She’s Just Being Miley

I lost my mother at 14 years old, and as an older sister to a little girl seven years younger than me, it has been my natural duty to be the role model she lost—or at least educate her of others who are worthy of that title. Now, at 13 years old, she’s in search of finding someone to look up to, and it would seem that the first place she would turn to would be people in the media. Needless to say, the most trending female in the media today is reigning teen pop star Miley Cyrus, and admittedly I have many thoughts about that.

OK, so she may not be exactly what I would want my little sister to be influenced by, but that’s old news. But here’s something that may be surprising: I fully believe there is something my sister can learn from Miley. After all, the more I see her name, the more I’m starting to realize that I am learning a lot from someone who society claims is the last person we should be imitating.

If I join the seemingly contagious crowd of people who are criticizing Miley, am I really doing my little sister any more justice? Maybe Miley may not exactly be the role model I would want for my little sister, but by shaming her, I would definitely not be the role model I would want for my little sister, either. And the worst part is, I can’t even pretend I haven’t criticized her at some point—and in my defense, I could come back from that with “Who hasn’t?” But that in itself is exactly what worries me.

It is ridiculous how many articles I have come across over the teen pop sensation. While it feels like I have a duty to my little sister, apparently it’s anyone and everyone else’s duty,  to voice why Miley doesn’t deserve role model status. But who gave us the right to be the judge of that? What makes us worthy and in charge of labeling what is considered right and wrong? My two cents about her really has nothing to do with her at all, but rather about everyone else.

I guess what bothers me the most about everyone’s reaction to Miley, including my own, is how easy it is for us to criticize others, especially woman-to-woman. It scares me that it is becoming so natural and acceptable to be as judgmental as we have become, and that is certainly the last thing I would ever want my sister to take away from my behavior. But in today’s society, where role models for my little sister’s generation are currently lined up on bookstands in our grocery stores, how could she not conform to society’s shaming?

We all deserve a say and we all have the right to our own opinions, but whether we are 13 or a twenty-something, it seems as if the elementary concept of, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all” has become lost. Although it can seem impossible to control our thoughts (which is a constant battle I fight every day) it is most certainly possible to control how we act upon them.

My father always taught me to never compare myself to others, and I find myself reciting the same lesson to my little sister. But in doing so, I can’t help but think that we have become conditioned to compare ourselves to others. After all, according to the Internet, we say it’s OK to shame Miley, and others who seem to go against the norm of society. Yet—Barbie dolls are a norm of society, but research has shown that if Barbie dolls were transformed into flesh and bones, they would have proportions so unrealistic that it’d be impossible for them to survive.

So here’s my two cents: As usual, my dad is always right. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others. If people’s critiques of us were printed and sold in bookstands, how would we feel? So let’s stop the bad talk and leave these judgements about the pop princess on the shelf. Miley’s just being Miley. And just because that may not align with our morals does not mean we’re allowed to shame her either.

Photo taken by Stephanie Michelle Adams.

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