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?

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