Posted on | August 26, 2013 | 19 Comments
Like many other people around the world, I tuned into the Video Music Awards on MTV last night. Rumors of an N’SYNC reunion sparked my interest (they were the first concert I ever saw!), and I always enjoy the performances. From the looks of my Facebook Newwsfeed and other social media sites, it appears I also was not the only one to watch with my jaw on the floor as Miley Cyrus was on the stage.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you should be able to Google the video. I recommend NOT watching it in front of your children or even at work.
Through a song of breathless, flat singing, sexual innuendos, and gyrations while in a teddy bear onesie and then latex underwear, Miley was clearly going for “shock value.” I felt several different things while watching her on stage.
Shock. Awkwardness. And even embarrassment for the young woman. As she walked off the stage, the internet blew up with memes making fun of her, rants about how “pathetic” and “desperate” she looked, and various other forms of “slut shaming” for her dancing. Admittedly, I nodded along with many of these. It did seem desperate. It was sad. She did look pathetic and awkward and uncomfortable. She went beyond the boundaries of sexiness and entered in the world of soft-core porn, and it was hard to watch. Though, despite all this, she was not alone in her actions…it took a whole host of people to put together that performance. To approve it and to participate in it. She was not alone, but it appears as though she is standing alone in her shaming now. Where are the producers? The choreographers? The fellow performers? Where are they while she takes this beating?
But as I sat back this morning, scrolling through the various opinions and trying to determine how I wanted to address this, I realized something;
we have made her this way.
We live in a culture that glorifies falls from grace. We watch in morbid fascination as scarlettes parade across our tabloid magazines. We laugh at them as they go through their most embarrassing moments and re-post pictures of accidental wardrobe malfunctions and train-wreck break ups. We criticize their waistlines, compare ourselves to their post-baby bodies, and reward bad behavior with more airtime and magazine covers.
Miley is being slammed for being a poor role model for young women. But the people who should be criticized are the outraged parents. If you’ve allowed your child to look up to a pop star who makes no bones about drug use and sexual conquests, you have already made the mistake. As parents, it is our job to guide our children. To instill in them to morals and values we deem important and wholesome. To give them positive role models to look up to and emulate. It is our job to shield them from inappropriate books and movies and music. And yes, as they grow older, they will encounter things in the world that we wish we could hide from them. In those moments, you pray that the guidelines you have given them are strong enough to keep them on the right path. You check in with them, you lead them with a firm and comforting hand, and you make sure they understand the difference between right and wrong, good and bad. It’s not Miley’s fault young girls around the country are looking for matching latex underwear sets as we speak.
It’s not Miley’s fault we are in a country where Robin Thicke can hump a barely-legal girl on stage in front of a crowd of millions with not a peep of his action. No, instead of shaming Robin, who is married and old enough that he could almost be Miley’s father, we attack the young woman who clearly needs more guidance. We ignore the fact that he participated in a contrived, overtly sexual, and uncomfortable performance, and we hand the crown of shame to Miley. Where was Robin’s wife when this performance was created? Where were Miley’s parents?
Yes, the whole performance was inappropriate and painful. But maybe, just maybe, instead of bashing Miley, we should look inward. We should stop the culture of “Pop Star Worship” and remember our God and our values. Instead of proclaiming the fall of America and worrying about what this world is coming to, maybe we should say a prayer for ourselves and our children. Maybe we should pray that God gives us the insight and guidance to be the parents our children need us to be, and maybe we should pray that we can remember that there is good and beauty in this world. And maybe we should look outside of our TV screens, and celebrity gossip magazines, and blockbuster movies to find that beauty.
Miley might not be perfect. She may need more guidance and love and maybe even a sharp dose of reality. But maybe we do too.