Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Advice for Parents, re: Miley Cyrus

I was listening to NPR this morning about how Miley Cyrus is the latest in a line of role models for girls who have disappointed them: Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Jamie Lynn Spears,Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame, etc. Of course there is the usual discussion about the oversexualization of children and the cult of celebrity in our society, but the real issue is that young girls look to these (mostly) young ladies as role models and hence are getting disappointed by them.

So here's my advice for parents... help your children realize that no matter how much someone is on TV or movies, that doesn't mean you should emulate them. I mean seriously, help your young girls get better role models. I love the fact that Kinsey doesn't usually try to emulate people she sees on TV. She likes being like and around our friends that we have around us. Are they perfect? No, but I would much rather my little girl want to emulate the teachers and lawyers that we know, than someone who sounds good with a mic in her hand or because she looks good in a wig. And that's not to say that the others might not disappoint as well, because they very well could. But I would rather it be that than some celebutante.


Anonymous said...

Amen! That's exactly what I was thinking as I read over posts where the authors where bemoaning the fact that Cyrus is a "role model" for young girls. Why? Why does she or any of the others have to be role models? We're the parents! We have the say on what they watch and read and listen to, at least for now. Take advantage of that!

I'm not a perfect parent and I'll never claim to be but I'm glad to say the we have nothing "Hannah" in our home. Instead, my daughter thinks her sixteen year old cousin who loves to read, plays the trumpet and wants to be a marine archaeologist, hung the moon! That's a real role model.

Yes, my daughter knows who Cyrus is, as well as the HSM cast but when she talks about what she wants to be or what she wants to do it bears little resemblance to what she sees on television.

I don't mean to sound preachy or like I've got it all together as a parent because I don't. It's just that stuff like this drives me crazy. And I know that all this could change for us. Right now, she's going on 8 years old and many things are still in "our control". I know that will change. That's why I really want to lay the groundwork now for when the time comes that I can't make even small decision for her like what she watches on television and who she comes into contact with.


Scott said...

I agree with you. We are the front lines in the self-image and selection of role models that our children have.
I wouldn't say that is the real issue over above oversexualization and the cult of celebrity, however. Those three walk hand in hand to offer up a three pronged threat where none can be discounted.
And I don't think it necessarily comes down to whether or not they are "role models" but how our kids deal with a barrage of influences in society. These girls can become scapegoats of a larger societal issue.

judy thomas said...

Agreed. But the practice of enjoying those in stage and screen has gone on for hundreds of years--My mom thought Rudolph Valentino was gorgeous; I think Robert Redford and Audrey Hepburn are worthy of being emulated. The rub comes when there is no one else to emulate in their personal lives, in their relatives, in the church, etc. Who would you suggest then? Of course Christ is always up there on the scale--but what woman? Mine doesn't have a name--she anointed Christ's feet with perfume and dried them with her hair. And oh, yes, one of my favorite women: Bernie Arnold.

My point is that there are so few folks worthy of emulation these days, one must look hard.

About Miley--if her parents were there at the session, then they should be blamed. And they should have known that Annie Lebowitz is not known for taking chaste pictures. Perhaps pride and greed got in the way here. I'm just glad she was not totally nude!

So, I don't worry when my granddaughters grab a mic and sing
"We're All in This Together" (and we all are, because our culture has made these stars what they are) because they have a mother who is their best role model. Judy Thomas

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