The Big Issue : Edition 444
THeBigissue25OcT–7NOV2013 29 culture police Fiona Scott-Norman I wonder If, were I a mother, I’d give more of a hoot about Miley Cyrus and her improbable tongue writhing from every media portal. Probably. My peers, many of whom are the parents of impressionable tweens, are uniformly Po’d at Miley’s shedding of her disney character Hannah Montana so, shall we say, brusquely. “Think of the children,” they’re blogging, understandably aghast at the abrupt implosion of one of the few wholesome role-model oases they’d staked out for their daughters. And fair enough, too. The Hannah Montana brand has been shattered by Miley’s determined metamorphosis into breast-flaunting independent artiste, twerker and sledgehammer-licker. And that’s an awkward subject to field with a radiant child, gazing trustingly up at you from beneath her mauve Hannah MontanaTM lampshade, bedspread and 100% cotton nightie. “Mummy,” youngsters by the open cut mine-load are asking plaintively after copping an inadvertent eyeful of Ms Cyrus’s groin, “why isn’t Miley wearing any pants?” The answer, baldly, is that Miley doesn’t give a toss ‘about the children’, and is in no mood to facilitate on behalf of her fanbase’s parents. I reckon she’s had Hannah freaking Montana up to pussy’s bow, and is in the midst of comprehensively smashing that goody two-shoed disney biatch’s face in. I haven’t seen someone having so much fun destroying the joint since the final scenes of Django Unchained. I won’t say I’m on board with all her choices. She’s been darned ungracious to Sinead o’Connor and Rolling Stone can give me 18 cover stories, but I’m not getting the name of the mag tattooed on the soles of my feet. But part of me is watching admiringly and giving a slow hand clap and low whistle. why? Because this is the most comprehensive transition of a child star from ‘adorable girlhood’ to ‘I’ve got a functioning vajajay/adult career’ in known history. Adolescence, and I’ll give you readers a moment to reflect with sombre discomfort upon your own, is blazingly awkward for everyone concerned. It is particularly egregious for child stars. Somehow they have to negotiate the attainment of sexual maturity not only with the world watching, but with the world, mostly, going “Ugh, that’s disgusting. why can’t you be more like you were when you were eight?” Tough gig. one of the most uncomfortable images I’ve ever seen was a bikini pin-up that nikki ‘Strawberry Kisses’ illustrationbygregbakes;originalphotographbymilesstandish All grown up, Miley Cyrus hAs stripped off And stAMped on her CorporAtely grooMed disney Childhood – And who CAn blAMe her? cutting loose » For virtually more FSN, visit fionascottnorman.com.au, or follow her on Twitter @FScottNorman. webster did for Zoo in 2006, to celebrate her 19th birthday – and Anzac day. eugh. It seriously creeped me out. In retrospect, though, the awkwardness was all mine; to Google the image today is to see a perfectly alright young woman in a modest two piece, wearing a military helmet and a peering back over her shoulder. There is nothing to distinguish her from any other model who poses for a lads’ mag, apart from a lack of implants, spray tan and brazen eyes. And if it’s okay for them – for lingerie models, burlesque performers, performance artists, contemporary dancers, strippers, pop stars and every young woman going to every nightclub, ever – to wear rather little and appear to enjoy it, why isn’t it okay for a 20-year-old Miley Cyrus? All women were ‘Hannah Montana’ once, when we were innocent and sweet and children. Then we grow up, shit gets real, and the majority of us have a period of flashing our knicker gussets to see what happens. If we’re honest, we look back fondly on that time as our ‘woohoo!’ era. Miley Cyrus is having quite the ‘woohoo!’ Good on her. The hand-wringing in her general direction is simply not taking into account the stupendous amount of pressure she’s alleviating. In 2008, when the TV show Hannah Montana was at its peak, it had 200 million viewers globally. An article published in 2009 in South Africa’s Daily Dispatch made the comparison: if Hannah Montana watchers were a country, they’d be the fifth-largest country in the world, just ahead of Brazil. The franchise was reportedly so important to disney that in february 2008 the company convened an 80-person, all-platform international meeting to discuss Hannah Montana’s future. If you’re worried that Miley’s being exploited right now, it’s worth considering that a spot of twerking and a revealing leotard is small potatoes compared to where she’s been. disney is a multinational corporation; now she has a manager and a hit single on her own terms. Thinking of the children, that’s a more powerful role model than a groomed disney child star. I will agree, though, it’s time to ditch the nightie.