Cyrus’ Wholesome Appeal Waning

Although I never watched the popular Disney Channel TV series Hannah Montana as a kid, I am well aware of the influence the show had on my generation.  According to Billboard, Hannah Montana, which aired from 2006-2011, was one of the most watched shows of its time. Many children once idolized starring character Hannah Montana, played by actress and singer Miley Cyrus. Recently, controversy has sparked over Cyrus’ attempts to shed her Disney identity.

Cyrus’ good girl image began to fall apart long before her current escapades. Her song, “We Can’t Stop,” released June 3, 2013 is rumored to promote the use of drugs. On July 23, 2013 she inadvertently confessed to doing drugs through a text posted on Twitter. Later she released a music video for her song, “Wrecking Ball,” that features herself naked.

At the Video Music Awards (VMAs) on August 25, Cyrus performed to the song “Blurred Lines” with singer Robin Thicke. Cyrus twerked against him while wearing a plastic, flesh-colored bikini.

Junior Sabrina Barba watched the VMAs and said that Cyrus’ performance was “disturbing and wrong on so many levels.” Freshman Grace Shi was a fan of Hannah Montana as a kid, and said, “Her VMA performance was a bullet in my childhood.”

Cyrus’ recent behavior at the VMAs and the general change in the theme of her music has negatively affected her music and television career. According to Celebrity Davie-Brown Index, an index that measures celebrities based on consumer perception, Cyrus was among the top 3% for influence and trend setting in December 2010. By August 2013, her ranking had dropped to bottom 1% for appeal, aspiration, and endorsement, and bottom 20% for influence and trend setting.

Furthermore, in June 2013 she was named worst celebrity role model by over 2,400 parents. It’s not surprising that many parents disapprove of the influence celebrities can have on their children. Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Christina Aguilera are just a few former child stars that became bad role models for their young fan bases. Barba said, “I think if you’re so famous when you’re that young it kind of goes to your head. They feel like to get the fame back they have to do something crazy and outrageous.”

I agree with Barba; I believe that some people who grow up in the spotlight have a need for prominence, and will do anything for media attention. Growing up in the TV industry, they lack the discipline and direction that most conventional children receive.

I recognize that Cyrus has the liberty, as all artists do, to express herself through her art. However, I believe that her career is veering off the path with the way she is acting now, and she would be much more respected as an artist and person if she were to set a good example for those who look up to her.