- The Washington Times - Monday, August 17, 2009

Culture Challenge of the Week: Miley Cyrus and trampy teen idols

Moms everywhere are aghast at teen idol Miley Cyrus’ recent pole-dancing display and exaltation of Britney Spears as her hero.

The “Hannah Montana” superstar morphed overnight from a bubbly starlet into just another trashy singer, leaving moms feeling betrayed. Many thought they had finally found a “Hollywood type” their daughters could look up to.

I visited a friend last year and marveled at the wall-to-wall posters of Hannah Montana that adorned her 10-year-old daughter’s room. Like millions of other little girls, Hannah was her hero. From her clothes, music and dance moves to her hairstyle, this little girl (and her mom) were really “into” Hannah.

Then came the photo of Miley sprawled across a boy, her bright green bra in clear view. Next, the 15-year-old posed in nothing but a sheet for the cover of Vanity Fair.

After a public outcry, the teen and her superstar dad, Billy Ray, apologized, saying they had been tricked by the photographer. Right. The sorrow came only when parents protested en masse. Given that moms are desperate for role models for their daughters, we quickly forgave, only to be let down again this week when Miley pole-danced her way as the heir apparent of the cute-girl-gone-trashy star phenomenon. Left in her wake? Millions of preteen girls who are left thinking they have to be sex objects to “make it” in life.

How to save your family and daughters from being used

Face the facts: There is a pattern here and it will not change as long as we fail to recognize that our little girls are being used.

The mass marketers of Hollywood hype know that today’s youths spend some $200 billion a year of their own money on trinkets, music and the accessories that go with it. They also know that preteen girls are easily manipulated and that, more than anything else, want to be popular as they grow into young adults.

So, they discover cute, talented girls, make them superstars by playing on your daughter’s dreams of glitz, and morph the “wholesome” starlets into trampy sex stars as they grow older, hoping to take the dollars of your girls with them. They aren’t just turning the star into a trampy figure; their goal is to take your daughter with them.

The transition happens at lightning speed - after all, there are only four years between the innocence of 12 and the sultriness needed by 16 to keep the big bucks flowing. History repeats itself. You know what happened to Miss Spears. America’s little girls and their moms swooned and spent millions on Britney fashions. However, just as the Britney wannabes reached critical mass, the star’s light started to short-circuit. Her sexy ways quickly turned into bizarre behavior, drug problems and a raunchy attitude.

Not to worry, Vanessa Hudgens of “High School Musical” was there to take her place. But just as Vanessa hit her zenith in the eyes of our little girls, nude photos and other sexual revelations about her captured the headlines. Down came Vanessa and up went the posters of the twinkling, sparkly Miley.

Miley has made the transition to trampiness too. And millions of preteen girls have, once again, been manipulated into thinking that acting trampy is not only normal, but is the only way to succeed.

It’s time for moms to wake up and protect our little girls from being used. Find other moms who are sick of the abuse - it takes only a few friends to create your own subculture within the madness of the crazy pop culture. Finding allies is one of the most effective ways to fight back and win.

• Rebecca Hagelin’s book “30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family” is designed to equip parents in the culture war. Learn more at www.HowToSaveYourFamily.com.

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