Idealistic Poker Heroine
I have reached an age where I am generally unfazed by pop culture, but this wasn’t always the case. As a pre-adolescent girl I learned that watching music video countdowns and making mix-tapes off Edge 102.1 “Toronto’s New Rock” was my window to making friends and understanding Western culture. In middle school it was knowing the lyrics to Aaliyah and Boyz II Men. It was more about understanding the relationship between behavior and results rather than being in tune with what was trendy at the time. That was primarily how my introverted-self learned to be social.
The recent evolution of Miley Cyrus 2.0 has caught my attention. She is the same age as my younger sister whom I used to change diapers for, but the disturbance isn’t coming from a prude or maternal place. While I understand the premise of show business and don’t expect entertainers to reserve themselves when it comes to dolla bills, it occasionally pains me to consider the blunt message being reinforced to women of all ages across the world.
Miley is a hot, barely legal white girl trying to shed her Disney-roots. She twerks around unapologetically, sings about MDMA, uses black women as props, does that pornographic tongue thing and publically humiliates her supposed inspiration for their mental illness.
Yes, your body is a wonderland and sexual awareness is a mandatory cornerstone to every healthy society. Sure, it’s nice to be acknowledged for your talents once you get their attention. I am all for self-expression and giving credit where it’s due, and it can all be fun and amusing to watch as a spectator, despite all the standard (and important) debates against reinforcing the status quo in the entertainment business.
The problem arises when people confuse her proactive image revamp as personifying female empowerment. When Miley is fearlessly taking the straight-arrow path to the top, her message to everyone is that as a female, this is the only way for talent to be recognized. It doesn’t matter how many years of experience you have or what a bright future you have ahead; the only way to stand out in today’s competitive market is to be sexier, bolder, more ruthless.
The Miley business model indirectly assumes that unless you fit a certain idea of youth and beauty or are willing to do certain things for attention, you won’t survive. This simply isn’t true! Hard work is sexy. Put the hours into poker or any craft and you will breed results. Most people completely underestimate how much time and dedication it takes to become one of the best, because both the entertainment and poker industry sensationalizes unsustainable trends like players who get lucky or only play the highest stakes.
Miley Cyrus might have exploited herself to be in the headlines today, but she is actually really talented and already has a lifetime of showbiz experience under her belt. She would have been a force to be reckoned without ever setting herself up for potential regrets down the road. It’s valuable to have these discussions rather than passively accept these trends for what they are, so little girls know.