The Teen Choice Awards are supposed to be a fun awards event toned down to be family-friendly and appeal to teens, but this year two scandals involving nude pictures of Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Greene and all the attention focused on Miley Cyrus’ performance that has since been referred to as “pole dancing” has probably made a lot of parents fearful of the young starlets that their teenage daughters are looking up to. So do parents really have to worry about their daughters begging to have stripper poles installed in their homes, and are all of these scandals involving nude pictures contributing to sexting?
I think the answer here is yes and no. Miley Cyrus’ performance with the pole on top of a hot dog stand (it was supposed to be the pole that would hold the umbrella on top of the stand, so at least performance planners attempted to somewhat take away the “stripper” connotation) accomplished what she probably wanted it to; it said, “hey, I’m growing up and want to change my image.” She has already dated a much older guy and written an autobiography, after all, so it seems that she sees herself as a little older than what she is. Miley Cyrus also seems to admire Britney Spears, and her image and career path now are shockingly similar to that of the troubled star.
I grew up during the whole Britney Spears debacle and remember the hoopla around her skimpy outfits and sexy performances, with parents constantly complaining about her being too sexy. Britney Spears’ downward spiral should be a lesson to Miley Cyrus and her parents and other connections: being a sex symbol at such a young age is probably not a good thing. It appears that Britney Spears did not handle all of the attention well, and she might have been better off if she did have more parental guidance and hadn’t had people trying to “market” her.
However, if Miley Cyrus is at least a little reigned-in, she may not go the same route as Britney Spears, and this whole pole-dancing debacle might be one of the only scandals she’ll have to face in her young life. She made it through the whole ‘Vanity Fair’ cover ordeal with an upbeat and positive attitude, and, despite having even more attention focused on her than Britney thanks to the likes of Perez Hilton and Twitter, she still seems to be pretty well-grounded and close to her family (something that is extremely important for the well-being of a teenage girl). I remember wanting to dress like Britney Spears in high school, but I didn’t wear skimpy outfits and too much makeup every day, and I eventually grew out of that phase. I think it just depends on the personality of the teen admirer on how far they take their idol worship.
What I think parents have to worry about more are the scandals involving nude pictures (and not the Miley Cyrus ‘Vanity Fair’ cover). Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Greene are both role models to young girls through the movies they have been in, which both appeal to teens. Therefore, by the two of them taking nude pictures of themselves, they are sending a message to teens that this is okay. With texting being such a problem already, these scandals involving nude pictures are likely just contributing to it.
So when it comes to role models for girls, I’d say Miley Cyrus isn’t the real problem here. She’s just trying to grow up, something that all teen girls do that’s pretty normal. She’s pushing the envelope a little, but she hasn’t gone too far just yet (she really wasn’t using the pole like a stripper would). On the other hand, teens taking nude pictures of themselves is not normal, so Miley Cyrus and her “pole-dancing” look pretty tame next to Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Greene, and their nude pictures. If these girls really want to show that they are responsible, mature, and grown-up, perhaps one of them needs to speak out against sexting; after all, helping those that look up to you is part of what being a role model is all about, and few teen stars are taking the time to thank their fans by giving them good advice.