WWDD

11 08 2009

I can’t really recall when Hannah Montana became a household name in our home, but over the past few years ‘sweet niblets’ has wormed its way in to my daughters’ vocabulary, amongst other yokel phrases.  And the few episodes I caught a glimpse of seemed innocent enough to feed no worries into my mind.

A year ago she made a splash for posing nude, albeit covered by a sheet, in a pose that mirrored early Marilyn shots.  I was fairly bothered, knowing that this is who my daughter idolizes, but after the chaos, Miley came out and said she didn’t realize it would look that way and that she was embarrassed.  And I bought the line.  I mean, she’s a young girl, I believe she was 14 at the time, and she is living in a glamourized world, being photographed by one of the world’s foremost photographers and I could believe she got caught up in the moment.  I was surprised that her parents didn’t look at their daughter staring seductively into the lens while holding up a sheet to cover the goods, but perhaps since they don’t look at their daughter sexually they didn’t get it.  Within a week I was busy explaining how that pose looks to others as I deleted pictures my daughters had taken of themselves covered by a sheet.  I made sure they understood that their little idol had too been confused and embarrassed, unaware that people could look at young girls that way and on we went in our merry little way.

Then last night happened.

My daughters and I settled down to watch OMG the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana on the Teen Choice Awards show.  I want to re-iterate that last bit.  Teen.  This covers the ages 13 to 19.  I cast a sideways glance at my husband when Ellen commented that viewers could win $1000 to have someone buy them some beer, but it’s Ellen.  She’s an adult and she’s been breaking barriers for years.  Then Sean Kingston comes on with his backup dancers shimmying up and down poles.  Again, he’s an adult.  But I still sent my daughters down the hall to brush their teeth – they don’t need to witness this type of behaviour at their age.

Finally, not yet an hour in, we hear that Miley is coming and I see the preview of her shorts and go-go boots and black bra top.  My youngest daughter, who is 12, shot me a look, knowing I would say something.  But I held my tongue.  Obviously it knew that it would have more than reason to speak later.

The show begins with Miley prancing out of a mobile trailer, flanked by girls who are also wearing their bras in view and they begin dancing in a provocative manner, not yet a minute in she and her ‘posse’ are dry humping the air as she raise and lower their hips in  moves that really should be done over a man’s lap by women ten years older than they are.  Then comes the ice cream cart.  For whatever reason, the choreographer decided that the scene needed Miley dropping down a pole and rising back up again like some opening scene in Showgirls.  All in all, she emulates the pole dance move for only a moment or two before hopping back down and showing off her hip action.  It was at this point though that our tv went off.

My daughters are confused, I am in shock and I don’t yet know how to handle this situation.  If you watch her television show, it is innocent and devoid of pole dancing 101 moments.

And a spokeswoman for Disney said, “Disney Channel won’t be commenting on that performance, although parents can rest assured that all content presented on the Disney Channel is age-appropriate for our audience – kids 6-14 – and consistent with what our brand values are.”

And I want to believe that.  But this is their client, their star.  What do they plan to do about her behaviour?

I’ve heard the arguments that all teens dress this way and dance this way and that in other cultures this is a socially acceptable behaviour.  And if she wasn’t star of a show targeted to young girls who are six to fourteen, I could agree.  But we’re talking about someone who depends on primarily pre-teen girls to earn a living.  We’re talking about someone who portrays herself on one hand to be a part of a wholesome family show!

From what I gather she has one season left of Hannah Montana and I am sure Disney execs plan to milk that cash cow for all it is worth so no chance that they will drop it like it’s hot when they only have her income for so much longer, but that in and of itself says so much more about their standards.

If Annette had pulled a move like that, Disney would have fired his star actresses for it – I have no doubt in my mind that this is a fact.  As an example, she had to quit working for Disney to star in the Beach Party movies because he would not let her wear promiscuous attire like this.  But somehow today it isn’t about values, unless we are talking in a monetary sense.  We as parents are left entirely to fend off the vulgarity and sexuality on our own, against the tide.  And while yes, that is my job as a parent, why is it that outlets such as Disney which used to be a company that we could count on to provide entertainment suitable for the entire family, have decided to jump on to the sex sells bandwagon and permit their star incomes to behave in less than appropriate manners for their age?

For me personally, as a mother of two daughters in the target audience range – I will not be permitting any further Hannah Montana shows, CDs, licensed paraphernalia nor glimpses into her world of smut in this house.

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