Monday, September 9, 2013

What we can learn from tweets about Miley Cyrus

** Warning: this post contains discussion of sexuality and rape.  If you are uncomfortable with these topics, please do not continue reading.**

If you aren't living under a rock, you have heard the hoopla about Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards.  This girl who everyone still sees as Disney's Hannah Montana made it abundantly clear that she is no longer a pre-adolescent tween-y star.  She is a woman who made a series of very unique choices at Sunday evening's event.

What I personally found the most interesting was the reaction of other celebrities who were outraged at how "awful" her performance was: from fairly tolerating to pretty outraged.   I will make no comment on whether it was outrageous or not but I do have several questions about everyones' response.

Why was her performance so offensive?  What about the music videos of so many female performers before her?  Rihanna? Lady Gaga? Is it worse when it is a live performance than a filmed one?  What about the men on stage who were playing along with her?  Or the crowd that cheered even if they were not liking what they saw?

One of my favorite professors from college posted this on Facebook the next day:

Wake up!!!! Why are people so blind to the misogynistic culture that we live in? Unbelievable!!!! Here we are denouncing Miley Cyrus for (yes) her "compromising" performance (to say it nicely), but who's saying anything about Robin Thicke's involvement in such trash.

Why do men get away with this spilth? (Wasn't Thicke's Dad on Growing Pains, the last Leave-it-to-Beaver ideologically-driven show--so was Kirk Cameron. Oh, and one other thought: I seem to recall Miley's Dad--sorry, don't mean to break your achy heart--shaking his booty on stage wearing a John 3:16 t-shirt.)

Mmmmmm, I'll have the double-standard hypocrisy plate, a la carte. Tastes like American.

Why do we buy into the "it is always the girl's fault" rape mentality but turn around and hold men blameless when they perpetuate the attitude that women are only objects of sexual fantasies and to available for every whim?

If we do not treat all human beings as being inherently worthy of respect (as I believe all image bearers are), then we are going to constantly have these problems.  We are going to have young women give themselves away on national television and rapists who get slapped on the hand.  The lyrics of Robin Thicke's song make Miley's actions seem pretty tame if you think about it.  He is looking for a woman who "must wanna get nasty" and needs Thicke to "let me liberate you".  But those are not the same thing - you cannot both be "nasty" and have the liberation that is promised to the sexually permissive woman.

Which raises a bigger question: are we raising sexually permissive women because that is the only attention that we are used to giving them?  We either love the sexuality of the Angelina Jolie's of the world or turn our noses up in disgust at the Miley Cyrus's.  I humbly submit that we are causing the problems by not training our children to respect men and women alike.  Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream about his children playing equally with all races.  What if we now dream of all human beings being honored and protected from all kinds of oppression?  Even from the Internet's and media's exposure and subjective derision?

If these sorts of things happen in the public's eye in the west, is it any wonder that we continue our existence oblivious to the many forms of human slavery and oppression that still continue today throughout the world?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Whatever Happened to Respect?

I remember watching my first Miss America on TV back in 2011.  I had never watched a pageant before but there was a specific reason I was watching that year.  That reason was Miss Nebraska.  Through various homeschool organizations (Teenpact Leadership Schools, HSLDA ect), I learned that Teresa Scanlan, Miss Nebraska, was a former homeschooler, Teenpacter, and only 17 years old and I was curious to see how this young woman would handle herself on national TV.

I don't believe anyone thought this young, girl would be victorious, but to everyone's surprise, Teresea Scanlan took home the crown and title of Miss America 2011.

Recently, HSLDA conducted a radio interview with Teresa regarding her homeschool journey and how it helped prepare her for her duties as Miss America.  If you listen to the interview here you will find that Miss Scanlan is a bright, intelligent, driven young woman with a heart for the Lord and other people.

It was very surprising to me when I found people commenting on HSLDA's Facebook calling Teresa hurtful names as well as making ludicrous demands that HSLDA withdraw their support from her.

The main objections were that a woman who wore bikinis and flaunted her body was not a good role model for a family organization to support.

A few of the comments made towards her were accusing her of causing men to commit adultery because she wore a bikini during the pageant.  Some people said she must not be a Christian because people who parade around in "glorified underwear" do not and cannot belong to God.

At first I was very sad and hurt for Teresa, then I was angry. I was angry at the people calling themselves Christians, making such accusations, and tearing a young woman (who is a fellow believer) down.  For 3 years, Teresa Scanlan has had to deal with much criticism from Christian Conservative circles because she is not personally convicted the same way they are.

My question to every Christian is: how is it Christ-like to accuse unjustly, call names, and discourage another person with differing beliefs?

What on earth makes you think that you have the right to make judgment calls on another person's salvation because of their outward appearance.

Whatever happened to respecting other people?  Yes, Teresa Scanlan may have different convictions then you.  But I would hope that anyone who calls themselves a Christian, would be respectful of another's beliefs and not call her a "turd in a glass of water."

These Christians who oppose Teresa Scanlan may have some fundamentally good arguments.  However, any legitamacy and credibility they may have is out weighed by the way in which they present themselves and their positions.

If someone has a different belief than you, you should kindly hear their side then humbly and respectfully challenge their beliefs. I think there is something in the Bible about truth, love, and grace in our speech...which would seem to suggest that you absolutely do not publicly call someone a brainwashed slut!