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Outraged parents: Why Miley Cyrus’ performance sets girls and women back

Many parents worry about the impact of Cyrus’ performance on her young fans

CNN News Wire | 8/27/2013, 12:54 p.m.
Miley Cyrus performs at the MTV's Video Music Awards with Robin Thicke.

“I just find it extremely discouraging and difficult to hold out hope for the improved status of women in this world when even the most entitled among us so negatively reinforce the worst stereotypes and misogynistic attitudes about women,” said Belkin.

“Her behavior sets 50 to 60 years of women’s forward progress back a long way when you consider that her huge fan base really only consists of young and impressionable girls and horny young boys, who, unfortunately on many levels, are our future leaders,” said John Rodrigues of Boston, on CNN’s Facebook page.

“Growing up under the impression that this behavior is not only OK, but acceptable, is such a terrible message and, in this case, I am happy I’m not a father trying to keep this away from my children,” the 35-year-old single Army veteran added.

Eric Solomon, a father of two, watched the VMAs with his 15-year-old son. “I am so embarrassed and sitting next to my son and watching this happen made me even more embarrassed,” he added.

Solomon said he has conversations with his sons about what’s right and what’s wrong, and said that they know Cyrus’ performance was “not appropriate” and not the behavior of “your normal woman.”

Mary Hogan of Cordova, Tennessee, doesn’t have kids but works in education and says parents have a role to play.

“Parents need to explain to their kids that what she did is not OK, and should not be imitated,” said Hogan, adding that parents who didn’t like what they were seeing should have changed the channel.

“I think the biggest responsibility for a parent is to know what their kids are watching,” said Mark Edwards of suburban St. Louis, who has three teenage sons. “The VMAs aren’t appropriate for kids under a certain age and if some parents feel discomfort over what was aired, should they have been letting their kids watch the show in the first place?”

“The VMAs are supposed to be shocking,” said a woman who did not want to be identified. “Why is Miley Cyrus such a big deal? ... I am more shocked people are watching the VMAs with their children.”

After all, consider VMA highlights of years past when Lady Gaga donned a dress made entirely of raw meat and Madonna and Britney Spears kissed (mouths open!). It was, in fact, at the VMAs years earlier when Madonna broke out onto the national stage with her “Like a Virgin” performance.

Cyrus “took a page straight out of Madonna’s playbook,” said Ivan Baker, a father in New York City, on Facebook. “I guess I am jaded. Not very impressed or shocked.”

While much of the online conversation post-Cyrus’ national “twerking” episode was dominated by criticism, there was also a very motherly and fatherly response, parents who worry that Cyrus is a child in need of serious help.

“It’s clear that Miley Cyrus’ lifestyle as a young woman is expressing pain and is dealing with emotional problems,” said Andrew Thompson, an engaged father of two boys in Country Club Hills, Illinois.