I never thought I would be writing and sharing my perspective on the recent Miley Cyrus exhibition because, frankly, I just didn’t really care. I used to escape in to the celebrity gossip shows and the occasion rag mag as a means of cheap entertainment and silly fictional indulgence. But I stopped that years ago, because I was starting to feel cheapened myself by partaking in what I now feel is really damaging to our country, and to my soul. Similarly, I stopped watching all of the gruesome crime shows before bed because I didn’t need those images, those topics, that dark side of our reality floating in my brain as I drift off to a night of restorative sleep. So much of this drama is unavoidable in life–I decided that I need not inject myself with any more, especially under the veil of entertainment.
I found the twerking and the tongue and the sledgehammer to be good opportunities for discussion with my daughters. A teaching moment, much like my intention when I took them, along with my son, last night to see Girl Rising, a powerful documentary about the lives that modern-day girls live in developing countries around the world. We all gleaned so much perspective from the film, and it provoked many questions, discussions, and quiet moments of thought.
This is the thing, Miley. You may be expressing yourself in this way because you want us to know you’re a grown-up now. And it’s not just you, I know. You learned this behavior from a society that is accustomed to seeing scantily clad young women using their bodies to project their power, even if they do have brains and talent to back it up. But there are millions of young girls, and grown women, around the world who’s bodies are their full measure of their worth. And their bodies are used, and abused, and tortured, and mutilated–as if they had no brain or soul contained within them. When I see you and others using this hyper-sexualized behavior to prove your point that you are powerful, I think of our sisters around the globe who are fighting to get an education so they can prove their power–to prove that they are more than the feminine shell that contains who they really are. I think it’s insulting to their struggle, and to the pain they endure.
I feel the same way about my kids playing with toy weapons and making an imaginary game of killing people. There are millions of people around the world who are being senselessly killed for someone to prove a point, to show their power. We have American soldiers who nobly surrender their lives to protect your rights and your personal power. How do you want to honor their sacrifice?
It was a deep and provoking movie to show my young kids. But I challenged myself to consider what I feel to be appropriate and inappropriate for their eyes. Our kids are exposed to so much, when they’re home with me and when they’re not. The girl in this film are their peers, and collectively they are all our future. I am inspired by the bravery of young women, near and far, and am doing my best to raise daughters and a son who understand the power we all have–in our choices, in our values, in our responsibility to take care of one another, and in the respect we have for the lives, bodies, and opportunities we have been given.