Last night Miley Cyrus attempted to show us that she’s all growed up with a sexed-up performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards. We’ve seen this story before: young pop star tries to shed her Disney image by giving an R-rated performance on national television. And while I can see that this tactic is tempting for someone trying to prove they’re no longer a child, I’m here to humbly offer some tips for proving you’re a grown-ass woman that don’t involve showing said ass.
Now, you might be wondering what gives me the authority to speak to being a grown-up. And really, I only have one qualification: I am one. A grown-up. One of the people whose approval you’re trying to seek. At least I think it’s adults you are trying to convince of your new-found maturity. I think (hope) this isn’t for the benefit of the youth. But let me break it down for you: adults AND teens are unimpressed.
Perhaps there is a demographic of people who watched you last night and thought, “My goodness. She really seems like a grown-up worthy of respect.” But I do not know what that demographic is.
Look, I get how sexing it up seems like a good choice for publicly declaring your adulthood, but really . . . it’s low hanging fruit. Yes, sex is a part of adult life. And it’s awesome. Lots of us grown-ups are excited about sexy-times, too! But the thing is . . . it’s not the card you flash to gain admittance into adulthood.
And also? It’s just so predictable. I feel like my intelligence as an adult is insulted every time a young pop starlet decides to assert her “womanhood” with this stuff. You don’t look like a grown-up. You look like an adolescent who is trying to look like a grown-up. Which actually makes you look less mature . . . FYI.
So, for the benefit of humanity, I’ve compiled a list of alternative ways to show that you’re no longer a little girl. These can hopefully be put to use by the next generation of pop stars (I'm looking at you Bella Thorne), as well as by adolescent girls from all walks of life who want to show the grown-ups that they are part of the club.
Work on your talent. You know what will earn you immediate respect? Talent. Put away all the smoke and mirrors (and skin-tight hot pants) and JUST BE GOOD AT YOUR CRAFT.
Go to college. This is where many of us became adults, and it will earn you cred with a lot of us, too. Plus, you might learn something that will come in handy so you don’t have to do reunion tours in your 60’s to pay the bills.
Do something interesting. You have fame going for you, so use it to do something cool. Learn an instrument. Start a fashion line. Star in a gritty independent film. So many options of interesting things to do beyond twerking.
Make a fashion statement. There’s nothing wrong with making a name through your clothing choices. But a skin-colored plastic bikini? You’re not even trying. Wear something cool and unexpected. Sexy, even. But get creative. If the outfit screams, “HERE ARE MY BOOBS AND VAGINA”, keep on lookin’.
Be funny. It takes brains to have a sense of humor. Witty is sexy. Sticking your tongue out of your mouth until it reaches your chin is funny, too . . . but we’re laughing at you, not with you.
Be vulnerable. Let people see who you really are – not a sexed-up pop starlet but a real person. That’s brave . . . and when people see a human side to you, they want to support you. Don’t be a caricature of a pop star. Be a real woman.
Say smart things. Smart is sexy. Smart is the card you flash to be an adult. Here is an example of a female star saying smart things and looking like a grown-up:
Get political. Many adults are interested in politics. It’s a decidedly grown-up endeavor, and it’s controversial, too . . . but in a way that lets you wear more clothes.
Start a blog or a podcast, or write a book. Get involved in creating your own narrative. Learn how to tell your own story so that the men in charge aren’t telling it for you.
Make a difference in the world. Find a cause you are passionate about and use your influence to champion for it. That will earn you grown-up respect.
Any other tips for a budding starlet who is not a girl, not yet a woman?