Has the Miley Cyrus-Hype Gone Too Far?

We’ve always gone nuts for celebrities.
Back in the day it was Shirley Temple, Judy Garlin, and Marilyn Monroe.
Rock stars came into vogue and screaming fans chased Elvis and fainted at Beatles concerts.
Jumping ahead to my youth, the teen pop sensations Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and Britney Spears generated thousands of crushes and screaming fans. (Editor’s Note: Does it make me old to remember the New Kids on the Block insanity!?)
But now with the rise of superstar Miley Cyrus, we’ve entered a new level of celebrity idolization—one that has some worrying ramifications for our tween sisters. (The Olson twin fascination, in my opinion, is a bizarre isolated event along the lines of The Truman Show)
The Miley-hype has broken several barriers which I think are important to note:
1. Her youth
Although Hillary Duff set the stage for achieving tween stardom via a Disney channel show, Duff began at the age of 14 with 2.3 million viewers per episode while Miley Cyrus began at the age of 12 with 5.4 million viewers during the series premiere.
2. The extent to which Disney (and other companies) profit from making her an obsession and increasing the frenzy
At the beginning of the year, Wal-Mart partnered with Disney for 140+ Hannah Montana products including food, clothing, dolls, and the latest twist, customized wake-up calls. In 750 stores, Wal-mart has set up mini “Hannah Montana Shops”.
3. The extent to which a 15 year-old (initially 12-year old) has been expected to shoulder the full responsibility of role model.
The greatest example of this has been the fall-out from the notorious Vanity Fair photo shoot. The uproar it generated can only be explained by the extreme importance placed upon Miley as a role model.
In an attempt to staunch the hole in her reputation, Miley told US Mag that being a role model, ” doesn’t mean that I’m not going to make mistakes and do things that everyone’s going to be happy with … there’s no such thing as perfection.”
Yet let’s face it, that’s what’s expected of her. Millions of little girls (and their relieved parents) view Miley as their hero —and that’s a hell of a lot of pressure to place on the shoulders of a 15 year-old.
It’s time for a major reality check:
Miley Cyrus is a super star—she’s not a normal teen who deals with normal teen pressures (despite however much Disney tries to say she is) and therefore she can’t really be a role model for anyone other than aspiring actresses.
Elevating her to the position of universal good girl social role model ignores countless “real” girls who do things that are truly admirable.
Stuff that should receive more attention:
Girlsinc “inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold”, not simply stylish, rich, and famous.

Girl Scouts of America
—not just about cookies, the Girl Scouts foster female leadership, entrepreneurship, character building, and social conscience.
American Girl “Celebrating girls and all that they can be”, although this company in many ways has become a profit-machine, at it’s core is still a desire to provide young girls with positive historical role models.
The Hannah Montana show is fun and Miley Cyrus is a charismatic individual, but it is important to remember that she’s a created persona and, at the tender age of 15, can only do so much.
[Photo courtesy of blog.mlive.com]

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