She was Disney’s poster child and America’s sweetheart, which is why no one could foresee her dramatic transformation. One day, Miley Cyrus emerged as a tongue-swinging, tattooed, teddy bear-loving bad girl of Hollywood, and we hated her. The type of hate we harbor for Miley is unlike any other.
We are used to seeing Disney kids go sour. We lived through the meltdowns of Britney Spears, and the rise of the Kardashians taught us one could become famous by doing nothing. So why is Miley’s hate so potent? Why do we gag at the mention of her name but tune in to see her perform? Why do we love to hate Miley?
Well, Miley Cyrus became a household name after her debut on Disney’s hit show, “Hannah Montana.” The widely-watched series gave us a quirky, horse riding, barbeque loving Tennessean, with that infamous down-South attitude and accent.
Unfortunately, that is how the world came to recognize young Miley; she would forever be engrained in our hearts as that “Disney” girl. Parents wanted their kids to be like her, kids wanted to be like her, and I can imagine that some adults wished their lives were as interesting as hers. We were fully invested in “Hannah Montana,” but while we obsessed and adored Hannah, we ignored the fact that Hannah Montana was merely a figment of some writer’s imagination.
The problem is that when we idolize characters, we forget that the person being portrayed on screen might be nothing like the actor. Cyrus noticed this as an adolescent and started to separate herself from her TV personality through her music with songs like “Party in the U.S.A.,” and “Can’t be Tamed.” The content of these songs were slightly unlike Cyrus’ TV persona, but we adjusted and pegged her peculiar behavior to your typical teenage rebellious “phase.” The thing with phases is that they aren’t supposed to last, but with the release of even raunchier songs and videos such as “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball,” it became clear that what Cyrus was going through was not a phase. It was a transformation. The crux of this transformation occurred at the 2013 VMAs. Her crotch-grabbing antics were gag worthy, but it also planted a seed of hate in our hearts for the young Miley.
One reason is that no matter how much hate you throw her way, there is one undeniable truth; Miley Cyrus is full of talent. The girl can sing. Her raspy voice over any beat never falls short of melodic, coupled with the fact that she writes many of her songs. This means that not only is she talented, but also somewhere underneath all the shenanigans is a girl with a brain. Miley does not have to do any of these gimmicks. She does not have to grab her crotch or wave her tongue around for us to notice her. It is annoying. It’s almost like having that one friend who wears too much make-up when she really is naturally beautiful, and all that make-up is unnecessary and makes her look old. Yes, Miley Cyrus evokes that same kind of annoyance. It’s such a waste; showing up to a red carpet almost naked grabs our attention the first time you do it, but doing it again and again screams desperation.
We are tired of Miley’s antics. It is hard to believe that her tongue has not dried up yet; seeing it out there all the time sure is tiring to watch. It’s like seeing Kim Kardashian naked now ― it means nothing and is actually expected. So when Miley shows up to a red carpet with a homeless guy as her date and sticks her tongue out, with the usual rated M for mature attire, we expect it, and it’s boring now. But the fact that it is boring and expected still doesn’t explain why we refuse to stop talking about her, so what else is there?
Well, there is the possibility that we are giving Miley the tough love treatment. Maybe if we hate her enough, she’ll wake up one day and realize that she doesn’t have to do this. But the real reason we love to hate Miley is that she killed our beloved Hannah Montana. As a parent, how do you explain Cyrus’s behavior to a young girl who adored the actress? If you grew up adoring Hannah, which most of us did, naturally, a hate for Cyrus’ recent behavior will emerge.
Our passionate hatred of Miley Cyrus spawns from the fact that she single-handedly killed Hannah Montana. We loved Hannah, we aspired to be Hannah, and she was our all-American teen, and one day Cyrus decided to take that away from us. It is heartbreakingly sad, and where there is sadness, resentment is never far behind. No-one wants to talk about Hannah Montana because all that conversation will lead to is how much of disappointment Miley has become.
The most painful part about it is that the tongue-swinging Cyrus is overly nonchalant about her transformation. Maybe, if we saw that she cared about the millions of hearts she broke, then our hate would morph into understanding. But no. Every opportunity she gets, she does her absolute best to make us regret any and every second we wasted staring at the TV, waiting for Hannah to make our day.
So this love-to-hate relationship we have with Cyrus is quite simple; we loved Hannah Montana, and we hate Cyrus for killing her. Furthermore, salvation can never come too late, and so hating Cyrus is only temporary until she finally stops acting like an erratic 12-year-old. Then we can all rediscover our love for Cyrus. Until then, we will continue to watch because, let’s face it, watching someone you adore is fun, but watching a train wreck is pure entertainment. So, even though society will continue to hate Cyrus, we will tune in because nothing brings a society together like pure old hatred.