So, my take is this. I have noticed that most extroverted people between the ages of (roughly) 10-30 years old tend to hit at least one phase of mimicking their favorite cultural phenomena, be they dance moves, sexual exploration, clothes, or opinions. For some, it is expressed by being radical and revolution-craving activists. For others, it is pushing the envelopes that were previously stuffed by their pop culture predecessors. Whatever the expression, I just see it as normal and part of the journey for anyone inclined toward being publicly seen and/or heard.
I was very interested and immersed in popular black culture as a young tween/teen. I was a white girl who dreamed of someday having mixed-race babies and a booming car stereo. I loved rap music and baggy pants with tiny shirts. I then segued into a tattooed punk rock fan who was completely classist and hated all things corporate and suburban. I then became a music journalist who wrote mostly about the rock genre and lived my life around a club concert schedule. Shortly after that, I threw myself into being a pin-up model and burlesque performer- posing, producing, dancing and singing my way through all manner of sexually charged performances.
This all changed once I became a mother. For once, I let societal and cultural expectations throw a wet blanket over all my fires. I morphed into an unrecognizable version of my self- a muted and mundane mother of two little spitfires. Now that my kids are 5 and 2, I am back to exploring who I am beyond the bubble of an attachment parenting housewife with a passion for sustainable living and simplicity. I am reintroducing myself to musical flavors I previously left ignored, and exploring fashion again now that I'm not a non-stop milk fountain. I'm transitioning from my yoga pants and v-neck tees to clothing that I find fun and attractive to me. For me. In many ways, it's like I'm back in my teens, trying to find what suits me and best expresses who I am and what I love. I tried being non-fashionable and listening only to kid-friendly music and avoided anything overtly sexual or radical. But that's just not who I am. I am genuinely interested in and attracted to some things that would be subversive and offensive to some, but that is who I am. I don't mingle well with most playground peers, and that's okay.
The big difference between me and Miley is that I have been her, to some extent, and have grown up and out of certain things. But I am working to appreciate and celebrate the things that make me unique (and probably undesirable to many other moms) in order to authentically be me. What better example can I set for all the young Mileys of the world, and especially my own kids. I am who I am, and I love who I am.
I never in my life intended to be offensive to any culture or race or anyone, but other people have and always will see me through their eyes instead of mine. I suspect Miley will go through some sort of shame or regret for some things she's done. I know I did. But, then, I moved past that and grew to regret suppressing my true self to better suit my playground comrades. I wasn't doing anyone any favors then, either. Now, I'm 33 and am able to fully appreciate all my stages in my journey to present. I no longer see a need to feel ashamed or regret, because I learned. I learned that I don't have to be center stage with all my rambunctious tendencies, but I don't have to lock them all in the closet.
Miley is actually very fortunate to be her age at this time, where lines really are getting blurred more and more. It's becoming more and more acceptable to be out about who you really are- gay, preppy, ghetto, hippy, suburban, urban, techie, Trekkie, bronie, bookish, or anything else. We can all embrace our quirks and kinks (and all our true natures) and learn as we grow. I support all the young people on their journeys to adulthood and self love. I see no reason to get all judgmental and hateful on these young people who are honestly and enthusiastically exploring who they are and how they take up space in the world. There's really no need to shame them or overreact to any of it. It is her expression of who she is and what she's into right now. It certainly shapes her as she grows, but by no means defines her as a person for all her life. And, by the looks of it, her life is probably pretty sweet. Go on, Miley. Do your thing. Listen to the critics. Hear them when they highlight a portion of a worldview, but don't let it get you down. Live your life and grow as you go.