In a friend's Facebook timeline I see the exchange:
"Its a shame what Miley Cyrus has turned into. She was so sweet and innocent during her Hannah Montana days...someone a child could look up to....NOT ANYMORE. I don't understand Hollywood kids that feel being good, pure and innocent is a bad thing."
"[My eight-year-old daughter] can't understand why I won't let her listen to her new song. It's a shame. With lines about dancing like you're in a strip club and getting in line for the bathroom to get a line."
I think a lot of it IS their own doing... They feel if they are hard and rough, it proves that they are no longer little goodie two shoes. Some come out of it though after they realize they have gone off the deep end (Hillary Duff comes to mind). But the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, and Miley Cyrus....not sure if they will come out of it.
Me? I think we've seen it happen often enough, and we've seen the lucrative outcome in terms of publicity, that we can conclude they are part of a larger pattern.
I suspect that the sweet/pure/innocent girl starlet image is carefully crafted by the entertainment companies as part of a master plan. Their young fans -- who are generally several years younger than the starlets themselves and especially their young fans' parents are being set up. The entire point of the sweet/pure/innocent/girl-next-door image is the Big Reveal, set for soon after the starlet turns eighteen: the nude photos come out, or the paparazzi images from the Hollywood party, or the mug shots, or the drug charges. The new album comes out with the suggestive dance moves and the explicit lyrics.
And all of a sudden, this adulation that seemed so harmless when your seven-year-old was wearing heart-shaped sunglasses and clenching a hairbrush microphone, lip-syncing to the lyrics of that wholesome, fifteen-year-old TV cutie? Now your daughter's ten, and her most beloved role model is dancing on stage in wet lingerie.
That got awkward fast, hm?
I have taken to viewing the "Disney sweetheart" phenomenon as a trap: a role-model time bomb, set on purpose to go off for maximum impact, maximum headlines, and to sell maximum copies of the first semi-nude photo shoot. In this model, the sweet-innocent-girl-next-door is an image carefully crafted and curated to ensnare as many hits as possible. The sweeter and more innocent the better, because then the more sensational the headline when she Goes Wild.
There is, as you know, a thriving and only partly underground market in the images of young women who appear to be anywhere from twenty-one down to about sixteen. When a young woman who was recently well-known as an underage star comes of age and hits the centerfolds, there is a valuable association -- "Is she even old enough for that?!" -- that her handlers must rush to exploit before it expires.
In other words: The Disney-Channel sweet and childlike girl next door is merely Phase I of "Hot, Wild, and Barely Legal." These girls are not going off the deep end on their own. They are being groomed to go off the deep end, because a lot of people stand to make money when they "discover" the next Britney, the next Lindsay, the next Miley.
Don't fall for it. If your daughters want to emulate the image, evaluate the branded merchandise -- it's glittery tee shirts and sparkly berry-flavored lip gloss now -- but what will it be in three years? And evaluate your own complicity -- could it be that by buying into the sweet and pure act now, you are already participating in an act of exploitation, just one that has not yet come to fruition?