The gyrating hips, the skimpy clothes, the sexually suggestive props – it’s not the first time we’ve seen all this on stage. But your performance at the MTV Video Music Awards this week has really got people talking. I suppose that’s what you wanted. I’m guessing you were after attention, you were hoping to grab all the headlines, and you were desperate to make an impact. Well, it worked.
It’s been a mixed response, but the overwhelming feeling out here is that you went too far. Your highly sexualised performance wasn’t sexy and it wasn’t classy. It had an air of desperation about it and, quite simply, you didn’t pull it off. On the other hand, there’s been plenty of commenters who have applauded your actions. They’ve said that you have, once and for all, shaken off the Disney character image you have lived in the shadow of since you were 12. They’ve praised you for showing us, quite clearly, that you are no longer a child star. You are a woman you have told us – and a woman who can choose to do what she wants and will do what she wants, thank you very much.
I have a problem with this idea though. If you think you need to dress like an adult dancer and simulate foreplay to an audience of millions just to show us you’re no longer Hannah Montana, I don’t think you’re quite as grown up as you would like to be. If you think you need to exploit your body, your beauty and your sexual prowess in order to prove you are no longer miss goody-two-shoes, you still have much to learn.
Dear Miley, we get it. You are no longer 12, you are 20. You are no longer playing the roles of Disney sweethearts who can’t think for themselves, don’t question the adults and know nothing about sex. You’re an adult. You’re a woman. We get it.
The problem is, dear Miley, that you’re also a role model. I know you never asked to be famous. You never knew how much of a celebrity you would become in the role of Hannah Montana. You never asked for children around the world to look up to you with innocent wide eyes while they watched your feel-good screen performances.
Sadly, they did. And those children grew up, just like you did. They understand that you’re not Hannah Montana anymore. So give them the credit of staying true to yourself. Give them the credit of at least acknowledging that you are a role model. And give yourself the credit of behaving like one.
We’ve seen it, as I said, before. You’re not the first child star to grow up on our screens. You are not the first to fight back against your wholesome Disney character image. You are not the first to gyrate on our screens.
I witnessed the car crash that was your performance as a mother, and I felt for you Miley. It made me think about how much I wanted for you just to try and be a little bit normal – because that’s what role models are. They are women that little girls can imagine being, because although they are normal, they are also inspirational.
Your performance also made me hope that you one day realise that we want you to be Miley, not Hannah Montana. But that doesn’t mean you need to prance around a stage half naked. You see, Miley, we want you to be you, to be happy, and to believe in yourself without feeling the need to act out a strip tease.
You also, Miley, made me think about what I want for my daughter. She is just a little baby, but one day, she will watch the Hannah Montanas of Disney land and fall in love with them. She will love their wholesome world views and their goodness. She will watch them grow up, she will grow up with them, and then she will see the kind of performances you put on on that stage. I want her, instead, to see women who are proud of themselves, who believe in themselves, and who don’t feel the need to live up to anyone else’s ideals.
Dear Miley, I honestly wish you courage and I truly hope you are happy. One day, I hope you have the strength again to be that girl the other girls look up to. Good luck x