Miley Cyrus Isn't A Role Model For Your Kids: That's Your Job


Celebrity Sex Scandal: Miley Cyrus VMA Performance
If you're harshly criticizing Miley Cyrus and her behavior, take a look at your own shortcomings.

I'm sure by now youve either seen or heard about the performance by Miley Cyrus on the VMAs. Let me start by saying that I didn't like it at all. It showed little creativity and far less talent by her or any of the performers. I watched the show with my three teenagers and they weren't fans either. In fact, I think they all agreed that it was "gross."

I've since read numerous blogs criticizing Miley, our sexist culture, the "industry" and the lack of modesty among today's young people. I don't disagree with any of that. Miley's performance was uncomfortably sexual, bordering on pedophilia as she gyrated on stage with the twice-her-age married Robin Thicke. It was painful and uncomfortable to watch. It was neither sexy nor appealing, and none of it looked like the actions of an empowered young woman. 

Yet, the vicious attacks on the 20-year-old Miley hurt worse than watching her performance. The calls of slut, whore, idiot, screwed up — and worse — made my heart hurt for a girl just five years older than my daughter. I don't believe that Miley is a victim in this situation, nor is she without agency. Yet I do believe that she is a 20-year-old surrounded by mixed messages and people who may not have her best interest at heart. Maybe compassion instead of condemnation should be in order. 

And here's what I would ask each of you who are so angrily criticizing her: have you never done something simply dreadful that you regretted almost instantly? Did you make all of the right decisions when you were 20? I certainly didn't, and much of the mischief that I engaged in at that age was far more dangerous to myself and others than lewd dancing with some bad tongue action. Luckily, I wasn't famous enough to have millions view my dreadful deeds. Yet I am as guilty as Miley, and I'm guessing most of us probably have a few events in our past that aren't so pretty. Why is it so easy for all of us to judge another so readily, and with such viciousness? 

The comments about Miley's mother also leave me scratching my head: "Where was her mother in all of this?" I'm guessing that if Miley is like most of the 20-year-olds I know, she actively pursues the things her mother tells her not to. I did, and truth be told, still do. Being 20 is confusing. It's scary, and I'm sure it's even harder when the world wants you to look and behave as if you were still a 12-year-old country bumpkin. Miley doesn't owe it to you or your children to be a good role model. It would be nice if she was, but ultimately that's not her job. It's yours. 

Until I was a mother, I was one judgmental, self-righteous, pain in the ass. Having children knocked some sense into me, brought perspective to a crazy world and forced this arrogant know-it-all to stop and take note of her less than perfect self. Judging Miley doesn't make you and I better people. Making fun of her, even if she seemed to ask for it, is still bullying. It's still the tearing down of another flawed human.

Is that really the world we want to live in? I want Miley to put on some clothes and make better choices but I can't be too hard on her because I was once a confused, scared, attention-seeking 20-year-old who made some pretty rotten choices herself. I'll start judging her more harshly when I'm perfect — which ought to be any day now. 

Lisa Kaplin is a psychologist and life coach at

You can reach her at

More celebrity sex content from YourTango:

Article contributed by

Dr. Lisa Kaplin

YourTango Expert Partner

Dr. Lisa J. Kaplin is a life coach and psychologist you can reach her at:


Location: Chicago, IL
Credentials: CPC, ELI-MP, MS, PsyD
Other Articles/News by Dr. Lisa Kaplin:

Hate Your Kid's Idol? 3 Tips For Getting Real About Role Models


My 16-year-old daughter loves Beyoncé; she loves her music, her strong pro-woman message and her enviable dance moves. I won't deny, as a grown woman who likes upbeat music, I have some Beyoncé love myself. But my opinion changes when I think of her as my daughter's role model because I find some of Beyoncé lyrics, outfits, and ... Read more

Back Off, Parents! Are Your Fears Making Your Kid Afraid Of Life?


This week I sent one of my children off to college and my other two off to high school. If the news is any indication of the state of the world, I should probably be terrified to death. Should I have warned my children to watch out for rapists, murderers, machine-gun-toting high school terrorists, thieves, cheaters, drunk drivers, drug pushers, and the like? ... Read more

Ladies, Here's How To Get That Raise You Deserve


We're going to be honest. Gathering up the courage to ask your boss for a raise is probably as nerve racking as being chosen for the hunger games — Once you're in, you don't know if there's a way out. But it really shouldn't be that way. Women have faced unfair pay rates for years; we work hard for our money so why ... Read more

See More

Latest Expert Videos
Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

Most Popular