Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

August 27, 2013

Why Miley Cyrus can teach us all a lesson

After watching clips from Miley Cyrus‚Äôs MTV video music awards performance, I can‚Äôt help but imagine how this could damage little girls (and boys) around the country. Miley‚Äôs strange twerking, tounge-lagging and come-hither looks to a much older man made my stomach turn. She did not look cool to me. She looked desperate and un-original. In a way, she is a victim too‚Äîgrowing up in the media spotlight in a country that objectifies young girls in most pop songs. So, let this be a lesson to us all.

How can we use these occurrences to help our children? First, I think we need to have conversations with them in a way that promotes media literacy. That’s a fancy term for being critically aware of what the messages are from the media. How do we do this? Here are some good questions to start with:
o What are you watching? (Identify the source)
o What’s this video about? (Identify the content)
o Why do you think those things are in the video? (Examine why the content may be there)
o What do you think they’re trying to tell us? (Really examine the message)
o Do you agree? Why/why not? (Become a critical consumer)

There are a few, wonderfully different and original messages out there. Here are a few great videos to talk to your teen about if you want to compare Miley’s performance to theirs:
o “Special Education” by Goodie Mob with Ceelo Green (feat. Janelle Monáe)
o “Whip my hair” by Willow Smith
o “Same Love” by Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Mary Lambert)


(The Smith family’s reaction to Miley’s performance)