Today’s MTV News morning meeting (at 9:30am — way too early!) was set adrift by a free-for-all discussion of Mileygate. And after 20 minutes and no conclusions about what new angle could possibly be taken on this obsessively reported story — is she the new Britney Spears? the new Shirley Temple? an underage victim or a savvy young woman? — intern Jackie chimed in with some common-sense thoughts. So we’re turning the Newsroom floor over to Jackie. Her thoughts on Miley, and what it’s really like to be fifteen, after the jump.
As a huge Miley Cyrus fan (so what if I’m 21 years old??) and an intern here at MTV News, I’ve heard and seen a lot lately when it comes to my favorite Disney star. Her supposedly “racy” pictures: in the June issue of Vanity Fair, the lime green bra incident of 2008, and of course the original Hello Kitty bedroom pics, have been getting a ton of attention, most of it incredibly negative.
Now I get that she’s 15 years old, but I do not in any way see what all the talk is about. At her age, I was in high school, had a huge crush on an older boy, and didn’t want to be seen as the little virginal, no-curves freshman. I wanted to be viewed as sexy and attractive, and at times I acted just like the starlet in question. No one ever made me apologize, and never was I made to feel ashamed of myself for coming of age. But then again, I was a 15-year-old no-name in Freehold, NJ, and Miley is a gigantic celebrity who’s on the cover of magazines, has a hit TV show, a hit single, a sold-out tour, and she’s been a presenter on that little awards show called “the Oscars.”
Still, why parents are getting all up in arms about this is beyond me. Girls at Miley’s age are coming into themselves, discovering that they have a body, and want to be viewed as more than just little girls. What’s the problem if a teenager who is almost old enough to get her learner’s permit wants to be seen as a little more mature? Parents of younger fans — and the big boys in suits — tend to put girls like Miley in a box, packaged with a pretty pink bow and lots of sunshine. Realistically, that’s not what 15-year-old girls are made of. They, like boys, like to look nice, wear makeup, fool around with friends, and even take a silly picture here and there. Parents need to wake up: their daughters are seeing more in the locker room than what these Miley photos reveal.
In my opinion, the problem is not with Miley Cyrus, or with her parents, it’s with all the people who are trying to make more of it than it is. If a mother of an 11-year-old doesn’t like what Miley’s portraying, maybe that mother needs to focus more on parenting her own children and less on parenting Miley. If anything, this is a way for mothers to have a jumping-off point to talk to their daughters about becoming a woman and growing up.
The issue is that you can be sexy without being sexual, and you can be sexual without being a slut. Miley should in no way feel embarrassed for beautiful photographs — and certainly not for being a teenage girl having fun. Maybe parents and a lot of the media need to take a tip from No Doubt and take the proverbial pink ribbon off their eyes, realize what a 15-year-old girl is, and let this one live her life — and look great doing it, I might add!