Growing up in the limelight

2010 May 11
by Kirsten

Friends, venture with me, if you will, to the place of preteen angst. For me, I shall envision my Caboodle, stocked with blue mascara and glittery lip gloss; scrunchies of every shade and color; and Doc Martens. Those objects sweep in the memory of my desires to be cool and funny and pretty and smart and older and just a little edgier than my parents liked.

I’m assuming it’s a totally different experience for guys, but I don’t know. You fellas are as complex in your simplicity to me now as you were then. Just check out Kirk Cameron there on the left. Who knew the simple act of one-sleeving it could be so appealing?

Friend drama, boy dilemmas, parent problems — they all seemed so epic. And the lack of any meant I wasn’t important enough, noticed enough, awesome enough. My life hung in the tension of defining who I was in the coolest terms possible, while making sure everyone agreed with my definition. What a painful time. Growing pains are not as fun as Mike Seaver would have you believe.

Thank God my audience at that time was limited to the handful of friends and family who made my universe. But how (potentially) tragic for those whose universe literally spans nations. Like Miley Cyrus.

Cyrus captured tweenies’ hearts as Hannah Montana, a fully clothed, innocent-enough character on the Disney channel. But Disney ushered her into the limelight, much like Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. No need to detail that sexy, provocative limelight, which casts more darkness than light.

It seems Cyrus has crossed over, her transition from preteen to woman for all to see. Her image now fits the mold of nearly all Hollywood women … donned in black leather scraps placed together as an outfit, serving up sass and sex appeal in an illusion of power that says “do what you want and you’ll be happy.” The epitome of worldly desires that lead to death and destruction, if you ask me.

For Hollywood celebrities who come of age with a fan base bigger than their parents (hi, mom!), their influence has power. Impressionable viewers see Mike Seaver or Hannah Montana on their favorite show one day and the tabloids the next — though the gossip surrounding each is much different. And, like, 20 years apart. How much damage (or influence) do you think this has?

4 Responses leave one →
  1. malia permalink
    May 11, 2010

    Oh. my. god. re: the video…(i have other, “cutesy” things to say about the beginning of your blog)…it’s very dark, reminds me of Lady Gaga. I am getting sick of these videos that show grotesque figures and dancing like everyone is in a huge satanic orgy. Disgusting. Especially from young women like Miley. An image like that can do nothing good for your heart and mind.

  2. May 11, 2010

    I’ve been reading some interesting things lately about these former Disney tweenie stars turning into sex symbols(Britney, Christina, Miley, etc.). Most of it seems centered around this concept called Cognative Dissonance. The theory of it says that people get an uneasy feeling when they hold two contradictory ideas at the same time. That uneasy feeling drives them to change their beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors to reduce the uneasiness.

    It seems like this is exactly what they are doing to the young fans of these artists. They first hook them in when they are young, watching as Hannah Montana grows up as a modest, wholesome girl. And then they throw in the dissonance in the form of these over the top sexy videos. The result is that the young fans feel weird watching because they thought Hannah Montana was a nice wholesome girl, but now they’re subconsciously driven to reduce the uneasy feeling by changing what they’ve thought to be true up until now. Most likely they will choose to think that there’s nothing wrong with what Hannah Montana has now become because she’s “liberated” somehow by “expressing” her sexuality. It makes me sad knowing that kids are eating this kind of thing up.

  3. Margo permalink
    May 11, 2010

    True, I felt there was excess in your kaboodle – little did I know how innocent it all was!

    AND NOW – Where is the moral compass? Why does society encourage this? Have parents become too tolerant or just complacent?

  4. May 12, 2010

    Craziness… yeah, some decry the oppression of women in the sex slave trade of Eastern Europe and around the world as horrible and would say that this is some sort of response to such oppression of woman. But the idea that a woman can’t be subjugated or enslaved by appearing in what in most normal cultures would consider pornography seems kind of contradictory doesn’t it?

    I’m all for the liberation of women, but seriously… Disney… you must stop with your lies about what makes a woman free (kids=playtime, teens=adoration, young adults=sex, adults? well adults don’t really exist in Disney Land do they?).

    And it’s a much larger topic than this comment allows, but both Hannah Montanna and “Badass” Miley Cyrus are False/Evil worldviews brought about by Disney.

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