In college, I had a job as a waitress at a restaurant very near my townhouse. One night during a break, the owner of the restaurant and downstairs bar asked me if I would ever pose for Playboy. I said no. He then asked if someone offered me $1 million would I reconsider my answer. Wow. This is super uncomfortable. I said no. He asked why. “Because my father is still alive.” I chose not to work at that restaurant much longer—he and his questions were a little too creepy.
This came to mind after reading about and then watching a very short clip of Miley’s performance at the VMAs. I seriously cannot imagine acting like that for the whole world to see, for any amount of money or publicity, especially knowing my parents would find out about it.
Even though I did my share of stupid *ss stuff when I was younger, the possibility that my parents would find out something was actually an effective deterrent for quite a few moments in time. I couldn’t bear what they might have thought if they found out. Call me a prude, but simulating sexual acts on a stage, especially if my mom is in the audience, would not be something I could do—and we had Madonna to look up to.
But, then again, I haven’t walked in Miley’s shoes.
I’ve never watched Hannah Montana. Had no reason to. I’ve heard it was a good show for kids to watch, i.e. good values, lessons, etc. Even though I never saw the show, it was hard to miss out on seeing her face. She was everywhere. Ev-er-y-where. And from what I noticed, people seemed to think this young girl was Hannah Montana.
Can you imagine the amount of pressure a young, real live flesh-and-blood girl might feel living up to the standards of a scripted character? A character who has lines written for her to say for scenes that are not real life? One who has marks to hit, leading to controlled, scripted, pre-determined, make believe consequences and outcomes? A character on a made up show that she no longer plays?
It seems to be no coincidence then that a part of her performance was to the song “Blurred Lines”. How appropriate on so many levels.
For us on the outside looking in, lines may have gotten a little blurry in her life when people mistook her for a character on a TV show. She was supposed to be Hannah Montana, wasn’t she? Or was it that Hannah Montana was supposed to be her? It doesn’t really matter if she claimed to have a similar set of beliefs in her real life, she was a young girl living a very public life. At some point, we all rebel in some way against what we’re supposed to be to forge who we are to become. But many of us don’t figure that out right away, do we? A few mistakes and not-so-great choices get made along the way. Thankfully, most of us don’t have to live out the process for the whole world to see.
Unfortunately, we have watched similar scenes play out over and over. A young star pushes against the role put upon her. It doesn’t matter that the role made her rich and famous. It doesn’t matter that her role was one of an innocent-with-a-knack-for-trouble young girl. It was a job, a character in a story. It wasn’t her. She is not the character in the show anymore than Anthony Hopkins is a cannibal. (Umm, he isn’t right?)
I just wish that young female entertainers didn’t seem to feel so compelled to oversexualize themselves when going from child to teen to adult. It is quite natural for us gals to want to get our sexy on as we age from teen to adult. It’s just such a shame that so many of the singers and TV/movie stars don’t seem to know when it’s too much. And there doesn’t look like there’s anyone around to tell them “you might want to cover those things up a smidge more.”
The rest of us don’t live in their world and it is, quite frankly, a little scary to watch this cycle play out over and over. I mean if we can’t reel in Hannah Montana (or the cute kid from Parent Trap or Zoey101 or Britney or the What I Like About You girl or…) and stop her from shaking too many parts in too many ways with an older, married guy—if we can’t keep her in the role that we like—how in the world will we keep the lid on our own daughters? How will we keep them safe and away from men who might not treat them with respect?
One way would be not to equate TV with the real world. After all, even shows with a good, clean message are populated by actors acting.
Other than that, I can only hope that my husband and I cover our girls with enough love that they won’t feel they have to uncover themselves to find it. I pray we convince them of their worth so that they can stand up to or walk away from an inappropriate-question-asking boss and others who try to convince them they are worthless unless they are a sex object. And I’m not ashamed to say, I hope that we instill in them just enough fear of us finding out that they refuse to walk down paths that can lead to their harm or destruction.
We can’t keep our kids from all the pain and hard choices this life has to offer. Eventually, we cannot be there to control how they handle what comes their way, but I pray they know we are always here to protect, guide and love as much as humanly possible. I pray they see when we fail—because we have and we will—that they have a heavenly Father who will not. His love covers a multitude of sins and always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.