15 Jan 2014

Miley Cyrus: She Was Never A Role Model

I only wish that the deterioration of Miley Cyrus was old news, but it really isn't. Frankly, I'm getting bored reading the same old articles being spewed out about her on a daily basis, so I've decided to come up with my own theory on the matter. Essentially, Miley Cyrus is an awkward caterpillar. She tried to turn into a butterfly far too quickly, and in doing so, found herself dressed as a gothic peacock ("I Can't Be Tamed") and straddling a wrecking ball (thankfully not simultaneously). Not surprisingly, the premature transformation from pre-pubescent caterpillar to dazzling butterfly didn't happen too gracefully; in fact, we are still witnessing the graceless transformation. However, I have a few (conflicting) thoughts to add to the pot...

I hate the fact that society is trying to find role-models in celebrities. Why? Because all we see of celebrities is the watered-down, over-elaborated, third-hand, recycled information about them. "A friend close to the source said that Miley was considering…blah blah blah". Listen - this "friend" doesn't exist. They might as well be called "a journalist's brainchild". It's like we're desperately trying to find and create role-models out of fictional entities who never existed in the first place. Because whether you like it or not, what you read in the press about our dearly beloved celebrities is far from the truth. Now I'm not trying to say that newspapers and magazines go about writing BS about celebrities all the time (although I know for sure that some of them do…*cough* mail *cough* online), but why would a celebrity in their right mind decide to tell the whole world how they "truly" feel? 'Cos that stuff's personal. I bet your bottom dollar that most of the stuff we read is either made up, or taken out of context due to ulterior motives, and lack of real news. When a photo of a celebrity gets taken, it's all about the "guessing game" - the amount of make-up they're wearing or not wearing could be the basis for a story. The fact that they're walking the dog "alone" sans boyfriend, obviously means they've broken up, right? That "mystery man" standing next to Cheryl Cole is obviously her new beau, yes? We have to stop guessing and pretending we know all about these people, when we clearly do not. Oh, you're a body language expert are you? You think you know everything about someone's life just because of one photo? 

Whether it's the way we dress, the parties we choose to go to or not go to, the music we listen to, the charities we support - there's always going to be a conflict between doing it to be true to ourselves, and doing it to boost our image (whatever that image might be). But it should be about the reason behind doing things, rather than the action itself. Giving someone a gift because you want to coax them into helping you with an essay, is not the same as giving someone a gift because you value them as a friend, and want them to know that. Same gift, different meaning behind it. Whether it's a Gucci handbag, or a lollipop - it's all about the meaning behind it. Which leads me to say this: I don't really care that Miley's licking a hammer, riding on a wrecking ball naked, dancing around with life-size teddies on stage, or whatnot. But I do care why. The whole world has been guessing. They've been trying to pigeon-hole her in different boxes which attempt to explain exactly why she's acting the way she is. "She's a slut"; "She let the fame get to her"; "She's trying to empower herself". But we haven't actually heard her side of the story. And I don't know if we ever will. Sure, she's fought back on Twitter and made a few feisty responses, but I very much doubt that she could sit face-to-face with someone and explain why she wanted to create this image. All in the name of art? I think not.

Maybe she wants to be "different". She wants to shock. It gives her a high. And if that involves being a hammer-licking, naked-on-a-wrecking-ball, tongue-sticking-out, foam-finger-in-my-crotch sorta-girl...if that's what "floats her boat"...if that's her way to mark herself as "different"... then, well, let her do it. At the end of the day, nothing we say or do is going to change that. It's only going to fuel her into greater depths of insanity. Do you really think Miley's going to say, "Wow, thanks so much Kate Winslet, Sionead O'Conor and all those other people who told me I was prostituting myself. I had no idea. You've totally put things in perspective for me!"? And the reason why she won't do that? Because it takes one hell of a strong person to admit that. And my thoughts are, she isn't so strong as she keeps telling everyone. It's not easy telling the whole world who've been hawking on you your entire life, that you are in fact "wrong" and that you despise the way you've been negatively selling yourself. She's clearly nothing more than an attention seeker, and by us constantly responding to all of her "attitude", she's getting what she wants. By acting insane, thousands of people end up writing articles about her, she becomes a Google sensation, and her salary just keeps rising. I mean, there's gotta be a reason why Marc Jacobs recently brought on Miley for his fashion campaign? There's something so titillating about the controversy that she's causing, that despite ourselves, we just can't get enough of it. Another reason is that anyone insane enough to think licking a hammer or riding naked on a wrecking ball is normal, is probably not "sane" enough to think otherwise. The more we say "STOP MILEY!", the more she'll respond with her infamous lyrics "WE CAN'T STOP!" So if she wants to swing on that wrecking ball, let her swing on it to her heart's content. One day, she'll get bored. Or fall off.

In today's society, it's because commonly accepted that we should want to 'mimic' celebrities, which is probably why Miley has been accused of being manipulative and a bad role model. Their fashion sense, their pets, their diets, their exercise routine. Yet if Miley goes to pilates twice in a day, she's described as obsessive and a bad role model because she's too weight-orientated. People start sending her threatening and aggressive tweets, accusing her of being anorexic, a bitch, or fugly. When you come to think of it, the people writing all these comments are far worse than Miley. These comments suggest that we believe, as "normal" humans, that we have the authority to dictate what a perfect celebrity should look or act like. WE decide how many times it's acceptable to go to pilates, WE decide if their diet is too extreme, WE decide if they are good people. Imagine if YOU went to pilates twice in a day and everyone started hating on you. How would you feel if people commented on your photos saying you look like a horse, have a monstrous nose, or the grace of an elephant? Again, who are we to decide what people should act like or look like? This is a free world, yet we abuse our freedom of speech. Celebrities aren't like robots. We can't control them, or tell them how to act.

Take Rihanna. Her relationship with Chris Brown was all over the press. When she ended it with him, she was deemed a role model for women in abusive relationships. Yet as soon as she took him back, everyone thought she'd let the world down. Just because Rihanna decided to momentarily get back with an abusive ex, does that suddenly mean that every single other woman in a similar position is going to do the same, or should do the same? Certainly not. I'm not saying that Rihanna should or should not have reconciled with him, but humanity can't blame her for the consequences. It's not Rihanna's problem; it goes much, much deeper than that. Why should what one woman does with her boyfriend, affect us? Why should we live our lives akin to Rihanna, or Miley?

The domestic goddess Nigella Lawson I'm sure disappointed (or even outraged) a few when they realised her culinary genius came with a line of cocaine. But I'm trying to crack (no pun intended) this "disappointment".  This doesn't suddenly mean we should start swapping flour for cocaine when we next bake a cake, just because Nigella fancied it. Why are we disappointed? It's not like we honestly knew any of these people. Go ahead and be disappointed for the person…be disappointed for Nigella or Miley. But don't be angry at them for the bad messages they're sending out. If you decide you want to mimic their actions, then that says more about you, than it does about them.

And as far as Miley's behaviour is considered wrong (because apparently she was/still is a role model for young girls), how did she even earn the honour of being a role model in the first place? Plus, it's not like she said "I'm a role model for young women." WE decided we wanted her as a role-model, and naturally, she let us down. All she did was take on an acting role in a show on Disney Channel. She's no superwoman. Let her solve world poverty, and then we'll talk.

So this leaves me with one final point: Miley Cyrus is not a role model, never was, and never will be. As a Christian, I believe the only person worthy of being called a role model is Jesus. Whether you believe in him or not, the New Testament describes a man who was faultless, loving, gracious, and sinless. Whether you believe he's the Son of God, just a random man who lived a good life, or think he's made-up (except there's more proof that Jesus existed than Julius Caesar if you know your history), you can't deny that his actions make him the ultimate role model for each and every one of us.

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