You know what I’m tired of talking about? Miley Cyrus. I’m tired of talking about her singing, twerking, crying, riding a wrecking ball while naked, pretty much everything. To be honest, I didn’t even know what twerking was until she did it, or didn’t really do it, or tried to do it, or shouldn’t have been doing it…whatever. And I’m being very liberal with the word “singing” because I don’t think she’s very talented…at anything. We, the girls and I, used to watch Hannah Montana, but it was clear even then that while she was a successful child star it probably wasn’t going to translate well as she grew up. At any rate, I think that Miley should take her 150 million dollar fortune and develop herself in other areas. After all, she’s only 20 years old, there has to be more to her than this. If not, I’m very sad for her.
What does interest me, though, is what people say when they jump to defend her recent bad behavior: “Oh, she’s just a kid. Let her be.” “We’ve all made mistakes.” “Who among us hasn’t swung naked on a wrecking ball?” That last one I might have made up. I haven’t. I haven’t done that at all. I’m not necessarily concerned about her, but I am concerned about the message being sent to non superstar girls about their choices. Now, before you get all crazy, I do understand that we all make mistakes. I have made some doozies. I am grateful for grace and I’m not in favor of what is now termed as “slut shaming” (although I have to admit that term confuses me). In fact, Miley wasn’t alone on that stage at the VMA’s, yet you don’t hear much criticism of Robin Thicke and his married, sorry, triflin’ butt for his part in the performance. I have a problem with that because he’s just as culpable as she is. However, everyone, including Miley, has to be responsible for their actions and all actions have consequences, albeit a bit different for your average teen than for a superstar.
A few weeks back there was a post written by a blogger named Mrs. Hall, at Given Breath intended to let teenage girls know that all of the pseudo sexiness that they display on the internet is not welcome in her home via her boys’ Facebook pages. In reality, I’m sure that it’s welcomed by her boys but, as she explains, she polices their pages very closely. So, really it’s her – she’s the one who’s objecting. She doesn’t want their Victoria’s Secret poses influencing her sons’ behavior and furthermore, she isn’t quite sure that they are the type of girls that she would want her boys to even take notice of. Which is unfortunate because, many of these girls are far too young to even understand the error of their ways. They may grow into women with beautiful hearts and minds, who would make wonderful mates for her sons. Unfortunately, her boys will never know, thanks to her. On the other hand, with all of the backlash against the post, it seems to me that there was something very important that was over looked by those who sought to slam the blogger for her position. While it may not be fair to “slut shame” girls for mostly innocent selfies taken while hanging out with their besties, there are consequences to their actions, specifically posting them on social media. Some of those consequences may be raised eyebrows by some parents of friends and school mates, prospective colleges and future employers.
Now, before we get into this, please note that in no way shape or form am I saying that a girl who dresses a certain way or behaves in a certain way is deserving of being violated or bullied or harassed. NEVER! I am also not saying that boys are not responsible for their own actions. What I am saying is that we are all (boys and girls) equally responsible for our own actions and must be ready to deal with the fall out. A parent’s job is to make sure that our sons and daughters are aware of the possible results. My husband and I have witnessed girls blatantly propositioning our sons for sex via text message. We have seen photos of scantily clad girls on Facebook (think more Frederick’s of Hollywood than Victoria’s Secret) and unfortunately, my husband came across a mostly nude picture of one of our daughter’s childhood friends while looking for an email. The girls had been friends since pre-school, he had watched her grow up and it was heart breaking. It didn’t change how he felt about her, but he was and still is concerned about how a photo of that nature circulating on the internet could affect her later in life. We also wondered why such an intelligent and beautiful young woman felt the need to expose herself in that way? Maybe it was nothing more that she like the thought of there being a mostly nude photo of herself on the internet. Or maybe, like Miley, this was her way of signaling that the transition from child to grown woman has taken place. Either way, it doesn’t excuse her from dealing with any consequences that may arise as a result of the photos. For the record, I also don’t like it when young men post photos of themselves with no shirt on or in some sexually explicit setting or doing the faux gangsta poses (“What up, dawg?”). Those are equally as annoying and come with consequences of their own. Like when someone goes on trial for a kid’s murder and that faux gangsta photo is used to prove that the kid deserved it.
I guess what I’m saying here is that, we don’t want our daughters to feel that they are completely responsible for the sexual impulses of boys; and we don’t want boys to act like they are rabid dogs who have no self control. However, we also don’t want our daughters to feel like anything goes and they won’t be expected to take responsibility for their actions, because that would be “slut shaming”. Again, I’m NOT talking about rape here. I’m talking about typical teenage boy /girl interaction. As angry as many people were over Mrs. Hall’s post (trust me, I can see where she was one sided in her position), it just seems to me that what is missing from the argument is common sense. Not teaching our children that there may be fall out from some of their unwise decisions is simply negligent. Is that “slut shaming”? I don’t think so. I think it’s just being realistic. And, do you call it “slut shaming” if the same message is conveyed to boys as it is to girls? I told you that I was confused by that phrase. As far as Miley goes, she has made her point. Hannah Montana is gone! She’s left the building! She’s flown the coup! Now, I just wish that Miley would quickly follow her lead.