Even the Kids Are Turning Against Miley

From “Teen Queen” to “Worst Celeb Influence,” what a difference a year makes.

From "Teen Queen" to "Worst Celeb Influence," what a difference a year makes for Miley Cyrus.

In case there are people out there who still think “she can’t be that bad if she’s on Disney," this news flash is for you: It took 44,560 kids’ votes in a poll at JSUK. (Just So You Know) to confirm that Miley Cyrus is the "Worst Female Celebrity Influence" of 2009!

Unexciting as this bit of information seems, the take away from this voting exercise is that kids are calling attention to the Miley Cyrus teen celeb travesty. Posing semi-nude in a bed sheet for Vanity Fair, pole dancing at the Teen Choice Awards, suggestive internet photos, and inappropriate lyrics in songs intended for tweens and teens are some of the poor choices the young artist has publicly made. Add the damaging over exposure on social media platforms — namely Twitter and YouTube — and you have a Miley publicity mess.

To observant parents, her antics are precisely the behavior battles faced in many homes; provocative outfits, questionable relationships, a distorted sense of entitlement, but I suppose she’s as much at fault as her own guardians.

This is what puzzles me even more. Aren’t the adults surrounding Miley Cyrus paying attention to the wooly ideals they’re thrusting on her?

Cyrus is a young, exceptionally gifted artist whose career dreams have been realized at an unprecedented pace, but it’s evident those dreams are being channeled through people who are more concerned with the bottom line; morally wayward business people interested in the dollar bills Cyrus is lining their pockets. Not of concern to them apparently: the shaping of this young girl’s ethics and those of the kids she influences — some as young as 5 years old!

I’m talking about the kids who sleep in bedding with Miss Cyrus’ image stamped on it, have the CD permanently lodged in the family car’s music player, and the elementary school aged kids who wear her line of clothing, carry backpacks and lunch boxes with her photo to school. The same children who spend time in front of the TV set after school watching Disney’s superficially innocent Hannah Montana.

Though Miss Cyrus claims she loves to be creative and is just an artist expressing herself, at 16 she’s still too juvenile to be fully aware of the consequences of her sleazy behavior  — especially if her parents endorse it. Also clouding her judgment is the hands-off approach her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, has adopted regarding editorial control of his daughter’s work, a tactic which could be starting to backfire.

When asked by Access Hollywood about his under-aged daughter swirling around a pole while singing “Party in the USA” at the Teen Choice Awards he replied, “She loves singing [and] songwriting.”

“I always tell her to love what you’re doing and stay focused for the love of the art and not worry so much about opinion,” said Mr. Cyrus, adding, “I give my kids a lot of freedom to make the art they want to make and make it in their own voice. I think it’s important.”

The multi-talented starlet possesses a unique combination of qualities that could take her down a long and productive entertainment superhighway; her frank personality comes through in movies as well as on stage. But, she is running into similar bumps on the road as teen Disney-made stars Lindsay, Brittney, and teen-mom Jaime Lynn Spears, who are still struggling to avoid crashing and burning.

The Miley Cyrus phenomenon isn’t likely to fade away anytime soon (to the chagrin of many parents, and now teens too!), but maybe her present entourage could be readjusted to include guidance so she can live a less disoriented childhood, emerge as a stable adult, and later on won’t look back on her teen years and say to themselves, “What were we thinking?”

Perhaps the ingenuous awards on the teen website are a sign that Miley is flying too low, and the control tower is asleep on the job. Fortunately, the teen radar is fixed on her position of privilege and is beeping loudly indicating the bottom is near.

Wake-up up there! A child is again being misguided by the money-making machines too busy tallying up the fortune she’s producing for all of them – perhaps to her own misfortune.

Recently, much hoopla was made about Miley abandoning Twitter, but maybe it’s one of the few good moves she’s made and hopefully not the last.