I almost got in a big fight with my son on Facebook yesterday. I posted a link to an article talking about the work that Miley Cyrus is doing for homeless teenagers. He immediately responded to my post by calling her a “skanky-ho.” Whoa!
I feel I need to do some qualifying here for a moment. I am not always a comfortable when I watch her performances. I am sure it is my age (73) and coming up in a far different time and mindset from what we have now. I feel a bit embarrassed watching some of her movements that have been labeled lewd by many and clearly so by my son on Facebook. I try very hard to not be judgmental or to place negative labels on anyone just because I may not always enjoy what they do. I do recognize that our perceptions are driven by our religious beliefs, our cultural backgrounds and our own inhibitions. I have to confess, I am even a bit jealous that she can be so open with her own sexuality in such a public way. I can tell you, however, I really like her voice and see her as an amazing performer!
I recognize that Miley is a performer and how she performs has skyrocketed her to stardom, perhaps in similar ways to those we saw with Madonna’s rise to fame. Only in this new, more flamboyant age, Miley has done it her way! Every generation has its ground-breakers. We can all look back and remember those performers that astonished us, embarrassed us and did things in ways we would never have imagined.
Sex sells. Why? We are sexual creatures. Sex is a primary driving force in our lives. It is a basic and very large part of our human and yes, animal nature. Prevalent morals and religions have tried for eons to suppress it and to turn it into something bad.
There is an article in the Huffington Post written by Marc Wayshak in which he discusses the marketing strategies used by Miley and those who promote her.
1. Be strategic
2. Be distinct
3. Market to your audience — and nobody else
4. Don’t take yourself too seriously
5. Create fans by fueling haters
Miley’s audience is young. Clearly the under 40 crowd is who buys her music. Her marketing strategy is aimed specifically to that age group and has skyrocketed her to stardom. Her art is performance – the goal to rise to the top in a market that kills off most who try. I certainly never heard of Miley Cyrus before her performance in “Wrecking Ball.” I knew of Hanna Montana but I never knew her as Miley Cyrus! Clearly, her marketing strategy took her from Disney into adulthood!
One of the comments my son made to me, “Her target market remains 6-14 year old girls. Just the kind of person you want your little girl emulating.” I haven’t seen anywhere that that is her specific target market, only those under 40. However, like everything available in a free market, parental discretion remains paramount in determining what you want your child to see. Do we get into banning books and movies again? Seriously? If you do not have control of what your child sees and hears, where are your parenting skills? Even if they were able to view some of her very explicit videos, it calls for conversation with your child, not to shame them but to talk about what is real and what is not.
Now we can see a true benefit coming from her rise to stardom with the foundation she has created that is focused on helping runaway teenagers (The Happy Hippie Foundation) of which (she claims) 40 % of homeless teenagers are LGBT kids who ran because of total lack of acceptance from those around them. What can happen to kids on the street is terrifying.Miley wants to help them. Because of who she is and how she is doing it, I have no doubt whatsoever that she will be successful! If you are a Facebook member I recommend that you “like” her Happy Hippie Foundation Page and then scroll down and watch some of the fabulous videos she is offering in her “Back Yard Sessions.”
At any rate, I am sure I will never win this argument with my son, at least not for another 20 years when he will be my age! But hey, I may still even be around then!
Deanne Quarrie. D. Min. is a Priestess of The Goddess. She is the author of five books. She is the founder of the Apple Branch where she teaches courses in Feminist Dianic Witchcraft, European Witchcraft and Druidic Shamanism. She mentors those who wish to serve others in their communities. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Ocean Seminary College and is the founder of Global Goddess, a worldwide organization open to all women who honor some form of the divine feminine.