"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." ~Victor Hugo
Like millions of other young girls in this country, my daughters were raised with the Disney girls. My eldest was a long-time fan of both Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff and witnessed with disbelief as their girl-next-door appearances slipped into sex symbol and their lives slipped out of control in a world designed to devour them whole. Where were their parents, I wondered, as they made bad choice after bad choice? Disney fame seemed to be a curse for the girls who grew up as role models for so many young girls.
My youngest daughter has been a fan of Hannah Montana for years. The values and lessons in the show, with her real Dad at her side, were comforting to us; we somehow believed that she would escape the fate of her predecessors. My daughter would say, ”She’s from the South, her dad won’t let her do sexy music videos…” Perhaps they left her for a long vacation, because it is hard to believe that her parents or the Disney executives who promote Hannah Montana would be ok with the soft porn music video, “Can’t be Tamed” that she just released.
The line between pornography and music videos has been blurry for a long time. A quick look at Christina Aguilera in her latest video Not Myself Tonight demonstrates that pornography has really crossed every line of society, including our children’s hip-hop culture. In this society, female equals sexualized if you hope to get any attention. Apparently, 17 is not too young to turn a Disney girl into the next piece of meat for society to devour.
The message is clear to all the pre-adolescent girls out there bearing witness to the seemingly inevitable transition from child star to sex symbol. Overt and intimidating sexual maturity is what makes female stars valuable. I am not sure whether the visuals or the lyrics were more disturbing. Several women in the audience were wearing birdcages as hats. Miley herself was cast as a new caged life form, complete with wings. Yet, as her sexual energy increases, she breaks out of the cage, all the while singing how she “can’t be tamed” and she “goes through men like money.” Oh good. The girl is 17. The cutaways to her lying on her back, waiting for her deflowering are borrowed from the classic view of the submissive, beautiful female waiting for…well you know. So much for the the romantic allure of young love…
I suppose I am reflecting my age and the concern of a mother who is raising girls in a world that is full of mixed messages about what it means to be female. On the one hand, we are living in a society that is seeing the dominance of women in the workforce and as family wage earners for the first time. On the other hand, we are promoting the end of courtship and intimate relationships by reinforcing the extreme sexualization of everything female.