Saturday, May 22, 2010

Too sexy, too soon? Or just par for the course?

Parents are up in arms over Disney star Miley Cyrus' sexy new "Can't be Tamed" video -- which, incidentally, makes her previous hit video, the exposed-bra and short-shorts-wearing "Party in the U.S.A.," look like it was produced by PBS.

I understand Miley Cyrus' desire to reach out to a new target audience -- her "Hannah Montana" fan base is mostly 8 to 10 years old. And, as a former 17-year-old girl myself, and the stepmom of an about-to-be-17-year-old girl, I understand the very normal teenage need to be seen less as a child and more as an adult.

Some critics warn that Miley is following in Britney Spears's footsteps, breakdowns and all. But I think that Miley and her foray into caged lap-dancing is more the symptom than the problem itself. For every teenage star desperately trying to reach out to an older crowd (and be taken "seriously" as an adult), and for every self-professed virgin-until-marriage who falls short, you have scores of little kids whose parents encourage them to do things like this:

These little girls are amazing dancers, but are the moves (not to mention the outfits) appropriate for kids who haven't even hit double digits yet? Unlike Britney, Cristina, Miley and the bubblegum pop crowd, they're not oversexualizing themselves -- adults are doing it for them.

So, whose to blame? The parents who give their permission? The adults who come up with the choreography? Or society in general, for clamoring for more?

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