Who Decides Which Behaviors Are ‘Sleazy’ And Which Are Normal?

Author: January 30, 2012 7:03 am

Miley Cyrus’ ‘sleazy and disgusting behaviour’ makes her unfit as a role model, according to the Culture and Media Institute, a right-wing watchdog group. While this particular attack was prompted by suggestive pictures obtained by TMZ showing Miley posing with a cake in the shape of a penis, the group’s web site has also called her out for ‘bumping and grinding’ with an ‘openly gay’ man in one of her videos. CMI claims that actions like this ‘normalize’ sexual behavior in young girls, and that the former Hannah Montana star is an ‘unfit’ role model.

A question: Can we define ‘sleazy and disgusting behavior’? I would submit that CMI might be more properly use the term to refer to TMZ’s invasion of Ms. Cyrus’ privacy.  Or will they also call her out about her tooth-brushing behavior?

What CMI calls ‘the Miley Cyrus Effect’ is more properly referred to as a form of  ‘the bystander effect’. This term refers to a situation where people do not help victims in a social situation.  The Kitty Genovese murder of 1964 is the classic example; Genovese was murdered behind a large apartment building in New York City over a period of two hours.  Bystanders did nothing – no intervention, no calls to the police. Researchers John Darley and Bibb Latane coined the term in 1968;  further research and studies have shown that help offered is often contingent on the bystander’s perception of the worth (or lack of worth) of the victim. Jodi Foster’s movie The Accused is an example of this; the drunk girl in the bar is not worthy of help.

While Miley Cyrus is not in an emergency situation here, CMI condemns her for sexual behavior. Because she has been photographed dancing and posing in an erotic fashion, she is not worthy of kind thoughts or actions. Because she is obviously ‘just a ho’, it has become appropriate to attack her character in public. She is far from the only Hollywood star or starlet to indulge in this kind of behavior, and she is far from the only woman on this planet to be judged by the clothing she wears. Naama Margolis, the 8-year old girl from Bet Shemesh,  who was spit upon for wearing ‘immodest clothing’ comes to mind here.

According to The Huffington Post, Cyrus has spoken publically about body image issues, something that worries every parent of a preadolescent daughter. In addition, she is a public proponent of gay marriage, going so far as to investigate and pillory Urban Outfitters’ CEO Richard Hayne when he financially supported Rick Santorum. Having the courage of one’s convictions? Speaking out about public servants who denigrate segments of American society?  These are actually character traits that every parent should want to instill in children.

So what is Miley Cyrus actually guilty of? CMI’s ad hominum attack on her calls to mind the public outcry over the Dixie Chicks, who spoke out against George Bush and were lambasted for daring to do so. In both cases, the real ‘sin’ is that of a woman who refuses to be quiet, mind her elders, and adopt the artificial morality of a small, but vocal, group of religious fanatics.  The “Miley Cyrus Effect’ is, in reality, another attempted blow from the hard-core Right’s ‘War on Women’. These are people who frame the old ‘madonna or whore’ dilemma as a moral charge against gender equality.

Now who’s being ‘sleazy and disgusting’?


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  • On the other side of the coin there. Who’s fault is it for not teaching those kids that she is a TV star and should not be idolized in the first place.

  • Being a Christian is nothing to be proud of. Look how much hatred and poison is spewed from the mouths of the religious.

    If Miley wishes to express herself the way she does, then that is fine. At least she is not harming anyone by doing so, unless you believe this right wing conservative tripe.

  • So long as it is legal, one can deny Cyrus the right to be who she wants to be, no matter how much they dislike it.

    Simple really – if you disapprove, DON’T WATCH IT. Move along now and don’t try to act as the Hall Monitor for everyone else.

  • Its just typical immoral, Hollywood behavior. There have been only a few Disney child stars who have not embraced it publicly. I mean even some Liberal’s see it as wrong, seeing a supposed role model do this stuff.

    • Who made her a role model though? Hannah Montana has been over for a year now, and Cyrus is 19. Let her live her life, and move on.

      • I didn’t, but there are still younger kids that watch Hannah Montana reruns. Those who idolize will endup like her, if they are not the type to move on.

        I’m sorry but we all have to live our life wisely and respect ourselves. We don’t know who we influence and what we look like to others. She has a little sister and she claims to be Christian.

        • animallover38

          What does being a Christian have to do with it?

        • I idolized Robocop when I was a kid. Funny, I didn’t turn out to be a cyborg who violently kills criminals.

          Oh, is that not the same thing? Actually, it is. Who we idolize might have some effect on who we are, but more than that, it’s our parents and friends that do.

          Who would’ve thought that, I wonder?

        • I would have to disagree, she is enjoying her youth, is that a crime these days? When you say “endup like her” do you mean talented,good looking, and rich? She is discovering who she is which is a part of everybody’s journey into adulthood. She has not had multiple arrests, nor multiple trips to rehab, as so many child stars have, so she must be doing something right. As far as her being a Christian, does that mean she should be barefoot and pregnant or in a convent? I am willing to bet that no one could live up to your rigid standards and I am sure that like myself she could really give shit what you think.

          • You don’t get that, I wasn’t saying “become a nun”. We all have to take responsibility for ourselves, sometime what people call “enjoying youth” can hit a person back badly. There are a ton of things you can do in you youth that you can do without breaking moral boundary but still have fun and laugh. [Though sometimes, its incredibly hard not to laugh at toilet humor. XD]

  • “Sleazy and disgusting” are in the eyes of the beholder.

    Personally, I think it’s pretty “sleazy” to cheat on your wife with your Congressional aide, and serve her divorce papers while she’s in the hospital.

    But that’s just me.

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