Our Sunday paper, The Sacramento Bee, always includes a little celeb magazine-insert called PARADE, providing celebrity interviews and photos. Yesterday’s PARADE featured an in depth interview with Miley Cyrus titled, Nobody’s Teen Queen. And she made that point quite clear. She’s gonna do what she wants to do. Or to quote her, “Dude, I choose!”
Miley also spoke her mind about her Christianity, going to church, and the revealing way she dresses. Her opinions in short:
“I’m spiritual in my own way.”
“I don’t necessarily define my faith by going to church every Sunday.”
And her risqué attire?
“Suddenly I’m a slut. That’s so old-school.”
Hmmmmm. More on that in a minute.
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about Miley. For a long time I jumped to her defense. After all, she’s just a teenager, and I know I did some STUPID things when I was her age. But as time progressed, the innocent Hannah Montana has begun to fade and a more risqué Miley is beginning to emerge. The pinnacle was probable the Teen Choice Awards where she not only did her little pole dance, but she wore a dress that would have made J-Lo blush. I spoke my mind clearly about that the day after that event.
In this PARADE interview she addresses criticisms like these. I think you’ll find her reasoning disappointing.
First, let me be very clear. I can’t possibly begin to understand what it’s like to be the subject of this type of daily media frenzy. It would get pretty tiring being followed to school, the grocery store and even church. This kind of harrassment has to be some of the most difficult aspects about being a celeb. I can’t imagine getting out of a swimming pool only to have my picture appear in some magazine criticizing my weight or my bathing suit. That being said, this difficulty doesn’t excuse me, Miley or anyone from our responsibility as a role model.
Miley is being watched by millions upon millions of kids. Year after year Miley has been deemed the #1 hero among young kids, tweens and even teens. She’s the one to watch. MTV, the Oscars, the Teen Choice Awards all know this. That’s why they book her. She brings a HUGE fan base. Miley is idolized, imitated, looked up to and copied by kids of all ages.
Everyone knows, with great leadership, comes great responsibility. Here’s where Miley keeps falling short. She continues to make bad decisions, decisions that even her fans recognize as below par. Last year, her own fans voted her as “the worst celebrity influence” of the year, along with Britney and Kanye. (Wow, that’s pretty low!) And when she’s called on it, she usually quick to retort. Such is the case in yesterday’s PARADE:
My job first is to entertain and do what I love, and if you don’t like it, then change the channel. I’m not forcing you to watch me. I’m not forcing you to talk about me. I would do that pole dance a thousand times again, because it was right for the song and that performance. But, dude, if you think dancing on top of an ice-cream cart with a pole is bad, then go check what 90% of the high schoolers are really up to. It’s funny. I don’t know if a lot of parents remember what they were like as kids. But I’m like, ‘Dude, as if you were an angel!’”
I guess that’s her defense. The old, I’m not as bad as others. And don’t forget the gool ol’, Oh yeah, I bet you weren’t perfect either! (I particularly liked that one when I was 13)
Convincing defense. Try those in court.
When asked about church, Miley gave us a glimpse of her faith as well.
“My faith is very important to me,” she says. “But I don’t necessarily define my faith by going to church every Sunday. Because now when I go to church, I feel like it’s a show. There are always cameras outside. I am very spiritual in my own way. Let me make it clear, though—I am a Christian. Jesus is who saved me. He’s what keeps me full and whole. But everyone is entitled to what they believe and what keeps them full. Hopefully, I can influence people and help them follow the same path I am on, but it is not my job to tell people what they are doing wrong.”
Is it hard being openly Christian in Hollywood?
“People are always looking for you to do something that is non-Christian,” she answers. “But it’s like, ‘Dude, Christians don’t live in the dark.’ I have to participate in life. If I wear something revealing, they go, ‘Well, that’s not Christian.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to go to hell because I’m wearing a pair of really short white shorts.’ Suddenly I’m a slut. That’s so old-school.”
I appreciate that she gives Glory to God in most her interviews; and I like that she’s not ashamed to talk about Jesus. But when I talked about this part of the interview with my own kids, we discussed two concerns:
1. No matter how difficult it is to get to church and connect with other Christians… never give up on it. The Bible is clear throughout that we need fellowship with other believers. Just last week we were studying this in Hebrews.
Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)
13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
The Bible is filled with passages that talk about the need for fellowship with other believers.
2. Where is Miley getting her values from? She said she’d do the pole dance 1,000 times again because it was “right for the song.” Her reasoning is basically, At least it’s not as bad as some! Or perhaps modesty is just “old school.”
When my son, almost Miley’s age, first saw Miley in that dress at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards, he said, “Oh my!” Maybe Billy Ray has never sat Miley down and talked to her about how visual guys are. Maybe Miley has never studied what the Bible says about lust. I feel bad for her if she’s ignorant about these truths. But someone needs to tell her what happens when she flashes her jugs to the world. It affects the boys around her when she dips on a pole like a stripper. Why do you think secular critics threw a fit when she did it?
Furthermore… like it or not, Miley is a role model. Young girls are going to follow her lead. Prom dresses are becoming more low cut year after year. Modesty is disappearing. Miley could choose to go against the flow of Hollywood in this respect. But instead, she’s choosing to conform.
Perhaps that’s because Biblical truths are being deemed “old school.”