Ever since Miley Cyrus twerked with teddy bears on MTV last summer, the world has been clamoring for her breakdown.
Headlines will have you believe she’s the next Lindsay Lohan. The minute she canceled Tuesday’s Kansas City show, haters near and far began reporting whatever they wanted on the pop star’s illness that has led to more canceled tour dates.
She’s off the rails, TMZ said. Her dog died, and she self-medicated and partied herself into sickness. That’s the story the blogosphere would have you believe. Because, you know, a girl like Miley just can’t be sick. There’s no way she actually has been battling a sinus infection, had a serious reaction to the antibiotic Cephalexin and could take the better part of a month to recover. Because when a 21-year-old likes to spoof sexuality and openly invites fans on her coming-of-age discoveries, something has to be seriously wrong with her.
Maybe something’s wrong with the world.
Let Taylor Swift cancel a show. We’ll see a different dialogue. Everyone will believe she’s sick. No one questions that music superstar’s laundry list of ex-boyfriends, revenge songs and wedding crashing. Why? She looks the sweetheart part with her tasteful style and perfectly practiced surprised face at every awards show. I’m not shaming Taylor. She’s just being herself. And her talent earned the acclaim.
I just wonder: Does Miley deserve the disdain? I know she makes herself an easy target, a brand now built on shock value. But does her every move need to be made into a scandal?
There’s nothing salacious about her Instagram post at 5 a.m. from her hospital bed. “Over the hospital,” she wrote before dawn on Thursday, letting fans know she misses the stage. When I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep, social media is my friend, too. And yes, she’s sad she lost her dog. Wouldn’t anyone be? As for the crying and frustration, let’s be real: No one wants to be in the hospital.
Calm down with all of the stories of Miley’s devastation and self-destruction. Normal human emotions don’t equate to rehab.
No different from Taylor, Miley is being herself. People want so badly to buy into the hype machine that the ex-Hannah Montana is America’s bad girl, out to harm the children. Are you paying attention? Because Miley comes off more like 13-year-old Tina Belcher of the animated “Bob’s Burgers,” playing dress-up in Rihanna’s closet than a sex kitten out to brainwash a generation.
Miley is in that awkward stage between girl and woman. Even half-naked and gyrating, she’s goofy. She’s said before that she isn’t trying for turn-ons. She’s having fun and pushing boundaries.
At 21 she is in the middle of defining who she is, figuring out who she will become. And she’s living it in the form of one big selfie. Her circus of a stage show is her way of liberating herself from adolescent anxieties and owning her sexuality.
“People have made me seem like a character,” she says in the May issue of Elle. “So now I’m just enjoying playing a character of myself.”
As a kid, she was on that Disney payroll, she said, working harder as Hannah Montana than she does now: “I almost feel like I’m living out my rebellious teenage whatever now because I couldn’t when I was younger.”
Your early 20s are meant for rebellion. Had social media been this big 10 years ago when I was partying and taking control of who I thought I wanted to be, I know the pictures wouldn’t have always been pretty.
What about the message such stars send to children, people say. Parent them, then. Adults seem to forget the concerts we rocked out at and the songs we sang on repeat. Hence every generation’s scapegoat — a Madonna, Janet and Britney — someone to blame for every teen problem. Be honest. Did those songs and Victoria’s Secret packaging really make you a crazy person? Doubtful.
I’m a fan of Miley’s “Bangerz” album. I saw past the antics and listened. It’s more empowering than people might admit, sprinkled with anthems of independence, self-assurance, first loves and freedom.
Here’s some truth: With or without a pop star to sing about it, there is no stopping the anxious, hormonal and experimental party that is adolescence.