[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ince the VMAs last month the Internet has been 24/7 Miley Cyrus. What she wears or does not wear fills news articles, videos, and speculation. Her new music video–in which she wears nothing–has received something north of a few dozen views online. (Ok, something north of 100 million.)
Former pop-star Sinead O’Connor and longtime rocker Annie Lennox both weighed in on Mileygate with warnings. O’Connor’s initial open letter (apparently there are now four?) warns Cyrus that she is prostituted even as the young singer believes herself to be making her own decisions. Lennox, in a Facebook update, blamed the industry for “peddling highly stylized pornography with musical accompaniment,” leaving little doubt she referenced Cyrus and Rhianna. Lennox’s entire statement is both insightful and profound:
I have to say that I’m disturbed and dismayed by the recent spate of overtly sexualised performances and videos. You know the ones I’m talking about. It seems obvious that certain record companies are peddling highly styled pornography with musical accompaniment. As if the tidal wave of sexualised imagery wasn’t already bombarding impressionable young girls enough..I believe in freedom of speech and expression, but the market forces don’t give a toss about the notion of boundaries. As long as there’s booty to make money out of, it will be bought and sold. It’s depressing to see how these performers are so eager to push this new level of low.Their assumption seems to be that misogyny- utilised and displayed through oneself is totally fine, as long as you are the one creating it. As if it’s all justified by how many millions of dollars and U tube hits you get from behaving like pimp and prostitute at the same time. It’s a glorified and monetized form of self harm.
I tried to be carefully measured with my comments on yesterday’s blog, realising that the subject clearly courts controversy and divisiveness. On reflection I will say that sexuality is an inherent and profound part of life. There is absolutely nothing “wrong” about our sexuality or sensuality per se – But if a performing artist has an audience of impressionable young fans and they want to present a soft porn video or highly sexualised live performance, then it needs to qualify as such and be X rated for adults only. I’m talking from the perspective of the parents of those young fans. The whole thing is about their children’s protection. Is it appropriate for seven year olds to be thrusting their pelvises like pole dancers? I really don’t think so. Boundaries need to be put in place so that young kids aren’t barraged by market forces exploiting the “normalisation” of explicit sex in under age entertainment. That means – no audiences under 18. Simple! Well – not quite. The Internet has put paid to “boundaries” and “simple”.
As it regards Miley Cyrus, parents–especially Christian ones–are aghast over her evolution from Hannah Montana. The former Disney star now comes with a NSFW warning. They would be less shocked if Minnie and Donald had an affair in the cellar while the Sorcerer’s Apprentice mopped the floor.
We look askance at Billy Ray and Momma Ray while casting our stones from safe distances. As if we have never made decisions we regret. As if our children have never made a decision that brings us sorrow. As if many of us could not be in their shoes. As if none of us are.
The media spews faux outrage over a situation they helped create and continue to promote. Adults wonder what kind of role model Cyrus has become.
Seriously? Role model? Wherever you find a Christian young person who does not immediately recognize the error of Miley Cyrus’s ways you have found a profound failure of discipleship. That failure is not on Miley Cyrus, Rhianno, Madonna, Wendy O. Williams or a record company.
Perhaps in the midst of all the outrage we do well to remember that Miley Cyrus is not the problem. She can burn all of her clothes and run around as naked as the day she was born until the day she dies. Which, as it seems, is her current career path.
She still is not the problem.
The Bible is clear that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Instead, our true enemies are spiritual beings both powerful and wicked (Ephesians 6). When we focus on visible beings as enemies we lose the reality of the invisible war. I think a specific strategy of Satan is to make us disgusted by certain people so we will not love them. When that happens we think wrongly, we pray wrongly, we judge wrongly. Rarely does disgust birth concern.
Miley is not the enemy. Miley is a victim of the enemy. Why not pray for her and against him?
From January read also, Against the objectification of females.