“Daddy, Can I Dance Like Miley When I Grow Up?” … And More ‘Oh-Shit-Now-What’ Questions

By Evan Field

I found out tonight that my 9-year-old daughter was witness to a video clip on her friend’s iPad of the Miley Cyrus VMA performance.  She knows that even though I will not allow her to watch the video of the new song “We Can’t Stop” … due to its insanity and pornographic display of stupidity, I do trust her to enjoy her once beloved “Hannah Montana” and watch Miley perform live at concerts that are presented on YouTube or Vimeo. I trust my daughter who has always told me when she has gone too far or when she sees something she should not have (such a guilty conscience).  All of her friends love the song ‘We Can’t Stop” … even though they have no clue what the words mean (I hope).  I watched the VMAs while I was doing some work on my laptop and caught the clip myself hoping that my daughter never would see it.

From the moment Ms. Cyrus came out of the teddy bear’s head and tongued her face, to the doggy-style grinding against the air of the audience, to the stand-up lap dance she gave to Robin Thicke … it was all wrong.  And I am not sure if my stomach turned due to me knowing that my daughter would inevitably someday see this or that my daughter’s idol has turned into an aloof monster.

This song, the video, and the live performance have been the topic of parental discussion a lot this week with good reason. If you do not know what I am talking about, here is a quick refresh of the situation …

Miley Cyrus, 20 years old, is an ex-Disney phenom who is worth close to $200 million due to her Hannah Montana character’s show, songs, merchandise, concerts, etc.  Miley’s dad is country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, who apparently has had a falling out with his daughter. Now Miley is doing everything she possibly can to show the world that she is a grown-up sexual creature and is in charge of herself.

So what would you do if you had 9 figures in the bank and are 20 years old? … right … anything you want, including creating a new persona to free herself of her synthetic childhood. Too bad it’s happening in front of millions of young eyes.

OK, back to the real world and the girl who is way more important … my daughter. She came to me and told me that she saw it. She was not excited or acting cool about her experience. In fact, she had a look of distraught confusion.  It was the same face that she made when we had to tell her a year ago that her grandfather died.

My wife was at the store and so I was flying solo for this moment. I sat her down and asked her where she watched the performance and if she saw the whole thing.  She told me which friend and that she saw everything. She thought I was angry with her. I assured her that I was not. I told her to go into her room and sit at her desk and write down every question she had about this and that we would talk about it after she got it all on paper and when Mom got home.

I texted my wife to preface the situation. She texted back: Damn it, holy fuck, my baby saw that shit, fuck fuck, I’m going to scratch her friend’s mother’s eyes out.

My wife loves my daughter’s innocence.

All three of us sat down 30 minutes later and I read the paper of questions, which is as follows …

  1. Why did Miley lick her face like that when she first started the song?
  2. Does licking your face mean that you are being ‘sexy’?
  3. Did you guys ever dance like that when you were in college or before we were born?
  4. Am I allowed to dance like that?
  5. Why did Miley have the foam hand from the White Sox game with a red fingernail on it, and why was she putting it in between her legs like boy privates?
  6. If the man singing is married, why was he letting Miley dance that way with him and lick his neck?
  7. Is this what happens when grownups drink beer?
  8. Why is Miley making scary faces now?
  9. How does she move her butt cheeks like that?
  10. Does Mommy dance like that on Date Night?
  11. Why were some of the bears happy and some were sad?
  12. Why was Miley dancing in her underwear?

We chuckled at some of these questions and had short answers. Others like 1,2,5,6,8, and 9 were tougher to answer and we had to be delicate and explain some things that we wished we didn’t have to at this point in our daughter’s life. Here were our answers:

  1. Because Miley is trying to act crazy to get attention
  2. No …”Sexy” is more about when a person is liked for being smart.  Licking your face is not sexy. People do not lick their own faces in real life to get attention or to get a boy to like them.
  3. N0, we did not dance like that ever.  We are actually good dancers.
  4. No you are not allowed to dance like that, you cannot dance like how you saw Miley dancing.  It’s not appropriate.
  5. She was trying to be silly and act like she was a boy with boy private parts. She was not silly, Miley acted like an angry child who had no control.
  6. The man singing was going along with the performance. He was probably really uncomfortable and his wife was probably not happy at all.
  7. Things like this don’t usually happen, EVER. No matter what you drink.
  8. Miley is making scary faces now because she thinks that cool grown-ups do that.  She is wrong.
  9. She has double-jointed butt cheeks … don’t ever try to move your butt cheeks like that — you can hurt yourself. (The only real lie we told)
  10. No, Mommy does not and has never danced like that on Date Night. We both like ourselves a lot and don’t need to act stupid for attention.
  11. We have no idea why the bears were happy or sad … they weren’t real bears.
  12. Miley was dancing in her underwear because she was trying to get attention … like everything in the whole performance. It was all about getting attention, and if she were a kid and acted like this, she would have been in very serious trouble.

The discussion went on further and we talked about different things including how boys and girls start to like one another, other people who have acted like Miley Cyrus did on stage, crazy and dangerous things that people might do in life — anything that my daughter could conjure up that was motivated by this whole Miley Cyrus thing.

And as much as I am proud of my little girl for talking and participating with us … I am so pissed that her idol is now acting in a way that catapults my daughter into confusion.

I can’t shelter her from every insanity when she is out of the house at other people’s homes. It’s unfortunate how things are now and how innocence disappears too soon. I just wish that it wasn’t her childhood idol who was the cause of such angst and confusion.

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