First: I never watch award shows (except for the ESPY’s, but that’s mostly because I love the awards given in honor of Arthur Ashe and Jim Valvano). Second: I have not watched the video of the Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke dance. But I have a read a lot of vitriol regarding it:
“What’s wrong with Miley?”
“Look at how crazy she is!”
“She is such a _________.”
“Her parents must be so disappointed.”
“It’s her parents’ fault.”
All of this reaction leads me to the following question:
What about the misogynistic, demeaning, degrading, pervert who was on the stage with her? Why is Thicke skating on this? I read the following tweet from Everyday Sexism: “Message from recent news stories: Man & Woman do sexually explicit thing publicly. Woman slammed as slut/slag/whore/bitch/tramp.”
Regardless of his weak attempts defending himself, Thicke’s Blurred Lines is the most recent in a long line of entertainment that states women are to be thought of, viewed, and used merely as sexual objects. And not only do people soak it up, but the fact that it is so demeaning is used as an object of humor (RE Jimmy Fallon’s “family-friendly” version).
So the message is Thicke, and many other musicians (including female ones), can write lyrics, film videos, and hire dancers willing to bare it all in an effort to use women as a means to make a buck.
But when Miley Cyrus becomes one of those dancers we collectively act like we still abide by Puritanical moral standards?
Understand: I am not defending Cyrus’ actions. I am questioning why a young woman is being blasted for doing what American consumers have demanded young women do, while allowing the architect of the song and dance to get off as if he is an innocent bystander.
As a father, I hope that my children never feel they need to exploit their sexuality to be considered successful. I also hope they grow up to be accountable enough to never use anyone’s sexuality as a means to an end in their quest for success.
More than that, I hope we can create an environment of entertainment that does not buy and sell women’s bodies and then hide behind phrases like “artistic” and “empowering.” I hope we can create an environment where people’s intelligence, talent, and artistry are appreciated on their own merit.
I hope we can create an environment where men and women are held to the same standard: an environment that calls out exploitation and abuse; an environment that does not treat victims as guilty; an environment that will not stand for degradation in any form.
Because to me the lines are not blurred, they are fairly well-defined. And Miley was not crossing those lines alone. Let’s not let the other guy get away with it any more.