An Open Letter To Miley Cyrus

I just watched the “Ellen” interview with you and I am fascinated by the things you said about your work and your plans and your music and your relationship with your ex.  The first thing I would say is that, as a therapist, I wonder why you have so much anxiety. Anxiety — like a headache — is a sign that there’s something wrong in your life. I don’t know what that is — maybe always being “on”, maybe speaking/singing/performing for a gazillion people is too much. Maybe girls your age aren’t supposed to have that much to deal with. Yes, I know you’re a woman now, but the anxiety has been happening since you were a kid, you say. Maybe it’s just un-natural for a human being to have that much attention. Maybe there’s some problem inherent in the Disney model of kids having that much fame. Maybe there’s just a problem for you to have had to deal with it. Maybe there’s something else that caused your anxiety I don’t know, but I hope you can get a handle on it, and that you don’t use drugs as a way to cope because the world is full of dead people who tried that as a coping mechanism and you don’t need to be one more. Further, if you think your talent and/or legacy is worth more than your life, be reminded of Cory Monteith who died young and, apparently, with a lot of talent. He’s been “snubbed” by the Academy awards and is apparently unremembered by the Academy. In any case, whatever legacy he has won’t be getting any bigger. His death prevents him from doing anything else creative and yours would, too. So, whatever is causing you distress, I hope it goes away.

About you at the VMAs: you asked for the opinion of a “normal” person and something that’s constructive criticism, so here’s mine. As the father of two daughters, I can tell you that you miss the point. We’re not necessarily complaining about you at the VMAs, we’re complaining about ourselves. I’m well aware that it’s an illusion that you’re our daughter, or that we know who you are. We don’t have a clue who you are when you go home and look in the mirror. We don’t care that you — as an actual person — are an “artist”.  We care that a girl we thought we knew (a TV character, but nonetheless, one that we knew as cute and adorable and funny) could grow up and be so … sexual. We worry that she had to become sexual to be taken seriously. We worry that she felt she had to become sexual in order to be taken seriously. We worry that our actual daughters think that and we pray to God that we haven’t made them feel that way, because that means we are really sick as a society.  Remember the part in the interview when you said — about “the tongue thing” that you “don’t do dads and the tongue thing… cause that’s weird”. You’re right. It is. Dads shouldn’t want to do that with their daughters and we know that, but here you are, out doing it and we wonder why. Who taught you that you should?

I don’t really follow Robin Thicke’s career, but if the two of you rehearsed that action in advance, then he should have thought about what he was doing, because he (to all appearances, anyway) is older than you, so us watching you appear to commit a sex act with a man who could be your father(he was wearing a suit, you were wearing a bunny “onesy”)  should have rung some bells for him. as it did for us.  Without knowing you had rehearsed, I thought that. Knowing it makes me want to throw up on him. It was like pedophile porn and most of us guys out here in “normal land” aren’t pedophiles, so we were sickened by it, because we should be.

So here’s the thing: you aren’t the first female child star that decided to make the transition to adult roles by becoming sexual, and you won’t be the last. As a father to teenaged girls, I know that my girls will grow up and become sexual at some point. I don’t want to know about it. Sex is a wonderful, powerful, emotionally-laden thing, but it’s especially that because it’s between two people who love each other and it’s not about anybody else. In short, it’s a private thing.

There are so many ways my daughters will grow up that I can know about and want to — their careers, their families, their public lives, what kind of music or books or art they like, how smart they are, their feelings, their politics. Sex just isn’t one of them. The idea that  your business, somehow convinced you that you needed to display the part of you I don’t want to know about in order to “let” you have all the parts I do want to know about scares me, because its a lousy model for everybody else. Lawyers don’t have to do this, students don’t have to do this. Secretaries of State don’t have to do this and the first female president of the United States won’t have to. In other parts of the American landscape, you don’t have to “put out” to get ahead — or if you do, there’s a problem. Anita Hill made her career and was taken seriously because she refused the very same model that Hollywood or MTV says is the way to do things. I don’t want to encourage them, so I don’t want to encourage you. There’s got to be a better way.

So, in short, it’s not about you. It’s about us and our daughters. Don’t feel you have to do anything on account of us. Don’t believe that you are only your sexuality. I’m not saying that you — a person I don’t even know — can’t have sex. Please, feel free to. I don’t have to know about it and I don’t want to. I’ve got a private life all my own, thanks. As a female in this society, as a former role model to my daughters I want you to succeed — as an intelligent, beautiful, powerful singer and creator of music. As a human being, I want you to succeed in your personal life. In fact, I want you to have a personal life, which probably includes a sex life, no matter what TMZ or Perez Hilton wants to sell me.

OK? I hope it helps.






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