Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dear Students, Never feel like you have to be Miley Cyrus.

Dear Students,

Never feel like you have to be Miley Cyrus. You can be so much more than this.

You guys are all on your own journeys through life. It is yours and yours alone. Your journey will take you through twists and turns, through storms and sunshine, to the most beautiful highs and the most desperate lows. The journey is yours, and I urge you to make it yours. I encourage you to take chances, to not fear failure, to love deeply, and to live happily. More importantly, though, I urge you to take paths that will lead to a better you, and to never give up your self-respect. I'm a firm believer that you cannot possibly love others well until you love yourself well.

While I agree that she has certainly taken a risk, and I agree that she is an adult and can make her own decisions, Miss Cyrus's recent VMA extravaganza proves to me, if nothing else, that she does not have much respect left for herself or her art. While there are always those who disagree, I do think that Miley Cyrus has talent, but I also think that, at least at this point in her life, she is choosing to waste it. Miley is not doing a novel thing here; her behavior is reminiscent of a small child willing to do anything to get an ounce of attention. If her goal was to just get people to talk about her, she's done that, but what a sad, sad thing for a twenty-year-old girl to reach out for all of this negative attention. I honestly don't think I've read or heard a single positive thing about this fiasco.

So, let's talk about you. You are amazing people with bright futures ahead of you, but you need to invest in that bright future. You have the potential to change the world, but you don't need a trashy cry for help to do it. Miley Cyrus should not be a role model for you. She isn't being edgy, or tough, or sexy, or a total badass. Hell, she isn't even behaving much like an adult. She's just dying for the spotlight, and she'll get it however she can. A certain foam finger has proven that.

You might know people who behave this way, who will do anything, who will give up anything, just to be the center of attention. There will be girls out there who want to model themselves after Miley, down to the tongue hanging out and the ill-fitting nude two-piece. Girls, resist. Remember what it means to be a strong woman, not a trashy chick with no self-respect. There will be guys out there who will talk about how smokin' hot it is for girls to be overtly sexual, who will talk about wanting "a piece of that." Guys, resist. Remember what it means to be a strong man, not a pathetic jerk who dehumanizes women.

Seriously, it's about self respect. It's about loving yourself and taking care of yourself. I can't imagine that Miley Cyrus is feeling a whole lot of love right now, and it's because she doesn't love herself enough to make good choices.

Want to respect a celebrity? Respect Adele. She doesn't feel the need to take off her clothes or do outrageous gimmicks to earn our love. She's classy. She loves herself, her body, and her art, and that's what people love about her.


Respect Neil Patrick Harris, who is perfectly comfortable in his own skin and proves it every time he walks out the door with his partner, David Burtka, and his beautiful children.

Respect Matt Damon, because that guy respects teachers and he's not backing down on what he believes!

Respect Natalie Portman, an actress who embraces her intelligence. She published a research paper in a scientific journal in 2002 while at Harvard, for Pete's sake!


And respect Ashton Kutcher, because that guy had some wise words for teenagers like you during his acceptance speech at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards (skip ahead to 1:35 to avoid listening to screaming teenage girls).

If you want to be "sexy" you don't have to twerk onstage. You don't have to prance around in a ridiculous costume. You don't have be so disgusting that the entire Smith family is revolted while watching you.

Will Smith and his kids watching Miley Cyrus at the VMAs. Classic Fresh Prince of Bel Air right there.

You just have to be really smart. And you have to respect yourself.