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Miley Cyrus conforms to the script

By Melinda Tankard Reist - posted Thursday, 20 May 2010

How do you know when a teenage girl singer is now all grown up?

What are the tell-tale signs that she has left the foolishness of her immature girly days behind and become a real woman?

Her coming-of-age is easy to detect.


She will launch a sexy new look and a song that tells us how hot she is. She will tell us she is unique and different and breaking all the rules. In reality, she’s following the same script as others before her. It’s part of the music machine. Strip off, writhe around on the floor, do a photo shoot for a lad’s mag and tell the world: I’m a big girl now.

The music clip that goes with her metamorphosis usually involves one or all of the following elements:

Sex, poles, fetishised clothing, lingerie, some black leather and killer heels for good measure, lots of groping and grinding against men - and women of course, because “bi” is just so in right now  and our big girl doesn’t want to be locked in to any rigid form of sexuality. There will be intimations of group sex, including simulated oral and anal acts and her newly outed breasts (proving she’s a woman) will be groped.

Ah, our little girl is all grown up.

Gabriella Cilmi, 18, cast off her unique, authentic style for sexualised coming-of-age same old same old with her clip for “On a Mission”. She informs us: “I’m on fire, there’s no competition” and that she’s a woman and nothing can stop her, in various breast accentuating moves.


Nikki Webster, 22, tried desperately to cast off her pig tails and Olympic swings with a group grope fest for “Devilicious”, a video so cringe worthy I just can’t bring myself to host it here. This one image is bad enough [confession: artistic licence taken with speech bubble].

It all feels too try-hard: truckloads of makeup, bleach blond hair extensions and hotpants. No matter how hard she tries, she still looks like the under-age kid who snuck out the window to go the rave party with her big brother and his mates. I know she wants to grow up, but it is unbearable hearing her tell us she “tastes so delicious”.

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First published on Melinda Tankard Reist's blog on May 6, 2010.

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About the Author

Melinda Tankard Reist is a Canberra author, speaker, commentator and advocate with a special interest in issues affecting women and girls. Melinda is author of Giving Sorrow Words: Women's Stories of Grief after Abortion (Duffy & Snellgrove, 2000), Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics (Spinifex Press, 2006) and editor of Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls (Spinifex Press, 2009). Melinda is a founder of Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation ( Melinda blogs at

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