Monday, April 28, 2008

What's the Big Deal?

By now, I'm sure you've heard about the flap regarding Miley Cyrus. For those who haven't, a provocative picture of her was taken for Vanity Fair in which she appears to be nude, the necessary parts being covered by a bedsheet. (If you follow the Vanity Fair link, the picture in question is on page 2 of the story.)

Blogging mamas (and other mamas) everywhere are outraged. I was compelled to leave a comment on a post by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer, and I ended up having so much to say that I decided to repost it here:

I SO understand the desire for clean television shows and movies for our children. Our family draws the line at movies which take the Lord’s name in vain, so out of all the so-called children’s movies that come out, we average seeing one a year. Television is completely out of the question.

That being said, I am disturbed by how dependent children (and their parents) are on these forms of entertainment. We are created to worship. Why are we worshipping the wrong god? Why is it so incredibly important to HAVE to be entertained?

Because our family watches so little TV, we have more time to do family things together. We read wholesome books. We play games. We explore His beautiful creation. Not filling our hearts and minds with false idols makes it easier to “Set [our] affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

I, for one, am a little sick of hearing about how “grounded” and “well adjusted” Miley Cyrus is. Articles gush about her “faith”and that she is a “committed Christian”. Although she may very well be a Christian, I have to question the commitment of a person who raves that “Sex and the City” is her favorite TV show. And let’s not forget the pics of her flashing her bra. (Those were not Photoshopped, because she later apologized for them.)

I am not saying this to lambast the poor girl. (Assuming she is a Christian, she’s a far better person than I was at 15.) My problem lies with the way she is practically worshipped. It’s almost like parents are so disgusted with the Britney Spearses, the Lindsay Lohans and the Olesons that when the first seemingly clean celebrity comes along, they let their guards down and fall all over her.

Again, why is entertainment so stinking important?

Yes, Hannah Montana seems to be a nice, clean show. However, one must remember, the bottom line at Tinseltown is $$$. Once the nice, clean show starts sagging in the ratings, and once Miley’s fan base starts aging out of tween- and teen-aged programs, they will reinvent her. They are already pushing her to “mature”; the Vanity Fair picture is a prime example.

Even more disturbing are the comments that some people have made:

“Honestly, I really don't see what the big deal is. It is extremely hard to be in Hollywood and still live like you have morals. Just cause you're on a Disney show that seems somewhat wholesome, doesn't mean the actors or their families are. Children should be taught to have real life role models, not movie stars and singers.”

What’s the big deal, she asks?

A fifteen year old - one who is idolized by children as young as three - appears to be naked in bed. Her tousled hair, sultry eyes and pouty, painted red lips seem to say, “Was it good for you?”

To me - as well as any other parent who doesn’t want their little girls to be sexualized - that’s a big deal.

The other part of that post which bothered me was the implication that because it’s too hard to live a moral life in Hollywood, children shouldn’t idolize stars. This smacks of the same reasoning that celebrities such as Madonna have used when they said, “I didn’t ask to be a role model, so I am not a role model.” As though it were that simple. Like it or not, anyone who is in the public eye IS a role model. Preachers. Football players. Mayors. Coaches. And yes, celebrities. Just because it’s harder to be a role model in Hollywood doesn’t mean TV and movie stars can get a free pass.

I do agree that children should be taught to have real life role models. Accomplishing this, however, requires taking an unpopular stance. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t tell our kids, “Okay, you can watch Hannah Montana, but I forbid you to want to be like her.” Everything a child is exposed to becomes a part of her. What do you want your child to be made of?

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Phillipians 4:8


Pink Alligator said...

I totally agree. Several of Blondie's friends are obsessed with HM. I just don't get why a parent would want a child to be obsessed with another human being and actually encourage it since it's the "cool" thing to do. Blondie doesn't even know who HM really is and I prefer it that way. I'd rather her study REAL women that have mde a difference rather than a teen "idol". I think this is just a publicity stunt and I sure hope she doesn't turn out like the other teen idols before her.

Melanie said...

Thank you for writing this. We watch very limited tv and movies, and for this reason, my 8 year old has only seen an episode or 2 of HM BECAUSE HER GRANDMOTHER DIDN'T FOLLOW DIRECTIONS during a visit. She knows who she is from kids at school, and same grandmother has bought her HM clothes. I told her to take them back the first few times, but recently gave in, thinking "She doesn't get to watch the show, doesn't get the whole attitude part, it's just 'cute' to her". And I KNEW I was going against what I SHOULD do, but I gave in...just in time for this story to break. And I am so feeling that gentle smack from God reminding me that I have to be willing to make the un-cool calls. I am so convicted by your comments that to set ANY of those "stars" up as idols is so wrong, no matter how good they are. Same thing with High School Musical...grandmother has been buying that paraphenalia and I've not let daughter have any of it, though she also knows about it from school only. My own words to grandmother have been "it seems fairly innocent now, but I don't want to have to explain why it's okay now, but not sometime in the future when those stars mess up or 'mature' even more". Thank you for reminding me that I knew the right thing to do, but wimped out. I'm glad it was on something fairly small (in that she was barely a "fan" and had limited access) to prepare me for the bigger battles for my daughter's purity!