After the spectacle that was the Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke performance at this year’s VMA awards, a mother wrote a blog that has now gone viral, entitled “Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you.“
Last week, a father wrote this response, countering, “I’m no feminist. Miley Cyrus is an adult and should be held responsible for her actions. But where are the men in all of this?” In an interview, Miley had this to say: “You’re thinking about it more than I thought about it when I did it. Like, I didn’t even think about it ’cause that’s just me.”
What does this have to do with child sexual abuse? Quite a bit, actually.
As long as youth take their cues from performers like Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, we will continue to promote a culture that labels women as objects rather than people: disposable, replaceable, and only worth their sexual value. When we refuse to hold men to a basic standard of decency – they can’t help themselves when the girl dresses/looks/acts/exists like that – we not only overlook sexually motivated violence, we justify it.
The “tweenage” and teenage years are just as vital and just as much a part of childhood as younger years. These youth still need to be protected and provided with proper boundaries. Exposure to messages such Thicke’s (“But you’re an animal, baby, it’s in your nature. Just let me liberate you.”) does not produce a culture of equality or honor. It instead promotes a culture of violence, degradation, and at its extreme, abuse.
It’s time for a change, ladies and gentlemen. Start with your children. Use these occurrences as teaching moments to explain to kids that this is not the norm, and is not okay. Show them examples of true role models who display respect for themselves and for others. Let Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke be a lesson to us all.