MTV’s VMAs Get Freaky

DISGUST: Shock was felt across the audience last Sunday night.

Most teenagers reach a point in their lives when they realize being a teenager no longer seems cool at least not as cool as being an adult.

The most common reason behind this –– according to conversations I had with my friends during middle school and high school — is the freedom. Many teenagers have protective parents who don’t let them wear that pink sequined miniskirt in public or download Lil Wayne’s new song; but once a teen celebrates their 18th birthday and high school graduation, this usually changes.

Many teenagers ditch their parents’ bubble and begin living on their own for the first time in an apartment or college residence hall. This experience is probably very similar to what happened when a certain celebrity teenager, Miley Cyrus, retired from the TV show that made her famous as Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana.”

Growing out of a young teenage TV character into more grown-up characters probably had the same effect on her as the transition between high school and college did for many others.

I have never worked for the Disney Channel, but I imagine that starring as the main character in a popular TV show targeted toward children and teens is a lot like being a high school student with very strict, conservative parents.

Like every other teenage Disney Channel star, Cyrus was required to maintain a certain public image during her time as Hannah Montana. She had to act as a positive role model for her TV show’s young viewers, Staying out of trouble with the Disney Channel meant disguising herself as a wholesome teenager, the kind of daughter most parents would love to raise.

This disguise is commonly used among non-famous teenagers as well to avoid getting in trouble with their parents. As an average Joe middle school student living in Grand Forks, I was definitely guilty of not telling my parents about things I saw on MTV’s Viva La Bam and heard on my secret Nelly CDs, but my parents were  pretty laid-back.

My parents emphasized that as long as I did not completely fail out of school or get in major trouble with the law, they would always be proud of me.

I was able to realize on my own how important my career is to me and that succeeding in school is required for making my dreams come true. I think that is a big factor in why I have had no problem growing up into a stable 22-year-old college super-senior.

Every year at Welcome Weekend, I notice a particular type of female student: A freshman girl raised in a strict household with lots of pressure to succeed. During her first weekend away from the stress of home, she meets a hot older guy at a frat party who introduces her to Karkov.

She suddenly believes Karkov is the greatest thing in the world and she quickly drinks a good portion of the bottle. This messes with her fragile brain, leading her to think that ripping off her clothes and aggressively grinding her ass against “Mr. Hottie Karkov Provider” will make him like her. Her plan backfires and all she gets is an embarrassing photo of herself on the UND Passouts Twitter page.

Eventually, her family finds this photo online and is absolutely disgusted, thinking their “perfect” daughter suddenly turned into a horrible slut. They worry about what will happen if any younger children find this photo and come to believe this kind of behavior is the acceptable.

Does this situation sound a bit familiar? This girl is UND’s version of Miley Cyrus and her photo on the Passouts page is her version of Cyrus’ memorable performance at the VMAs last Sunday.

Despite the negative reactions to her performance, I have trouble believing that Cyrus just woke up one morning and decided, “I’m going to become a slut today.” I believe she had it in her all along but was very successful at covering it up during her time as Hannah Montana.

Since Hannah Montana stopped making new episodes a few years ago, Cyrus, who is now 20 years old, has been working overtime to separate herself from the young teenage character who originally made her famous. Although her behavior is not uncommon among 20-year-old college women, many people still think of her as the adorable 14-year-old she was when the show began filming and they refuse to accept her as anything else.

This desperation to separate herself from that role is what I assume motivated Cyrus to humiliate herself at the VMAs. I still think she seems like a very sweet girl who is just in a rough patch of her life. I predict she will eventually realize how stupid she looked and will decide to tone it down.

This is no different from the immatureness associated with the college freshman label and the common desire to appear more experienced around upperclassmen at parties. The crowd I see at Level Ten and Joe Black’s every weekend seems significantly classier than the crowd I used to see at the frats a few years ago.

I hope this provides inspiration for Miley Cyrus.

Jaye Millspaugh is the multimedia editor for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]