So 2013 is almost over, and it seems to me that it's been the year of the Miley - at least the latter half of it has. Almost every day since the Video Music Awards on that 25th of Aug., we've been hearing "Miley Cyrus Said This" and "Miley Cyrus Did That" - and not just on the tabloids, but on major magazine and newspaper covers and homepages across the media spectrum. If it's not about her twerking, it's about her recreational drug use or her views on feminism or her break up with Liam Hemsworth. Miley, Miley, Miley.
Overall, the coverage is pretty negative. CNN has speculated that Miley is introducing her young fans to Molly (MDMA), and so that the fact that she was almost Time's "Person of the Year" (a title selected on the basis of who has most affected the news that year, either positively or negatively) was essentially wrong and hideous. A lot of people have since agreed. Then there are online magazines like Bustle, who have tried to look at Miley objectively. When she declared herself to be "one of the biggest feminists in the world," instead of pointing fingers at the superstar for constantly being too naked, too loud or too whatever, Bustle pointed out that at least she is addressing feminism in the first place, and that in actuality, she does stand up for what she wants. Not to mention, she's a pretty hard-working young woman constantly dedicating her time to film roles or new albums.
Now, I don't consider myself much of a feminist. I believe in equality in the workplace and what have you, but I don't have any qualms with being a stay-at-home mom if need be, or having doors held open for me, or assuming traditionally "female roles" in the household, like cleaning. But I can and do appreciate the feminist movement, and from my point of view, Miley is definitely doing her best at empowering herself, owning her body and sexuality, working at what she wants and making damn sure she gets it.
I have chosen not to write about Miley until some of the hype died down and I could formulate some thoughts based on my own opinions rather than on what the mass media is circulating. And I think there's definitely a massive problem. But it's not about good, old MC.
It's safe to say that the majority of the Miley stories are stemming from the states - where I myself am from - and the biggest issue journalists and parents and people as a whole seem to have with the 21-year-old is her take on drugs. Miley Cyrus doesn't pretend not to do drugs. And that, for America, is a problem.
In one respect, I kind of blame Disney. For decades, Disney has made it so that the actors and musicians under their wing have to wear chastity rings, claim to abstain from any and all recreational drugs and essentially pretend they are 12 when they are actually 22. We saw it with Brittney Spears in the '90s. Poor girl had to assume the role of virgin until her mid-20s. That's bound to mess with someone. And just recently Joe Jonas revealed that he had to sneakily hook up with girls for fear of getting fired. Oh, and that Vanessa Hudgens was kept on lockdown by Disney after the whole nude photo thing. Disney wants their child stars to remain child stars into their young adult lives, and realistically, no one can keep that up. So when sex, drugs and rock and roll start entering the picture, Americans become enraged that the cute actors their kids love are all of a sudden smoking weed.
But the problem is bigger than that. Disney or no Disney, Americans don't like hearing/talking about drugs. If a celebrity like Miley says something like, "Weed is better than coke," because it's a more social, friendly and let's face it, healthier, drug, the focus is not, "Ok, that celebrity tried to give good advice so that if/when kids start experimenting with drugs, they go for the natural stuff and not the chemical waste." Instead, the focus is, "How dare they talk about drugs and corrupt my child?"
Further example: Popular teen show Skins has endured for six years in the U.K. - and it's a show that delves into the sort of things teens are actually experimenting with, like (shocker!) drugs and sex. It lasted all of a season in the U.S. because parents (literally, the parents of the Parents Television Council) couldn't handle the "bad influence" it would cause, or accept that their children could possibly even know what the opposite genitalia looks like.
I don't know if it's a fear of teens growing up too soon, a product of the failed counter-culture movement or just an ever-present religious overtone to American culture, but the fact that young adults cannot talk about sex or drugs openly without being condescended is not just disgusting, but seriously alarming. It means that any kind of education presented to adolescents regarding these two very large topics will be conditioned, manipulated and probably wrong. And it means that those teens will never be able to do the things teens are supposed to do as part of growing up. They'll never be able to fail and make mistakes and learn from the bad stuff without being told they should find a counselor.