While away on vacation I was blissfully unaware of the brouhaha over the whole Miley Cyrus VMA performance. (Truthfully, I would have been nearly as blissfully unaware of her performance had I actually been home anyway, as I don’t generally watch the VMAs.)
But now that I’m home and I’ve had my newsfeed filled with suggested links and responses to her, apparently lewd (disturbingly so, I did see pictures), drug inspired(?) and “sad” display, I still haven’t watched it. I probably haven’t anyone in my social circle who actually cares what my thoughts are on twenty-year old superstars gyrating on national television (whatever that even means anymore, in this world of instagram and youtube), but still, I have a couple of thoughts. As a mom. As a woman. As a human.
It is sad.
Not really Miley. But us, as a culture. Does anyone really think she would be on stage doing such things if there wasn’t an audience out there for it? If there wasn’t someone nudging her toward the dollar sign at the end of the risque rainbow, would she really have done whatever it was that she did with that foam finger?
As a culture, as individual households, we are the frog in the pot of hot water, too comfortable to realize that the temperature is rising all around us and we are already cooked. This twenty year old girl on stage, completely adrift (of course, I don’t know her, but it would seem that emotionally, spiritually, personally, she’s floating a little out to sea) and let loose on camera and into our living rooms? She’s just now our rally point. She’s the one toe over the line that sets off our alarm bells. Whoa, whoa there, Missy. What’s wrong with you?
I mean, my daughter would never. I would never. My neighbors, they would never, ever. Who raised you? Don’t you know you’re a role model?
And yet, even while we’re here, pointing fingers and clicking our tongues, we’re still talking about it, watching the channel, clicking the news stories, basically just feeding that same machine that drove her to the performance in the first place.
It is sad.
Again, but this time, for Miley specifically. Can you remember the last time you accidentally posted something inappropriate or had a foot-in-mouth moment on Facebook, or in the office, or at a Christmas party when you had too much to drink?
Or how about that time someone tagged a hideous, unflattering picture of you and you didn’t realize it was showing up in news feeds of friends of friends?
Can you just multiply whatever that mortification might have been by about a hundred thousand?
How crushingly sad, for her. As a human. Because, she is actually just that, isn’t she?
But, unlike the rest of us, here in our living rooms, she didn’t grow up in a lifetime of ordinary moments that helped her to formulate a normal worldview. She grew up fast, probably a lot harder than the rest of us (financial stability and fame do not equal happiness and normalcy) and here she is, being publicly brought out to the firing squad for a terrible decision she made at the age of twenty.
Now, having not seen the clip of her performance, I am just making an assumption here, based on the reactions I’ve read, but, no, I don’t think this was a good decision.
And, I don’t think it was the decision of someone thoughtfully considering their actions based on their original fan base (young, impressionable, girls.) But I do think that it’s something we can maybe try to cut her a little slack for and if nothing else, we can make better decisions for ourselves and what we’ll invest our hearts and minds into for entertainment.
(Again, if there was no market, if our culture wasn’t already at such a level of depravity (whether we realize it or not) I think the performance would have been different.)
Oh, my dear daughters. I hope you never actually do see this performance. I hope that maybe as a society, we can see this as a wake up call – not for the crazies in Hollywood or for those up on stages swiveling beneath those hot lights – but for us. All of us, as a culture. For my sake. For the sake of my daughters, can we start to respect ourselves a little more?
Dear Bean & Goose (and I do apologize for those terribly unflattering nicknames), please know this: you are amazing and intelligent and powerful, all without ever having the approval of ANYONE else.
You have the approval of the ultimate, the only one who counts, and you can carry that like a crown and walk as the empowered person that you are.
And you see, if you ever DO see such a performance as Miley’s, you ought not confuse applause and apparent adoration with power. Anyone can let go. Anyone can go wild and lose themselves to a moment, to a man, to a mistake.
True power is in what you are able to hold back.