Aaron R. Davis
Miley Cyrus bugs me.
Over the past two years, the teen popstar/actress/heiress to one of the blandest country “stars” in recent history has become a household name. Seemingly birthed in order to give rise to an unstoppable juggernaut of marketing tie-ins and product crossover, your children just can’t get enough of her. And neither can a thousand gossip bloggers who seemingly have no need for sleep, food, oxygen, friends, a life’s purpose or a capacity for rational thinking. And it’s that last part that really bugs me. Not her or her ability to spin an empire out of recycled 80s pop hooks and a ratty blonde wig. It’s the faux-outrage directed at everything she says, does or wears in photographs. Everyone these days has an opinion about Miley Cyrus.
My question: why?
Does Miley Cyrus really matter?
I ask because she went out jogging a couple of weeks ago with her boyfriend wearing a shirt and bikini top that exposed her 16-year-old cleavage. And every blogger in the world seemed to have an opinion about it.
I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to think about society in general when one of the biggest entertainment stories in America is that a 16-year-old girl went out for a jog with visible cleavage. I kept waiting for some sort of context in the various news stories that would explain to me why I was supposed to be so angry and outraged that this was happening. I learned that she’s 16. I learned that over and over. I learned that she was wearing a two-piece bikini under her clothes. That must be the first time a teenager has ever worn swimwear in the breadth of swimwear history. I learned that Miley should’ve had more discretion about what she was doing. I looked around for all the joggers wearing three-piece-suits and ballroom gowns, but I couldn’t see them anywhere. Maybe they were at some jogging gala. I learned that Miley is full of herself and indignant, and won’t even apologize for what she did, which seems pretty disrespectful when we’re all judging her and getting so angry at her unrepentant attitude towards exercise, right? I mean, how dare she?
Now, if the story were that she went out running with her boyfriend and ran all the way to a highway underpass where she murdered a guy for looking at her weird, then I could see where a teenager jogging would be a big news story. But that didn’t happen. She just jogged. Celebrity or no, I don’t get the big deal.
And before you start, I’ve heard all of the weird and creepy arguments against Miley Cyrus that are out there. She has so much influence over our daughters that we need to force her to act like all of the other responsible, socially-conscious teenage millionaires out there (otherwise we’ll have to waste precious TV time doing our own parenting). Her appeal is based on the creepy sexualization of teenage girls that is becoming endemic in America (and which posting pictures of her jogging will certainly stem the tide of). She made a “racist gesture” in a private photo that the media got a hold of and spent a week being outraged over (and that’s certainly the only time a teenager has ever been insensitive for even a moment). Her merchandise is too expensive for parents to keep up with (and heaven knows that there’s never been a disappointed child who didn’t get all of the things they wanted).
But, seriously, why am I supposed to care? Pop singer on a sitcom makes a ton of money and becomes massively famous, then goes jogging in Daisy Dukes. Did we solve all of the important problems when I was taking a nap this weekend? How long was I out?
Miley Cyrus bugs me, but not for the reasons she bugs you. She doesn’t bug me because she’s rich or famous or popular or manufactured or likes to go running. She bugs me because she’s not really worth minute scrutinizing and constant attention … and there are hundreds of blogs that will tell you that in minute scrutiny and constant detail. She bugs me because – the media keeps trying to force me to believe – she’s a polarizing figure who represents all of the ways our children are spoiled brats with an inflated image of their own self-importance. What the media never points out is that celebrities really only reflect the times of their own popularity. Gossip bloggers and magazine shows can write all the stories they want about Miley’s jog. It won’t change the fact that millions of girls, many of them without adequate parental interest, see in her something they want to be. And that’s not her fault. She didn’t raise your daughters.
Still, if Miley inspires your little tubs to go for a run every now and then, I’m not complaining about it.
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.