Sunday, July 27, 2008

So, What Is It About Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana?

Tonight we had some friends over for swimming, trampoline jumping and the Hannah Montana movie. My friend, M, is the mother of a 4.5 year old girl and a 6 year old boy and she knew, just as I did, the words to almost every Hannah Montana song. And why is that?

I got to thinking. There are probably very few Moms in this country that don't know who Hannah Montana is, assuming they have a daughter between the ages of 4 - 11. If you mention Hannah Montana, chances are Moms have something to say - while the vast majority have nothing but positive things to say, there are a few naysayers in the bunch. But the bottom line is, we all know who she is and most of us love her just as much as our daughters do (okay, we might not have the blond wigs, but you know what I mean).

And why is that? I'll tell you why, branding. Hannah Montana is not a person -but a theme, an event, a phenomenon, an activity, a wardrobe, a shopping experience that keeps us coming back for more. How many Hannah Montana t-shirts does YOUR daughter own? I can tell you that I wouldn't have to do laundry for a week and my daughter would still have Hannah Montana shirts to wear (thankfully Walmart carries them for around $6!).

When you first learned about Hannah Montana, what were your first thoughts? I'll tell you mine ". . .But don't tell my heart, my achy breaky heart, I just don't think it'd understand. And if you tell my heart, my achy breaky heart, don't break my heart, my achy brakey heart. . .". Yes - I had no idea who that cute little firecracker was, but I sure knew her Daddy! But, I had nothing but fond memories of Billy Ray. I'm not a fan of country, but I did love his song (you can't deny it was very catchy. . .) and it immediately took me back to memories of law school and all my friends singing the song. So, immediately I feel more connected to Miley when I learn she is Billy Ray Cyrus's daughter and instead of it being another show I really have no interest in, Allie and I are bonding over the Cyrus Father and Daughter show.

I also think, despite all the bad press the poor kid has received lately, that Disney has created a pretty wholesome Hannah Montana experience. If you have ever watched her show, I think you would agree that while there are some snotty characters on the show every now and then, Hannah is not one of them and the message always demonstrates that being nice is better. Hannah always wears appropriate clothes (you might not like the style and what she puts together, but it covers everything its supposed to cover. . .).

I have seen the Hannah Montana movie twice and at no time did any of her costume changes reflect any inappropriate skin, tattoos or body piercings. Her dancing and that of her dancers didn't want to make you look away because of gyrating and/or body pumping - their dancing was impressive, infectious and fun to watch. Whether my daughter is watching this in a movie theatre, on tv or in person I am extremely comfortable with the feel good and upbeat show she is going to see.

And in today's time of Bratz dolls (okay, do any of them NOT look like Hoochie Mammas??) and Barbies with black fishnet stockings, I'll take Hannah Montana any day!

And Disney has spread some sort of magic dust on their Hannah Products because I think I love buying them for Allie as much as she loves to get them! When I buy Allie a Hannah t-shirt or new CD, it makes me feel good knowing this little purchase created such excitement in Allie - again, its a whole experience, not just buying some cute t-shirt for Allie that she says thanks for. When she sees its Hannah, she goes crazy and is filled with joy.

When you put all this together, what do you get? Simply, a brilliant way that Disney has created an opportunity for Moms and their daughters to experience true fun and joy with each other. Moms and Daughters are connecting, bonding and sharing and we are taking advantage of that because we all know that soon enough that will end. They won't see us as the cool moms that took us to Hannah Montana and bought them their favorite Hannah Montana sleeping bag. We will be unhip and uncool to them before you know it and not only will they not want to hang out with us, but chances are we won't want to listen to the music they want to listen to and sadly, Hannah Montana will go in the same memories box that we put The Wiggles, Barney, Elmo and Dora in.

So, if you are one of those moms like me who are caught up in the Hannah Montana hype, enjoy the ride and appreciate the bonding with your daughter because chances are it won't last forever.

And if you are one of those moms that hold Hannah Montana at arms length, catch a glimpse of her show or listen to one of her CDs. I'll be shocked if you don't find the music catchy and fun to listen to . But even if you don't, look at it as an opportunity to share something magical in your daughter's eyes - I an confident that you won't regret it, and it will probably be over before you know it.

And just in case I haven't convinced you to give Hannah Montana a try and you are shaking your head doubting that there are any positive messages that your child can learn, I would have to beg to differ and ask you to try this on for size. Whenever Allie or someone else makes a mistake, Allie is quick to say, "that's okay, NOBODY'S PERFECT, not even Hannah Montana - she said so!"

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My Vision said...

You've got pagerank!!!! Okay, how did you do that?
Hannah Montana - my kids aren't into her yet they are a little too young still but they love the Wiggles. Disney has done a great job branding Miley. She's everywhere and the next Madonna, they say!

beth - total mom haircut said...

Yeah, it most certainly could be worse. I actually don't know much about H.M. because I have two boys, but I've seen those Bratz beastie things and ugh - made me glad I don't have girls. If H.M. has a positive message and is fun to watch, I say go for it girls!

Lis Garrett said...

Sometimes when I watch Hannah Montana with my Hannah, she may get up to do something else . . . but I'll notice I'm still watching the show all by myself! LOL!

It is a nice show with a positive message and characters who genuinely try to do the right thing.

My daughter knows nothing about the Internet photos of a scantily-clad Miley, and I don't intend to show her to make a point or imply she is a "bad" person. I consider myself fairly wholesome, yet I'm sure I showed poor judgement at one time or another when I was a teenager.

I'll continue to let Hannah watch Hannah Montanta because you're right - this time is fleeting.