In 2012, when Miley Cyrus revealed her bleached-blond pixie cut via Twitter, the world was shocked. Little did the public know, it would not be her boldest move to come. Since then, the former teen queen has moved on to other antics such as gyrating on stage or swinging completely naked atop a wrecking ball.
A short five years earlier, no one saw this change coming; I’ll set the scene. The year is 2007 and Cyrus is just beginning to enter the spotlight as the first season of her hit Disney Channel original series “Hannah Montana” is in full swing. Cyrus is becoming an icon in her own right, not only as a teen actress and performer but also as a role model for young girls everywhere. Her good-girl Disney image has solidified the consensus that Cyrus is one of the good ones “” young celebrities who age without scandal. (Keep in mind that this is the same year as Britney Spears’ head-shaving incident.)
Back in the present, it’s almost impossible to remember this former Cyrus. After the recent VMA drama between herself and fellow performer Nicki Minaj, as well as her controversial use of dreadlocks in her stage costume, many have been questioning where Cyrus “went wrong.”
This reporter dares to answer: “Who cares?”
I believe that there is a fine line when it comes to criticizing celebrities in our culture, and currently too many of those criticisms focus on the wrong things. Cyrus is a good example of this. For example, a year after “Hannah Montana” went off the air, Cyrus cut her hair and began to wear more revealing clothing than before.
The public felt that she was acting outrageously. Many argued that she was still an icon for young girls everywhere, and they needed a role model.
To me, this seems to be a waste of time. At this point, I would argue that the majority of tweens who had idolized Hannah Montana had already grown up with Cyrus, and wouldn’t exactly be shocked at a flash of side-boob. But ultimately, while it may be interesting to some to follow each crazy outfit that Cyrus wears or the odd stage performances she partakes in, at the end of the day, she is just a performer doing her job.
She puts on outrageous shows for entertainment. It’s simple: if you don’t like the show, choose a different one. The energy we put towards tearing down celebrities we don’t like could move mountains if it was put towards discussions that were actually relevant.
However, that doesn’t mean that all behavior is acceptable. We should be questioning whether or not the people we put in the public eye are racist or sexist, or just bad people.
That means that when Cyrus chooses to give her opinion on Nicki Minaj’s experiences with racism, we should question whether or not she has a voice in the discussion.
When she appropriates black culture by wearing dreadlocks as a costume, we should discuss the implications of it. On a similar note, if Justin Bieber chooses to drive while drunk, we should react as we would if it were someone in our own community, because these decisions are important in the fact that they are not an act of artistic expression.
These actions are hurtful in the real world and have an effect on others. Criticizing these kinds of actions open the discussion for change and help us as a society promote the kind of behavior that we actually want to see.
But as for a celebrity’s choice in how they cut their hair or wear particularly revealing clothes or dance in a sexual manner, those should remain their own.
We choose our icons. If you don’t support Cyrus’ personal life choices, choose differently.
Or turn off the TV and go spend time with the people in your life that you do admire.