Friday, 21 August 2009

Growing pains

She may only be sixteen but Miley Cyrus certainly knows how to get people talking. After three years as Hannah Montana, where she basically plays herself with two different hairstyles, she's been groomed by Disney into a world-conquering multi-media monster. In the process, Billy Ray Cyrus' little girl has grown into a woman, and not everyone's comfortable with that.

In June, young Miley caused a stir by posing with her GBF Adam Shankman (director of Hairspray) for a bunch of cheesily sultry photos that people criticised as being unsuitably Lolita-esque. Despite the fact that worst she did was sit backwards in a chair showing off a shoulder, the press reacted as though she was appearing in a 'Barely Legal' video.

So no-one was too surprised when the preeminent pop tart rocked up at the Teen Choice Awards and showcased her new song 'Party In The USA' with a performance that included a pole dance on top of an ice cream cart. Ordinarily, people would be more interested in the fact that, unlike many of her contemporaries, Miley was able to nail a pretty decent vocal performance. Instead, the combination of cloyingly juvenile props and a sexy dance routine confused the hell out of the audience. See for yourself (just ignore the first 100 seconds of blah):

People have jumped to Miley's defence, not least her own father, who took time out from promoting mayonnaise to defend his daughter's burgeoning sexuality and passion for performance. Given that he started out with a beefy body and a mullet that could trap small animals, he knows from first-hand experience what it's like to arouse and nauseate people at the same time.

This week, the gossip pages have been full of pictures of Miley enjoying a family holiday in the Bahamas. Shockingly, Miley took to the beach in a bikini, and the world sat up and took notice (hastily rearranging its trousers at the same time). A number of blogs went to great lengths to acknowledge the fact that the pictures were worryingly hot, even going so far as to pre-emptively prepare their defence in case the kiddie-porn police descended and seized their hard drives. As for Miley, she was more concerned that people were calling her fat on Twitter.

As Miley continues to blossom (and maybe considers a more grown up name for herself) she's likely to encounter more troublesome brushes with issues of sexuality, so it's good that she's got a supportive family behind her. After all, the world is unfortunately littered with nutjobs like 53 year-old Mark McLeod, who was charged this week with attempting to stalk the pubescent popstrel. Next up for Miley? A rumored role in the forthcoming Sex and the City 2. Guess she'd better stock up on those restraining orders now.

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