Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Miley Cyrus and the Victims of Pretty

 I never watched Hannah Montana, but like any teenage girl in America, I couldn't help but be aware of the teen phenomenon that was Miley Cyrus. I have a vague memory of something involving pop music and lots of pink. That was a long time ago. As the years passed, Cyrus has tried to shed her Disney image, but the new persona gained little attention until her sexually provocative performance at 2013 VMA awards. Since then, I've heard about little else. The internet is abuzz.

The reaction wasn't quite what Miley was looking for. Or perhaps it was. During the show, the camera showed reactions ranging from amused to indifferent to disgusted.

As for me, my reactions aren't quite as extreme. It was shocking, sure. But not surprising.

Young girls grow up in a society that has changed the language to suit their values - we say "sexy" and not "beautiful." We've replaced "love" with "sex." Women may be told they're valued because of their intelligence and career skills, but the highest pressure is to look a certain way. Two thousand years ago, women were forced into arranged marriages, but they didn't have eating disorders. Now, the most important thing is to be pretty.

So no, I don't think it's surprising. But I don't want to be desensitized. Miley is a human being, not an object. While I expect the world to be broken, the fact that it is should not cease to move me. When I heard the story, I immediately thought of a song by Bebo Norman. He wrote it several years ago, addressing it to Britney Spears, another teen star gone wrong. It is a much-needed source of hope in such tragedy.



  1. I haven't heard exactly what she did, but I agree with this cultural tripe. Just another example of how we like to view ourselves as advanced and civilized--we mostly just change the modes. Some things good ARE attained, so we can keep striving in faith. Set an example. And pray for all of us.

  2. That is a really cute picture of her though. She looks so happy.

  3. Loved your thoughts on Miley. I also awoke to the flutter of news about it and had to search to figure out what the mess was about. Absolutely heartbreaking that little girls grow up wanting to be Hannah Montana, but don't realize the dark side of being a celebrity. Can't imagine what that does to a little-girl-heart.
    I love Bebo Norman, but haven't heard that song! At least, if I had, I didn't realize it was for Britney. That's intriguing!

    I'm Jen, I've just returned to the blog world after a family tragedy caused my absence. I found your blog because we had some books and music in common--particularly Andrew Peterson (& the Captains Courageous!) and Wingfeather. Through our tragedy, their music has ministered to me the most.
    It was a pleasure stopping by your blog, and reading about your books!

    1. Sorry it took me a bit to reply - first few weeks of college have been killer. :)

      Thanks for commenting! I always enjoy hearing unexpectedly from other bloggers, it's so encouraging.

      That was actually one of the very first of Bebo's songs that I heard (besides, of course, everything on the radio, which I hadn't connected with him.) I read on wikipedia (that bastion of truth and accuracy) that Britney's mom had heard the song and written Norman to thank him for it, saying it was all she wanted to tell her daughter - or something that that effect.

      Like you, I find music very comforting. Though I haven't faced much hardship, there's the usual teenage stress, and listening to music like Andrew's or Bebo's takes me out of myself and reminds me of the transcendent.


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