Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Miley, Robin, and My Thoughts

I had no intention of writing a blog about Miley Cyrus and the VMA’s.  There are plenty of opinions on Facebook, Twitter and various other social media sites. And honestly I usually don't put too much thought into pop culture. But I read a comment from Robin Thicke’s mom tonight that set me off.   So, I'm going to share some thoughts on Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke.   

I was 20 once.  I made lots of choices in my late teens that put me into some potentially dangerous situations.  There are things I did that I can’t take back, that I can’t change, that I can’t redo.  I don’t regret my journey – it prepared me to be the wife, mom, friend and woman I am today.  I needed to rebel.  I was just lucky enough to do it before Facebook, and not in the public spotlight.  I can’t fault Miley Cyrus for testing the waters, for pushing boundaries and seeing what she can get away with.  It’s part of growing up.  But I’m not a teenager anymore.  And I’m not 20.  I’m the mom of two impressionable young girls, and one impressionable young man who love Miley Cyrus.  Not the Miley I saw on the VMA stage, but the Miley who used to grace our tv and radio with her silly antics and spunky personality.  As a family we have had to accept that everything has changed and we can’t grow with her, that she became an adult and made a choice to leave her younger fan base behind.  And that’s ok.  I get it.  I really do.  I understand not wanting be seen as the little girl who sang of reaching for the stars and country love.  To be seen, and appreciated, as a woman.  Here’s the thing though… the departure was extreme.  Maybe the Miley we see now is the Miley that was always there, being pushed down by the Hannah brand.  But I don’t think it is.  What I see when I watch her on stage, or read her tweets, or look at her Instagram pictures is someone who is speeding head first into a brick wall.  And that worries me.  It worries me because I watched her grow up.  It worries me because I recognize the journey but I don’t see any exit’s on the horizon.  It worries me because I’m a mom and as quickly as her life changed… so too could that of my girls.  If I could tell Miley one thing, it would be to respect herself.  And regardless of what society tells us, self-respect doesn’t come from dressing in near nothing and grabbing our crotches.  Self-respect comes from loving ourselves enough to understand that our behavior affects others around us, that our minds are far more amazing than anything our bodies can do and that dignity is a powerful thing.  At the end of the day I know that my opinion is just that, and I have no right to request anything of Miley.  I know that she is her own person, and I would never want her to be perfect.  I understand that her journey is just that, hers.  I just hope that the end result of her journey brings discernment, growth, and wisdom.      

On to Robin:
It really shouldn’t have come as any surprise that a guy who produced such a raunchy song and created a music video fully clothed while surrounded by nude women allowed himself to be groped and twerked by a scantily clad young woman on stage.  What is surprising is the amount of flak Miley Cyrus has received versus him.  His mom was reported as being upset that Miley rubbed her bottom on her son, that it was not appropriate.  At no point in time did she reprimand her son.  This wasn’t a shock to Robin.  He knew exactly what was going to happen.  He knew that Miley would strip down and molest him.  And he was perfectly ok with it.  And apparently society was ok with him letting it happen.  Even his mom and wife were ok with him letting it happen.  But it’s Miley that is a whore.  Seriously?  He’s an almost 40 year old man. He’s married and a father.  His behavior was incredibly disrespectful to both his wife and child.  This is one of those times that our culture again feeds the misogynistic beast.  Robin Thicke is teaching young men that it’s ok to use women, that they are nothing more than accessories to the male ego.  And he’s teaching young women that they are only desirable if they are naked or dancing around him.   And our culture is eating it up.  We talk about feminism, and women finally being powerful and strong, and respected, and then we send songs like Blurred Lines (which admittedly has a catchy tune) up to the top of the charts, and then chastise the female part of an inappropriate duo.  It’s not ok.  But Robin will tell society that “you know you want it”, and society will sit and lap it up.     

I’m frustrated.  Neither the antics of Miley nor the behavior of Robin is anything new.  The reactions are no different than they were years ago when Madonna sang about being a virgin, Janet Jackson “lost” her top or DMX rapped about rape.  In a culture where free speech and artistic expression are honored (and it’s important that they are), what line can be drawn?  At what point does accountability come in?  Why do we have different rules for artists, athletes and politicians?  At what point do we have the right to demand that men are held to the same standards that women are?  Does anyone even want the status-qua to change… or is it just easier to let it go and move on with life as is?