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Dear Miley: Here's What I Hope You Learned About Adulthood After The VMAs

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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25:  Miley Cyrus attends the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 25: Miley Cyrus attends the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on August 25, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)

Dear Miley,

So how are you feeling about things this morning? About your career? About the response to your grinding declaration of adulthood on the VMAs last night?

At least I assume that’s what you were aiming to declare. Like everyone who was once a child, you think it is very, very important to announce that you aren’t anymore. You probably started doing that years ago: “Do it by SELF” you demanded, when, ya know, you couldn’t actually yet. And since regular former kids (defined as those who did not spend their entire childhood in front of a camera) feel the need to make that clear, I imagine it’s all the more important to you.

I get it. I see how it might have seemed logical to you. But here’s what you didn’t take into account: As long as you have to insist on it, it’s not true yet, meaning you are just proving exactly the opposite of what you’d intended. That’s as much a fact at 20 as it was at 2, except at 2, it was cute.

Don’t feel too bad. You’re not the first of your age group to make that mistake. It’s practically a rite of passage, this Doing-Grown-Up-Stuff-To-Prove-You-Can-Which-Actually-Proves-You-Can't thing. And lately there are so many more ways to do that publicly. Facebook arguably would not exist if not for that fact. Nor would reality TV. All this makes it tougher on former child stars like you, because you have to get all the more outrageous just to be heard.

I’m wondering what you think today, reading the criticism from, well, pretty much everyone. Is it what you were going for -- it IS, after all, attention? Or does it make you want to crawl under the covers in your childhood bedroom and hide?

I hope it’s neither. I hope you really weren’t trying to create this firestorm, because that would mean you believe too little in your talent and too much in the need for outrage as a marketing tool when you have so much else to sell. And I hope you aren’t crushed. This isn't the end for you. There’s an upside to the annoying fact that all of us knew you as a child -- it also means we think of you as ours, and we are more than willing to forget and move on.

So, let's start with what you might have learned this morning:

Twerking in plastic undies is not sexy, nor is massaging your nethers with a foam #1 finger.

We are all for feminism, and a woman's right to enjoy her sexuality, but it is a misuse of feminism to define it as grinding on Robin Thicke amid dancers dressed like species non-specific plush animals.

You have the right to remind us that you have sex, and that you like it. But only when you no longer feel the need to remind us of that, will we actually believe you.

So go out there again, lessons learned, older and wiser.

But first, please put on some clothes.

Love,
A Concerned Mom

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