One of the most important lessons I hope to leave with my daughters is to always be true to yourself; to let your freak flag fly, and to fly it proudly.
So when Miley Cyrus did just that the other night at the MTV Video Music Awards, you’d think I’d have been a little bit more supportive of her performance; that I wouldn’t have immediately criticized her and been so quick to judge.
But I did…and I was.
Was it because of her vulgar display of graphic sexual moves and pathetic and obnoxious attempts at sensuality? Maybe, but more than that it was because I believed it to be inauthentic.
I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a high schooler dress up in slutty clothes and cough her way through a pack of cigarettes to try and impress a group of fraternity boys.
Her performance seemed pretend…overdone…fake.
And I felt kind of sorry for her. In fact, most of the people in that room — the “fraternity” she was surely hoping to impress — seemed to feel sorry for her. She simply tried way too hard, and it was an embarrassment.
Did she get the attention she so obviously set out to get with her over-top-performance? Absolutely. But unfortunately, that attention didn’t come with respect.
Listen, I get it, Miley’s not Hannah Montana anymore.
Believe me, after Sunday night, we all get it.
She’s 20 years old: an adult who is free to express herself however she chooses and shake her ass with whomever she wants, wherever she wants.
I accept that.But it sure as hell doesn’t mean I have to enjoy watching it.I used to enjoy watching her; the whole family did.
In fact, in 2006, at the genesis of her Hannah Montana fame, the whole family went to her concert and got to see both Hannah and Miley perform, which at the time was a little bit mind-blowing for a 5 year old, not to mention her parents, as they witnessed the hysteria over her questionable, but captivating, talent. My girls idolized her, and we were happy to let them, for about two years. Then came the questionable photo shoots, the salvia incident, the pole dancing, the admitted pot use and the terrible, terrible fashion sense of the more recent years which thankfully cured them of any and all Miley-mania.Neither of my girls watched the VMA’s Sunday night. My 17 year old has since seen the performance on YouTube of course, but I haven’t let my 12 year old watch it. She’s grown accustomed to Miley’s shock value antics of late and to be honest, isn’t really all that curious. I was relieved, until I realized that Miley’s performance was actually chock full of teachable moments (most shows that air on MTV nowadays are). Moments that can actually be useful tools and valuable lessons.
You just have to know how to spin them.
1. Teddy Bears are for cuddling, not defiling.
2. Foam Fingers are for waving in the air at football games, not for poking your hoo-ha with.
3. “Let Your Freak Flag Fly!” and “March to the Beat of Your Own Drum!” are good words to live by, but there should be a hard line drawn between being unique and motor-boating someone’s ass in public.
4. Grabbing your crotch a lot doesn’t make you look sexy or cool, it just makes everyone watching you wonder if you have crabs.
5. Unless you’re getting a strep test, keep your tongue in your mouth.
6. A flesh toned bikini isn’t flattering on anyone, but if you must wear one make sure the bottoms are larger than those made for a Build-a-Bear.
7. Twerking against a married man in public, no matter how great the performance value or how tight your ass is, should be avoided…unless you’re trying to come up with next semester’s tuition.
8. “Furries” fetishes should be reserved for…never mind, forget I said anything.
9. Self-exploration is a natural thing, unless you’re using a Hamburger Helper mitt to do it.
10. The only thing latex undies are good for is a monster yeast infection.
But all kidding aside, I think that the most important lesson that Miley’s performance can teach them is that trying too hard, at really anything in life, almost always ends up being embarrassing. Sure, it may get you the attention you set out to get in the first place, but I doubt it’s the kind of attention you wanted.
Be brave; be bold; be adventurous. Just don’t be all those things at the expense of your self-respect.
I’m afraid seeing it will give me PTSD.
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