Because Belle Grows Up To Be Miley
August 28th, 2013
Okay, first off, a few disclosures. I didn’t watch Miley Cyrus’ outrageous/disgusting/raunchy/pick-an-adjective performance at the VMAs. I didn’t actually know what VMA stood for when it started appearing all over my newsfeed. I have no idea what “twerking” is. And I’m okay with that.
But I’m blogging about Miley today because her performance ties into some of the other posting I’ve done about the Disney princess culture.
Spurred by a Little Mermaid flashback, I had relaxed the fatwa against the princess pantheon in our house lately – even going so far as to buy Buggie the Sleeping Beauty doll he so desperately coveted – but it still sits uncomfortably with me at times. This is one of those times.
The problem is this: Disney Princesses are a gateway drug. And they lead places I do not want my little girls following.
It starts with Belle. She’s beautiful. Wholesome. Refreshing. Non-threatening. Sure, there are problems with the portrayal of women in the Disney movies, but honestly, look at her.
Then, once little girls “age out” of the Disney Princesses (which they are doing earlier and earlier – now by about age 8), they slide seamlessly into Disney’s real-girl programming thanks to aggressive marketing by our friends at Disney.
So Belle morphs into Hannah Montana.
Which still doesn’t seem all that bad. Average teenager by day, wholesome rock star by night? Moms, what’s not to like? Look at her bright smile, remarkably restrained makeup, and lack of cleavage. So we embrace our friend Hannah and allow our daughters to fixate on her…
Then one day we wake up to this:
Oh dear lord. Hannah Montana, what on earth went wrong?
Let’s assume our little girl was eight when Hannah Montana burst onto the scene in 2006. She fell in love with Miley and we let her because she seemed harmless – a good role model, even.
Well, now our little girl is fifteen and her idol is prancing around on stage practically naked.
Houston, we have a problem.
The problem is, those little girls have been tracking right along with Miley. They’ve been learning lessons (whether they/we intended them to or not) about what it means to be a girl, where their value lies, and how they should approach their sexuality.
And I, for one, do not want this girl teaching my daughters anything about their sexuality. Thanks.
As parents, we wind up dealing with the fallout of the Miley disaster all because Belle is so enchanting when she sings about seeking adventure in the great wide somewhere. I’d love to believe that Miley Cyrus were the exception to the rule, but history clearly teaches us that she’s not.
I don’t know the answers. I’m not ready to completely ban the princesses from our house. And it’s easy to sit here and say that I won’t let Miss Mouse and Birdie (or Buggie) start watching the real-kid Disney shows, but I don’t know what will happen when my kids come bounding home from school, all aglow over the Next Awesome Girl.
I try hard to fill their heads with positive messages and images and to teach them that girls are so much more than a pretty face and perky boobs.
I just wish Miley and her foam finger weren’t out there sending the exact opposite message every day.