Kristia Cavere Markarian
Can't be tamed
By Kristia Cavere Markarian
November 16, 2010

With her eighteenth birthday one week away, it seems that, more than ever, Miley Cyrus can't be tamed even when her sexualized new image is causing her popularity and her profits from sales to drop. Her new video, "Who Owns My Heart," features Miley writhing in bed with no pants, with brief flashes of her black underwear, and her provocatively dancing with both genders. This video recently caused the traditional group Parents Television Council, who coincidentally has her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, on their advisory board, to release a statement expressing their disappointment.

This is not the first time that Miley has caused controversy for a glaring display of inappropriate sexuality given her young age. When she was 15, Miley posed in nothing but a bed sheet for Vanity Fair magazine. At 16, she did a pole dance on top of a moving ice cream cart at the Teen Choice Awards. Later that year a video leaked of Miley performing a lap dance for a 44-year old director.

Despite the excessive media attention that Miley's sexy new image, songs, and videos have received, her latest "Can't Be Tamed" album has 72 percent fewer first-week sales than her 2008 debut album. Even after a series of suggestive performances of the title single, the song quickly disappeared from Billboard's Hot 100 chart after only 10 weeks, whereas last year's hit "Party in the USA" spent 28 weeks as one of the Top 10 songs.

The radio and retail performance of Miley's newest music should have caused her to retreat to her previous more innocent ambiance. This past July, the New York Times published a story stating that it is the fans of Miley, even more than their protective mothers, who are questioning her new path and moving on. The article mentioned a recent survey in which only 24 percent of those aged 13 to 17 said they liked or liked her a lot, compared with 48 percent in 2008.

The media and entertainment industry continually promote a distortion of sexuality that is driven by ratings, profit, and radically liberal ideologies. Their goal is to have early consumers, so they twist the appeal of adult clothing, products, and activities and market them to children. The real whores are the executives who sexualize young people.

In her book "The Lolita Effect," M. Gigi Durham, Ph.D. gives disturbing examples of the commercial sexualization of very young girls. Abercrombie and Fitch created thong underwear for pre-teens with the words "Wink, Wink," and "Eye Candy." Playboy tee shirts are now being made for girls as little as three years old. In 2007, the toy manufacturer Tesco began selling a pink plastic "Peekaboo Pole Dancing" kit, with a garter and play money included.

Some might argue that art simply follows society, but we can see that this is not true. There have been strippers for millennia, however, it wasn't until recently that teenagers and pre-teens, and even girls smaller than that, were encouraged to practice stripping until the artists, led by the ideology of the executives, influenced this.

While it is acceptable to have an acknowledgement of sexuality, a bombardment of debasement is exploitative and shows no respect for the young women and men receptive to that message. The shock value of graphic sexuality and violence cannot replace real creativity and artistry, which can convey any number of messages with far less collateral damage and far more inspiration.

When it was first published in 1955, Vladamir Nabokov's novel "Lolita" caused an uproar over its portrayal of a sexualized adolescent. Those who were scandalized by pre-teen Lolita's affair with her stepfather conveniently ignore the subtlety of the influence of advertisements and movies upon her. The destruction of fictional Lolita's life imitated the very art that she was obsessed with.

Nabakov created a controversy hoping it would draw attention to the growing problem of sexualizing adolescents through advertisements and entertainment. Now these industries are steadfastly producing entire generations of Lolitas, and the societal outrage is suppressed and disregarded by the very media who profits from the continued exploitation of young girls.

© Kristia Cavere Markarian


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Kristia Cavere Markarian

Kristia Cavere Markarian and her husband, Charles, are committed Christians. Her background is in finance, national security, and education. Everyone is welcome to connect with Kristia through Twitter and Facebook. On her website, she writes every weekday about faith & values, marriage & relationships, child-rearing, etiquette, current events, and all of life's joys:


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