It was the shock heard ‘round the world when a scantily clad Miley Cyrus and her foam finger pranced and “twerked” her way across the stage of the MTV Video Music Awards as Robin Thicke watched lasciviously and sang about Blurred Lines. The performance was the topic of water cooler and social media chatter ad nauseam, and the outcry seemed to be the same: “What was she thinking?” “What does this say to our daughters?” “What kind of role model is she?” But perhaps the bigger question should be: Why were your kids watching?
GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN
Ever since Elvis first wiggled his hips in a manner that some found “sinful,” rock and roll has been pushing the proverbial envelope. Remember the 1980s, when Madonna cavorted around in a wedding gown, sang Like a Virgin, and gyrated on the floor in a way that let you know that virginity was the last thing on her mind? Or how about Britney Spears appearing in little more than a smile and a snake for her MTV performance of I’m A Slave 4 U? And speaking of Britney and Madonna, let’s not forget the famous kissing incident. The bottom line is that bad behavior at these shows is not uncommon, so why are we hanging Miley out to dry? She actually had on more clothing than Lady Gaga. Is it because she was once the innocent Hannah Montana? Is it because we are afraid that our daughters will emulate this behavior?
BOYS WILL BE BOYS
Before we get too righteous in our indignation over Miley, is anyone pointing the foam finger at Robin Thicke? Our daughters aren’t the only ones in jeopardy here. What does Thicke’s behavior, as well as the lyrics to his song, say to our sons? That even if a girl says no, she still “wants it”? That women are nothing but sex toys put here solely for the pleasure of men? Then there is the fact that he is old enough to be her father, which simply adds to the “ick” factor. Yet with the exception of two very well-written articles that made the Internet rounds, very little was made of Thicke’s contribution to the act. In fact, male rappers and pop stars have been singing about and simulating sex on stage for years, but thanks to our “wink wink, nudge nudge” mentality regarding sexual stereotypes, that doesn’t often make headlines.
BLURRING THE LINES OF RESPONSIBILITY
The sad fact is, we live in a time where our children are saturated with mixed messages and blurred lines regarding sex. “Raising a child in the digital age is a perilous journey fraught with minefields for even the most conscientious and attentive parent,” says San Antonio dad Grant McFarland. “Artists like Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke don’t make navigating it any easier. “But is it the job of entertainers and sports figures to make our jobs as parents easier? Are they really expected to be the role models that our kids look up to? Or is it up to us as parents to work even harder to police what our children are exposed to and to have conversations about what is and is not appropriate behavior when it comes to interacting with members of the opposite sex?
“Didn’t the Mileys of our day exist?” questions San Antonio mom Cris Bregman. “Didn’t us girls know right from wrong no matter what was on MTV? Maybe it just falls back on the parents.” Let your children learn how to behave from YOU rather than pop stars. Explain to them that in the digital world in which we live, mistakes and poor choices can follow them around for a lifetime, hurting their chances for school acceptances, job promotions and more. Finally, if they cross the lines, be ready with an appropriate consequence. Remember, you are the parent. While it is the right of actors, entertainers and sports figures to do and say what they want, it is your right and responsibility to change the station or channel if you find it offensive or inappropriate for your family.