I waited a little while before writing this post because I had to stop for a minute and really think about what I witnessed. There has been a ton of chatter online about Miley Cyrus and her lewd performance at the VMAs. If you haven’t explored the various dialog, check out the links below for some interesting insights.
More On Miley Cyrus
- Solidarity is For Miley Cyrus: The Racial Implications of her VMA Performance
- On Miley Cyrus, Ratchet Culture and Accessorizing With Black People
- Rosen: The 2013 VMAs Were Dominated by Miley’s Minstrel Show
The Challenge of Raising Daughters
I think the overall display by Miley Cyrus speaks volumes about the challenges for parents raising daughters in today’s hyper-sexualized, porn-obsessed, media-driven rape culture.
You can tell I’m irritated, right?
The reality is, we’re on all rolling on a derailed train that doesn’t seem to be stopping. At least that’s what it feels like to a mother raising a five year old daughter who will no doubt be watching music videos and imitating girls like Miley in the future. I AM NOT looking forward to those days and I’m struggling at figuring out how to delay them as much as possible so my daughter can keep some of her innocence in tact before she hits the age of 18.
I have to be honest, I’m a 31 year old woman who struggles to find role models myself. The majority of the women with media presence aren’t anyone I’d want to emulate, nor do they push a message that I can get behind. It’s not all their fault I suppose. Many strong women in Hollywood and the music industry have spoken out against the oppression or the voices and control of their bodies.
Geena Davis, Lauren Hill and Janelle Monáe, to name a few.
Obviously this is nothing new, but it seems like the intensity is growing. Girls are falling prey to society’s lust at younger and younger ages. For girls of color, the expectations are even more extreme.
I guess it all boils down to the entertainment value of being a woman…or even a girl…these days. Girls are made to look at apparently. But that’s not what I want my daughter to find useful about herself. Not at all. I want her to admire her own beauty, but I don’t want her to see her sexuality as a tool for advancement or as a method for “winning” a man’s attention.
I’ve spoken several times about raising a feminist daughter and I really think this is a topic that needs to become a regular here on the blog.
Even more, I think dads need to speak out…and men in general. Fred Goodall of Mocha Dad has jumped in to address related topics recently, talking about the lack of age-appropriate clothing for tweens. And there are other dads too…talking about the difficulties of raising daughters in a society that stalks young girls.
It’s becoming more and more of a challenge and I think we’re all feeling a bit powerless as parents wondering, “How can we stop this?”
I don’t even want to think about all the body image issues that scenes like this cause.
What do you think? What can we do to stop this? How can we protect our daughters from being ogled and subjugated? How can we raise strong girls who are secure enough to say ‘no’ when necessary?