Hannah Montana Must Die

The school holidays bring fear and delusion in equal measures. The fear of that moment you know is coming when play dough will no longer do it for them and delusion that I will somehow transform into one of those mothers that are… born. Not made. Those enviable paragons of parenting who can whip up a Megasaurous sculpture in a trice and then get their kids to write a script for it and create a quick special effects video to play back in the afternoon. The kind who manage to teach their kids all about universal compassion while making a batch of pikelets or get all the neighbours kids around to create a ukulele benefit concert. The kind that actually have a rainy day activities book and know how to use it. So far it hasn’t happened but I’m kidding myself that the deranged haranguing about tidying up the bedroom is just my way of building up to spending a quality day with my daughter creating our own special version of a Tibetan sand mandala.

The standards seem set so high for kids’ entertainment in the holidays. A rainy day activity used to be going down to the creek to see if any cows were floating upside down in it. For reasons obscure to me now this was endlessly fascinating and fun, perhaps because parents weren’t a feature of our random ramblings. It didn’t occur to anyone that kids should be entertained. Carefully instructed to avoid killing ourselves by drowning or making fires in hay barns, we dutifully and very happily buggered off for the day.

How did the whole school holiday deal get to be such high maintenance? This time I’ve set my sights lower – I have only one small but arduous mission these school holidays and I am by no means certain of a victory. In every mall, $2 shop, book stand and clothing outlet my nemesis awaits me. She smiles in that LA orthodontistly enhanced way knowing that eventually I’ll cave. I see her image on bedspreads, undies, pencil cases – band aids. But I’m staunch. I know that Hannah Montana must die. Or at least the marketing frenzy around her merchandising needs to quietly fade. No matter how much the adoring small person wants her… I will not feed the machine.

Hannah Montanna
Aimed at the very vulnerable pre-teens Hannah Montana’s marketing people know that you can pretty much sell anything to people who still believe in the tooth fairy. From tooth brushes to g-strings, dog’s clothes to ceiling fans (seriously!) Hannah Montana’s tweenie rockstar image is on them all – and small girls just love it. She’s nice, she sings and interestingly – in much the same way as we loved our school holidays for the lack of adult input, Hannah Montana’s TV world is almost entirely parent free – maybe that’s the attraction for the small person. While the Latin has likened my TV censorship to something the Taliban would aspire to, I didn’t have Hannah on my list of most unwanted. Until that is, I heard the six year old humming along to one of Hannah’s tunes which went: “Grab a little Gucci bag, and some Prada shoes, here take my credit card… they’re all here to wait on you… D and G on every wall… that’s ok… just buy them all.” No wonder some American economists are crediting a 15 year old girl with heading off the recession with her movie release.

Quite what relevance the Hannah Montana ‘package’ has to young girls growing up in Northland or for that matter what message she sends to young boys about what being a girl means is beyond me. But there is help. Drowning in a sea of merchandise having googled ‘Hannah Montana’ I typed in; ‘I hate Hannah Montana!” and accidentally pressed ‘search’. I am far from alone. There are support groups, counselling and Montana merchandise rehab. Viva la Resistance!

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