There has been a lot of talk this week about the “performance” by Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. For those of you who missed it, you can see the video on our Facebook Page, along with the tongue lashing we got from concerned readers. There are a lot of issues at hand here and I wanted to break them down one by one. While some of the themes are mature, if you were old enough to stay up late and watch the show, you are old enough to know the messages it was sending.
- Racism: During the beginning of the number Miley sings her hit single “We Can’t Stop.” On stage with her
Rihanna is not impressedare all black female dancers. The ratio really wasn’t the issue, it was how she interacted with these women, as if they were set pieces. Gwen Stefani got a lot of flack for her Harajuku Girl entourage. Yet not many are talking about Miley. Jezebel.com is though, User Name: Ninjacate says, “What Miley did last night was easily one of the most racist displays I’ve ever seen. From her insistence on twerking, to her use of all black women as literal props (they were teddy bears) to her smacking of her dancer’s [butt] and the simulation of [sex acts], it is very clear to me, that Miley thinks that black women’s bodies are to be enjoyed, devalued and put on display for entertainment purposes.“
- Self Esteem: I grew up watching sensitive soul Richard Simmons trying to get old fat people Sweat to the Oldies. He was at the VMA’s and was interviewed by ET. He makes a good statement when he says “Miley Cyrus, like all of us, needs to be loved. We all come from complicated parents… I understand her, and I love her.” I don’t know Miley’s heart, but I do know that outrageous behavior is often a cry for love or attention. (even if it is negative) The blog Roadkill Goldfish doesn’t put it as tenderly, but is true just the same, “Miley Cyrus is not edgy or cool or sexy. She’s a desperate girl screaming for attention: Notice me. Tell me I’m pretty. See how hot I am. I know all the guys want me. All the girls want to be me. You probably know girls who will emulate this behavior at the next school dance. Don’t do it with them. You are far too valuable to sell yourself so cheaply. Walk away. Let the boys gawk and know in your heart that they see only a body that can be used for their pleasure and then forgotten.”
- Role Models: My wife always talks about how she is worried about our sons growing up in a world where sexuality (pornography) is so prevalent. Last month we brought our first daughter into the world and I have to say; I am almost more worried for her. Like the point made above, people want to feel loved. In the teenage years there are a lot of influential people, showing them how to get that negative attention. We see it all over in our loss of modest dress, the prevalence of the “selfie,” and the declining importance on chastity in our culture. We can mirror these right back to popular culture; the covers of women’s magazines in the checkout line, Scarlett Johansen and Vanessa Hudgens getting press coverage of inappropriate “leaked” selfies, Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton who are famous for only one reason. It marks why our Young Women’s program has such a focus on these issues. But they are only a symptom. The virus is that many women do not understand their divine heritage and where true beauty lies.
Sex Sells: Look up the Top Ten on itunes. As of today #3 is Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines“ and #8 is Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” (her new single “Wrecking Ball” is #6). Although I can’t really figure out what Blurred Lines is about, The Matt Walsh Blog says it “is an anthem to fornication and objectification.” More on that later. Miley’s track isn’t any sweeter. It praises the use of party drugs, sex, and lack of consequences. While we are free to choose our actions, we are not able to choose our consequences. (Electric Zoo was just shut down due to “Molly” deaths.) Last year Deseret News published a study they did on The Top 20 Songs of 2011. “A close analysis of the top 20 songs on the 2011 Billboard charts reveals little about long-term commitment. There are almost no direct references to fidelity. There is a lack of a family element. And there are no references to regret… Studies have shown that references to sex, drugs and alcohol are not only becoming more blatant, they are affecting listeners. Technology has made access to music, lyrics and video easier than ever. At the same time, attempts at ‘shock value’ are pushing boundaries. With experts warning of serious consequences, it is becoming increasingly important for listeners to be aware of the messages coming through their headphones.” The music industry machine has graduated Miley from her Hannah Montana packaging to the product they think the 20 somethings of today want. To be told that they can do what they want, say what they want, love who they wa
nt. I have heard it from an unnamed recently legalized family member. “I’m 18 now, I can do what I want. You can’t tell me what to do anymore.”
- Chauvinism: While America was busy “slut shaming” Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke got off nearly scot free. While the lyrics to “Blurred Lines” are suggestive, the video is very in your face. The video is the #2 most purchased music video on iTunes. I clicked the 30 second preview, but only watched 5 of it when to my unpleasant surprise it was the explicit version where all the models are topless. This pornography was nominated for a video of the year VMA. I can’t say I am surprised. During the VMA performance Thicke gets his crotch stroked by Miley with a foam finger over his pants. She then proceeds to grind on him in an skimpy outfit resembling the girls in his video. And while Miley is vilified for this, the only negative thing people have to say about Thicke is that his outfit make him look like Beetlejuice. (which isn’t untrue) Matt Walsh went on to say, “Miley Cyrus is an adult and should be held responsible for her actions. But where are the men in all of this? Have we so completely given up on chivalry that we don’t even see what’s troubling about a GROWN [expletive] MARRIED DUDE singing a song about sexual domination while dry humping a young woman on national TV? Men in this culture need to stand up and be leaders. I don’t want to talk about the Miley Cyruses of the world. Enough is said about them. I want to talk about the legions of cowardly, amoral adult men who graduate college and still carry on like frat boys well into their 60′s. The girls that behave like Miley Cyrus do so because they want to attract men. And it works. It shouldn’t.”
Infidelity: Which brings us to our next point. Did you even know Robin Thicke is a married man with a 3 year old son? At least Miley is a 20 year old girl. She has some defense in being dumb. Robin is a grown man. I remember how crushed I was when I realized Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson of Home Improvement weren’t married to each other in real life, but to other people! Satan knows how to best attack the sons and daughters of God, he goes after the family. Men like Robin Thicke portray a lifestyle that is damaging to our society. In an interview with his wife she said when Robin comes home from a shoot like that she like to dress up and dance for him. There is nothing wrong with a little fun between a husband and wife, but that just screams a desperate attempt to win back a man, that should already be hers.
25 years ago during a Family Home Evening my Dad informed us of a new family rule, No MTV. I was 8 years old and it seemed so over baring at the time, but after seeing the messages it sends it make perfect sense and makes sense now more then ever. Edit: I just noticed that the video that did win the Video of the Year VMA was Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors.” It was a story of the love that existed between a widow and her lost husband. It tells of their romance and determination to stick together through good times and bad and how they two become a mirror image of themselves. It is dedicated to Justin’s own grandparents, who’s grandfather recently past away. In the video the grandmother passes her ring to Justin who recently just became a husband himself, symbolizing that his marriage should have the same importance. It is a beautiful short film of sorts and certainly deserving of the award. Chalk that one up as a win for the good guys!