You get the best of both girls…
The above is an actual line from the intro to the Hannah Montana television show, make of it what you will.
Hannah Montana, for those who don’t watch TV, go on the internet, listen to the radio or talk to other people, is the protagonist of a Disney Channel television program about a girl who lives a double life: world famous teen pop sensation and 8th grade girl. Like Superman’s lack of glasses compared to Clark Kent, the cosmetic difference between the two is minimal; a large, dirty blond wig apparently can fool the vast majority of America. She struggles to balance these two identities and, of course, wacky hi-jinks abound trying to keep that wig firmly on her head half the time and firmly off it the other half.
Yes, shocking as it is to believe, that is not her real hair. That’s a spy-worthy disguise wig.
Thankfully, feminism is not based on wig quality. Some have said that Hannah Montana is a great role model for young girls; she’s successful, young, smart (depending on the episode), and talented; a pop diva that, fortunately, has not objectified and oversexualized herself. That seems pretty feminist, right?
Alas, my friends at wikipedia brought me some shocking information that caused me to radically change my opinion. Apparently, in the Hannah Montana movie, the strain of this double life is too much and there is a very dramatic de-wigging during a concert where the main character says that she can no longer live a double life and needs to be true to herself. That’s a great message: girls, be true to yourself!
Unfortunately, the concert-goers MAKE HER PUT THE WIG BACK ON AND CONTINUE HER DOUBLE LIFE! She doesn’t want to be Hannah Montana anymore, but a large group of people told her that they liked her better with the wig, so back on it goes. Yes, that’s more like the Disney messages that I remembered from my childhood, not “Be true to yourself” but rather “Be true to what others want from you, even if it’s not what you want.” Especially if there are lots of them and they liked your fake self.
So, while a cursory glance at Ms. Montana may deceive one into labeling her a feminist worth of young girls, she is not a good model for girls or anyone else. For teaching America’s youth to put up a fake persona if others do not accept their authentic selves, I hereby dub thee, Hannah Montana of the Disney Channel, unfeminist.