hot chick chanting come-ons to club beats.”

What Would Justin Do?

Have you considered a few career lessons from another Disney-alumnus – Justin Timberlake? Here’s a young man who can generate loads of heat just by sitting at a piano and singing, all while wearing long pants, a shirt and tie. He dabbles in music producing, fashion and art, and he leaves the bumping and grinding to Ciara. Heck, he made a video with Madonna and didn’t even take his shirt off!

Have you ever seen this man pole dancing? I didn\’t think so.

I know you have it in you because I’ve seen you perform with Taylor Swift on an acoustic version of ‘Fifteen’. I’ve also seen clips of your recent concert performances, and if I may say so, you don’t look or sound terribly authentic wearing a cut-off Cheap Trick t-shirt while singing ‘Cherry Bomb’. Surely you realize that you can’t be punk while wearing black high heels.

So have a think about it – Are you country? Are you punk? Or are you just another sad Madonna-wannabe with the groping, gyrating videos to match?

You’re young, we know, and you may not want the pressure of being a role model. But the fact is you are, and we’re counting on you. The Moms out there trying to raise our daughters in a trashy, corporate sex-fueled reality are counting on you.

It’s Not Too Late, Miley

It’s not too late to go to college.

It’s not too late to live in Paris.

It’s not too late to sail around the world.

It’s not too late to build schools in Cambodia.

It’s not too late to run a marathon.

It’s not too late to save Louisiana.

It’s not too late to master trigonometry.

It’s not too late to make a difference.

Please don’t let us down

Be young for a while.

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Posted on June 15, 2010, in music, parenting, pop culture and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. It’s really a nice letter to miley… Hope she’ll read this.

  2. Well said J, so many young girls do look up to Miley (though why I’m not sure!) and it is a terrible shame that these are the image theses kids are now exposed to.

    • Sad but true. The thing that really gets me is how Justin Timberlake (who I like, he’s definitely one of my guilty pleasures) is the male version of these pop girls yet he’s never skanky and half-naked. Why can’t Miley, Katy, Ciara – whoever – be like that?

  3. I have two boys (10 and 15) and the reaction to Miley around our house is quite different (she’s a laugh riot) but yes, I’ve seen her new ‘grown-up’ video and it fair made me puke. Churning out the same old s**t as all the others – joining the ‘slut-rock’ club . Madonna and Lady Gaga have set a demanding standard for ‘how low can you go’. Even Katy Perry (yes, she of ‘I kissed a girl’ fame) has indicated that Lady G has hit an all time low and that’s quite something coming from the woman engaged to Russell Brand (he’s all yours honey). Perhaps naked public execution will be how to get oneself noticed in the media next year – Eli Roth can do her next video!

  4. Amen! I truly don’t think that these transitioning stars even think about their young fans. It’s just so sad!

    • Thanks for reading everyone! A friend sent me a link with some recent quotes from Miley. She’s saying roughly that her music has matured, so she thinks her look should ‘mature’ as well. Funny ideas about what’s mature and grown-up, Miley! I’m not endorsing this gossip site btw, but it does offer some food for thought. Check it out at The Hollywood Gossip.

  5. Why not endorse or write about other female musicians– maybe someone whose videos aren’t out of the same boring can. Artists like Lilly Allen have black lyrics yet benign but original imagery in their vids which also have a cruder but more indie feel. There are plenty of other more rocking examples. Can’t help wondering if LG, Madonna, Miley, etc are all using the same DPs, production designers and editors and all with the same ho-hum result.

    • Cool video, but I can’t show it to my kids because she’s not practicing safe cycling by wearing a bike helmet! ha ha. You’re right about the same glossy production values, always makes me think of ‘Vogue’. I’ll have to kick Miley out of heavy rotation in the car and find some other pop-rock chicks for the girls to listen to.

  6. I’m going to sound ancient but where are the real rock chicks that I grew up with? Sure they were NOT saints but Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks, even disco goddesses live Ms. Diana Ross, didn’t feel that they had to gyrate to sell their music. I don’t have girls so I wonder if musicians like KT Tunstall, Adele make it on their playlists?

    • I blame Pamela Anderson, or more specifically, the people who cast her on Baywatch, thus unleashing a crossover torrent between Playboy and mass consumerism. The apex being Britney Spears, of course, and Christina Aguilera i.e. the kinky cousin. With my girls I’m happy to let them listen to the music but we’re definitely staying away from MTV and YouTube for now. We also listen to loads of other rock/pop chicks; we love Stevie (!) and Donna Summer.

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