September 8, 2013

KNISELY: Setting a terrible example


---- — I was going to let this whole thing go, but I have decided I just can’t.

And I should probably know better because my mom always told me, “Never argue with a fool because listeners can’t tell the difference.” But this won’t be the first time I’ve ignored my mom’s advice.

So, who’s the fool in question here? Miley Cryus.

Her “performance” at the MTV Video Music Awards was bad enough, but then her comments about it days later were just mind-numbingly infuriating.

In case you missed it (for which I would be envious), she stripped down to a skin-colored bikini and “danced” with a fully clothed Robin Thicke.

The performance was all people talked about for days. So much so that Miley finally responded. If the interview hadn’t come over the news wire at work, I likely would have not seen it. I wish I hadn’t.

She told a documentary crew she knew she’d be making history, as many VMA performances do, she said.

But what surprised her, she went on to say, was that people were still talking about it days later.

“We’re three days later and people are still talking about it. They’re overthinking it,” she said. “You’re thinking about it more than I thought about it when I did it. Like, I didn’t even think about it ‘cause that’s just me.”

Really, Miley?

How did you A) really think you were making history and B) if you were really making history, wouldn’t that be something you would want to put a little thought into?

How on earth can you construe the fact that you were grinding on a man in your underwear on national TV as “making history”? The fact that you called your performance historical is an insult to historians everywhere. I highly doubt anyone will ever study your performance in the name of history.

But I digress. All of that isn’t my real problem with her performance.

Because of how she started her career, whether she wants to change her image or not, she — like so many female performers who have taken a similar path — have a moral obligation to their young fans.

Little girls look to women to learn how to act. And yes, Miley, that includes you.

I don’t have a daughter but I have nieces, and it saddens me to think they could ever possibly look to women like Miley Cyrus for how to behave. To think they will grow up in a world where she is a role model in any capacity makes me shudder.

If I sound like I’m up on a soapbox right now, it’s probably because I am. There are few things in this world that will throw me up on a soapbox faster than women setting a bad example for girls. Women ignoring their responsibility to the next generation pushes me to the edge, and then when someone blatantly disrespects that obligation, I get angry. Clearly.

So, Miley, you have freedom of speech and you’re welcome to do whatever you want. But, since you’re trying so hard to be an adult, let me give you some advice. Part of being an adult is understanding the limits of your freedom. You may have the right to do something, Miley, but that doesn’t make it right.

And the message that you sent to your young fans isn’t right. In fact, it’s wrong. Your actions told all those little girls watching you that it’s cool to disrespect yourself. That’s it OK to prance around half-naked and degrade yourself for a man. That it’s history-making to provocatively touch a married man.

And whether you like it or not, Miley, your obligation to those younger fans supersedes your right to say and do whatever you please. You trained these young girls to look up to you a long time ago and now you have to stand by that.

And when chosen to perform on the VMAs, you should have stood up for yourself and for all those girls watching at home.

So, if you want to be seen as an adult, Miley, here’s a tip: Act like one.

Misty Knisely is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5155 or at