Parents Television Council Wants Someone at MTV Fired Over Miley’s Performance

August 27, 2013  |  
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We were pretty horrified at Miley Cyrus’ tasteless, awkward, offensive performance at this Sunday’s VMAs. But in the aftermath, the Parents Television Council was so angry, they issued a statement saying “heads should roll” over at Viacom for the display.

According to the site,

“MTV has once again succeeded in marketing sexually charged messages to young children using former child stars and condom commercials — while falsely rating this program as appropriate for kids as young as 14. This is unacceptable,” said PTC Director of Public Policy Dan Isett.

Further, the organization accused MTV of “falsely manipulating the content rating to make parents think the content was safe for their children.” The show was given the rating TV-14, which is defined as the following:

“This program contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise greater care in monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended. This program may contain one or more of the following: intensely suggestive dialogue (D), strong coarse language (L), intense sexual situations (S), or intense violence (V).”

I’m not sure why teens shouldn’t see a condom commercial on TV, considering the fact that as a middle or high school student, you should have information about condoms for your own protection, anyway. And even with Miley’s sexed-up performance, the show fell within those bounds of a TV-14 rating. The only higher rating is T-MA, which is really only used on premium channels like HBO for things like “Game of Thrones” or “Dexter”. This Sunday’s show featured no sex acts or brutal murder scenes. So the rest seems like needless hand-wringing when there are far more important things to be worried about.

But aside from the fact that the group kind of went overboard (and seems to forget the show’s history of risque performances), they paint Miley as a victim. The accusation that “MTV continues to sexually exploit young women by promoting acts that incorporate ‘twerking’ in a nude-colored bikini” takes away the agency she’s so desperate to show us she has. Is she lost? Definitely. But she–and the other artists who stumbled through the performance–made a conscious choice as adults. The PTC’s statements refers to Miley as a former child star, and that’s exactly right. Former; she’s 20 years old. It’s over. “Hannah Montana” isn’t making new episodes, she’s already been engaged once, and her raunchy outfits, dabbling in drugs and twerking starting long before Sunday. What’s a lot more disturbing is the way Miley uses black women as props for her own image makeover and money-making. What about the women dressed as, and literally used as toys onstage during the performance? Where’s the statement calling for heads to roll over that?

And by making Miley and the millions of children the VMAs supposedly corrupted the victims of MTV, the PTC lets parents off the hook. Television isn’t a babysitter; if you don’t want your children to see something, don’t let them see it.

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