The Honking Goose

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a role model for girls: Ariana Grande vs. Miley Cyrus

Last night I was watching SNL. Not the current one, because I don’t have cable tv under this rock. The one from two weeks ago with Chris Pratt and musical guest Ariana Grande, because I do have cable high speed internet. As I watched Ariana Grande perform I was comparing her singing and her outfits and deportment against what I have seen of Miley Cyrus.

Ariana Grande wearing cat ears on SNL

Ariana Grande

I often joke about living under a rock. I don’t really stay abreast of pop culture. I didn’t know that Ariana Grande existed until this summer when her brother was a house guest on Big Brother. I’ve only recently started listening to Miley Cyrus because the echos of criticism had finally reached me under my rock and I was curious what all the fuss was about. And I stated recently in why do people don’t like Miley Cyrus? that I like some of her music and I’m not sure why she is so hated.

Miley Cyrus in money suit

Miley Cyrus

Listening to Ariana Grande sing last night, I thought, meh. Not bad, not great either. Her vocal performance didn’t make me want to get up and dance and it didn’t make me want to cry with joy or sadness, one or all of which is what I look for in really powerful music.

Ariana Grande second SNL song

Ariana Grande

Here’s what I’m getting at though: if I had a daughter, or if I was a young teenager/woman today, who would I rather have as a role model? People think Miley Cyrus is overtly sexual to the point of being obscene and that offends them. Ariana Grande is pretty and uses sex appeal in a more broadly palatable way. Both of her outfits on SNL were somewhat revealing and sexy, especially the first one. She wore black cat ears with both. So her styling was going moderately in the same direction that Miley has gone extremely towards.

Miley Cyrus in cat outfit

Miley Cyrus

When I look at the two of them, Miley Cyrus is portraying a stronger woman. A woman in control. An independent woman having her own way. Ariana Grande has a softer, more demure, more submissive public image. So for younger me, or my imaginary daughter, I’m actually choosing Miley Cyrus as the better role model between the two of them. Surprised much?

I want girls to be empowered and embrace their individuality. I want them to wear whatever they chose and never be told they are asking to be objectified or abused. I want girls to go out into the world feeling like if they were ever threatened, they could kick some serious butt and come out on top.

And just between these two, Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus, I’m saying I would chose Miley Cyrus as a stronger and more fearless role model. I know, call me crazy. What do you think? Do you agree with me, or do you think I’m nuts? Who would you choose for a female role model in music today?

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57 comments on “a role model for girls: Ariana Grande vs. Miley Cyrus

  1. latskojerry
    June 12, 2017

    I haven’t listened to either of them because I don’t follow that kind of music (under a bit of a rock myself) but AG seems vacuous and I didn’t know enough about her to have an opinion musically or culturally but Miley Cyrus was a good actor in the Woody Allen thing I saw in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nick
    May 23, 2017

    This post made me laugh, “I want my kids to wear whatever they want and not be objectified because of it”, are you freking kidding me ?
    Dress up like halloween and all the ghouls are going to want to get in ur pants. fact of life. Dress and act to be respected and you will be respected.
    Both of these so called stars are an appauling role model for young girls.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thehonkinggoose
      June 1, 2017

      It’s been so long, I don’t recall writing that and honestly it does sound a bit silly. But also, you used quotations, but misquoted me. Next time, just use copy/paste for quoting people, it should help with accuracy. “No freking kidding”.

      As Hillary Clinton once aptly typed on Twitter, “People in covfefe houses shouldn’t throw covfefe.”

      Like

  3. Oneil
    September 14, 2015

    So many kids having babies because parents not doing their job

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      June 1, 2017

      And grown ups having babies while continuing to do their jobs and still not being good at raising babies.

      Like

  4. Oneil
    September 14, 2015

    A lot of who is talking on here don’t understand what’s going on in this evil out world

    Like

  5. ennedear
    November 22, 2014

    I love your post by the way. Hmmmh, I think both girls are victims of Hollywood fame found too early and trying to scream to the world that they are not kids anymore. Normal child star identity challenges I believe. They will be okay. Britney is alright, Christina Aquilera is a power house. People need to be more accommodating. Cheers

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 22, 2014

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I agree with you, too. I also wrote a post about the search terms related to both these celebrities that have brought people to the Honking Goose. And a very astute reader commented that all the search terms related to Ariana Grande were sexual in nature while the search terms about Miley Cyrus had more to do with her cultural impact. I think that says a lot about how they are widely perceived by the public.

      Like

      • ennedear
        November 22, 2014

        Definitely. Cheers!

        Like

  6. Pingback: search terms related to Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus | The Honking Goose

  7. Ally M
    October 21, 2014

    I say neither… Lindsey Way, Anette Olzon, Frances Bean Cobain, and Malala Yousafzai are my ultimate role models!

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 21, 2014

      Looks like some good choices. I admit I had to google everyone on this list except for Malala (because I googled her a couple of days ago). I did guess correctly that Frances Bean was somehow related to Kurt Cobain, so I got that one part right.

      Like

      • Ally M
        October 21, 2014

        Frances Bean is Kurt Cobain’s daughter :).

        Like

  8. Wyrd Smythe
    October 19, 2014

    There are two problems: Firstly that framing women as sex objects operates against framing them as equal partners in modern society. (I agree with Camille Paglia that the sexual power women have always had is an awesome thing and should be embraced, but there is also a responsibility that comes with that.)

    Secondly, the sexualizing of young girls is almost certainly not in the best interests of society or girls. Infinitely better role models would be female scientists, CEOs, politicians, architects and doctors. Or someone like P!nk — I agree with others that she’s something special.

    There’s room for all styles and types, but it would be nice if there were a bit more balance in the way we frame the role of women in society. The very real problem with violence against women comes, in part, from confusion on the part of men (and women!) regarding what women are. Objects of sex and beauty? Or real people just like us (men)?

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 19, 2014

      First of all, thank you for your thoughtful comment, Word Smythe.

      Of course, I agree with you that scientists, architects, and doctors make better role models (I’m leaving out CEO’s and politicians on purpose). But the fact remains that those amazing women don’t produce work that is actively and massively consumed by teenagers.

      In the realm of objectification of women (and to a lesser degree men) society is moving in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.

      Like

      • Wyrd Smythe
        October 19, 2014

        Agreed, on both points. The way we continue to move forward is by not accepting the status quo and by speaking up when the opportunity presents itself. The more we put it out there that there are better alternatives, the more we inch along.

        (P.S. It’s “Wyrd” but many bloggers just call me “Smitty.” Nice to meecha! πŸ™‚ )

        Like

  9. Pingback: ‘That dress’ and what I think about it. | Seemingly Empty Nothingness

  10. lizziearias
    October 14, 2014

    OMGoodness! neither!, Miley is making some sort of in your face statement and is in serious danger of becoming another Maddona who spent decades of her life using her overt sexuality to shock and rebel against what exactly?, both of them would have reached the same status of “strong independent women” just by using their musical talent. Notoriety is not talent and when you can’t back it up with a voice eg. Maddona notoriety is all that’s left.
    Ariana Grande scares me more actually with her sexualisation of cuteness – acting cute like a princess or a 12 year old doesn’t mix well for me with the raunchy lyrics or dance moves she performs. “choose” are you an adult or are you a little girl? only please, please stop it with the combo… yuk!
    I love your blog, thanks for stopping by.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 15, 2014

      Well, you said it, Ariana Grande scares you more. That’s basically my point, too. Miley is not an ideal role model in any sort of way. But the truth is, both of these young women are popular and both of them are serving as role models to girls today. There’s gotta be someone better out there, though.

      I thought of Gwen Stefani, but she is much older. I wonder if she has an equivalent among the younger stars of today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lizziearias
        October 15, 2014

        I personally steer my girls away from overly idolising famous people. I tell them that they are people just like us trying to find their own way. I encourage the morals I have instilled and urge them to take the initiative in making solid and sensible decisions that won’t harm others or themselves. They will be influenced by media but hopefully not to the degree we as parents can influence them positively.
        I agree with some comments, Tailor Swift seems to not have too much trouble and Pink, while being a somewhat rebellious example has shown that she has made it through adversity and a somewhat tumultuous childhood.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. mitchteemley
    October 14, 2014

    I draw back like Dracula in a suntanning salon at the thought of being called an old fogey. But my gut reaction is: how about neither one as a role model?

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 14, 2014

      That is only a possibility in theory. In practice, the truth is they are both tremendously popular and they are both role models, for better or for worse.

      Like

  12. Elizabeth
    October 14, 2014

    Call me cray, but I’d be trying to figure out a way to convince my child it was 2003 and show her videos of Hilary Duff before she got super skinny. Then I would show her the evolution of Lindsay Lohan’s face and teach her a valuable lesson about drug use.
    I love this post!
    If I had to choose, probably Miley. But that’s only if I HAD to choose.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 14, 2014

      We listen to a lot of older music around here, too, as well as more obscure reggae and underground hip-hop. But I’d like to have a better idea of what is going on in the current music scene by the time my kids are making their own choices. I have a few years still to try and catch up.

      Like

  13. HippieMom
    October 13, 2014

    I would choose Pink. She was a troubled young lady at the start of her career, and she has a much more bold and strong message without looking like a whore. Pink preaches to girls to embrace their individuality and to love themselves. I LOVE Pink and her message entirely. That is the best female role model for girls right now, in my opinion.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 13, 2014

      Awesome. Someone else suggested Pink, too, on the role model: Gwen Stefani post, just moments ago. I’ll have to give her music a listen today. πŸ˜€

      Like

      • HippieMom
        October 13, 2014

        Check out the songs “Perfect” and “Raise Your Glass.” Those are 2 of my favorites. πŸ™‚ She uses some foul language sometimes, but honestly I don’t have a problem with that.

        Like

  14. creepymom
    October 13, 2014

    People get so offended because Miley Cyrus started out as a super sweet innocent little girl and changed suddenly and drastically. I pretty much hate both of them but agree that miley is a “better” role model. Because even though she’s out there, she has the balls to be out there. That’s also why Lady Gaga is one of the only pop stars I like.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 13, 2014

      Instead of taking it out on the messenger (Miley), I think parent’s should consider it a wake up call that their own daughters are facing the same issues of sexuality and exploration in their own coming of age.

      Like

  15. Victoria
    October 13, 2014

    Geez I am glad I am not a mom (at least not yet). These girls are not good role models. If I had a kid and I saw her dancing to either of these girls’ music, I’ll freak out.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 13, 2014

      Who would be your pick for a strong female role model for today’s young women?

      Like

      • Victoria
        October 13, 2014

        I’d go for Malala for teenage girls. πŸ˜€ Perhaps very little kids won’t appreciate her but for teenage girls, it would be nice if they are exposed to what’s going on outside where they live and what some kids their age fight for. If I had a teenager, I’d want her to see girls beyond dressing up, makeup, and entertainment and learn about meaningful advocacies.

        Like

      • Victoria
        October 13, 2014

        Btw I know my answer is off, not music. Maybe I wont let my kid listen to pop. Lol. I am scared of how negatively influential pop kids are nowadays. Even Taylor Swift. :/ She writes heavily about love and exes.

        Like

        • thehonkinggoose
          October 13, 2014

          Well, we can’t really choose what our kids like, but we can try to point them in the right direction. πŸ™‚

          Like

          • Victoria
            October 13, 2014

            This is exactly why I am not a parent yet. I don’t know how. πŸ˜€

            Like

  16. Bowrag
    October 13, 2014

    I choose Taylor Swift as the best musical role model!

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 13, 2014

      Yeah, someone else mentioned Taylor Swift, too. I’ll give her music a listen today… Thanks for the comment and the follow. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bowrag
        October 13, 2014

        Your welcome… She is a class act. Also take a look at Mandy Moore. She has kinda gone away lately into motherhood I think. but when she was younger she always had good values.

        Like

  17. Very Bangled
    October 13, 2014

    Can we add Katy Perry to the mix? Because unlike either of these two I find her truly talented and despite being packaged pop act, enjoyable. I liked the first open letter that Sinead O’Connor wrote to Miley Cyrus telling her that she needn’t exploit herself and her sexuality for the profit of the rich old men behind the scenes in the music industry.

    Like

  18. onehundredtwentythreedays
    October 12, 2014

    Miley Cyrus is being pimped by the music industry. There are MEN making a LOT of money off of her “acting” like she is in control – she is not. She is a pawn used to market good and services. Honestly, it’s sad. If a woman has true talent, why the need for such sexual and outrageous behavior? Be secure in your talent – that is power. I hit my tween years in the 80’s when Madonna was outrageous – she did some raunchy sexualized things, but overall, she was in charge of her career and it showed. She was a powerful entertainer (albeit a terrible actress). And I do understand that (1) sex sells and (2) it’s part of our culture to sexualize women constantly. I have a baby girl and a step-daughter who turned 8 this week. As for role models for them – Taylor Swift comes to mind as does Adele. Smart, talented, no drama.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 12, 2014

      You might be right. I don’t pretend to know for sure. I’m just taking a very narrow perspective and comparing these two individuals. I perceive one as projecting an image of being empowered and being in control and the other projects an image of a more historically traditional submissive female. That is the way I view it. And I asked these questions to find out how other people see it. So I really appreciate that you took the time to read this and respond.

      Taylor Swift and Adele are certainly talented in their own right. But the drama connected with Miley Cyrus doesn’t automatically turn me off. I guess I see a little of myself in the way she is acting out and being so demonstrative with her burgeoning sexuality.

      Liked by 1 person

      • onehundredtwentythreedays
        October 13, 2014

        I can’t imagine the immense pressure these young women go through to follow their dreams to sing and perform. It sucks that women have to sell their sexuality and have a difficult time breaking though based on talent alone. Miley is just caught in the game. Sexuality should not be shameful for young women either, but of course it makes the headlines..sigh….

        Like

  19. nanaaj
    October 12, 2014

    Its important that under the whole screaming,swinging in the air on balls and dancing choreographed dance moves we actually see what artists are presenting to us.And I think you have actually captured that.The idols in the music industry are all sending different messages about how to prove your individuality.So at the end of the day if Miley is presenting a concept of girls embracing themselves and loving themselves no matter what they wear and not feel afraid to fight for what they believe in,then it is only right that you choose her as a role model.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 12, 2014

      I hope that is actually the case. I want to believe it so much because I actually do enjoy a lot of her music. I hope she really is the strong woman that I see in her and that she is not being taken advantage of and pushed to act the way she does.

      Like

      • nanaaj
        October 13, 2014

        If she still has the strength to wake up and do what she loves each day, after the bashing and criticism she receives, then she must be a strong woman for declaring her individuality.

        Like

  20. Megan Holt
    October 12, 2014

    If we do our jobs as parents, our daughters will be able to look at these two young women and definitely see and understand your point of view.

    I think many parents nowadays are protecting their children TOO much. Trying to shield them from all of these sexual images, ushering them to attend the best schools and even influencing their financial/career decisions. I understand that, for my parents at least because I cannot speak for anyone else, they do it because they care. But what they failed to realize is that they could be crippling us at the same time. By not allowing us to be exposed to the real world and what’s actually out there, and not allowing us to make our own decisions (and even failing once in a while), it prevents us from learning how to make the right decisions at the right times and to react properly to real life scenarios.

    I’m glad you wrote this post! I have to admit, I’ve been totally turned off by Miley Cyrus this past year or so, but I totally see and understand your point! Thank you for writing this! Especially, as a mother of (almost) two girls… These are the types of things I would want my daughters to see and understand.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 12, 2014

      Well, in all fairness, I could be completely wrong. πŸ™‚ I’m just speculating here and I might feel differently if I actually had daughters. I have two sons. And they do not like Miley Cyrus’ music, either now, or the stuff she made earlier in her career.

      My parents, well mostly my mother, tried like hell to shelter me and keep me safe and lead me down a good path in life. I did everything do what I wanted and hid most of my deviant behavior from her. I think I was just extraordinarily lucky to come through it with lots of fun memories and relatively unscathed. In retrospect, I really should have headed her advice more on some issues. I wish she was still here today to give me that kind of motherly advice. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Megan Holt
        October 12, 2014

        I truly believe this world needs more positive/open-minded (and less judgmental) people. There are definitely different routes that Miley Cyrus could take, and we may never truly know what her intentions are (same could be said of Ariana Grande). All we can do, is teach our children the positives of what she’s doing, and how the negatives detract from her character and what they can do to learn from what she’s putting out into the world.

        At the end of the day, I definitely want to guide my children and give them advice (I definitely welcome all of that from my family members/friends/mentors). But ultimately, I want them to know exactly who they are and to be confident in that person. And I, as a parent, want to be confident that I raised them to make the right choices and decisions. Definitely a “touchy” subject, but I love reading different points of views! It opens my eyes to different perspectives.

        Like

  21. earth2bellas
    October 12, 2014

    Whew…I’m just so glad I didn’t have girls lol. I also live under a rock w/o cable so I have no idea who the Adrianna girl is but I’d always assumed Miley was a life-long Hollywood baby who was starting to lose her mind. If I HAD to choose though….

    What ever happened to Norah Jones? Or Jewel? Haha I just can’t pick either of those noobs up there. Does Miley have a mother?

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      October 12, 2014

      It looks like Billy Ray and Tish (Miley’s mom) are still married and Tish Cyrus is Miley’s manager. I suppose what she goes through with Miley is similar to what other mothers and daughters go through, except they are constantly in the limelight.

      I wish I knew some more talented musicians of today. It’s hard to figure out what is going on with young people these days, I’m too busy, and my own kids haven’t reached the age where they are bringing home their own music yet. That will come soon, though, I’m sure. Maybe then I can get my finger on the pulse again. I hope my kids have good taste in music!

      Like

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This entry was posted on October 12, 2014 by in Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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