It took a couple of days, but I’ve decided to say my piece about Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance. Saying it’s stirred up a hornet’s nest is a huge understatement. Cyrus and MTV have been accused of sending sexually charged messages to children and Cyrus herself has been called “desperate” and her on-stage antics “disgusting”. But, interestingly, no one is saying anything about Robin Thicke’s part in this.
Thicke was a willing participant in everything that happened on stage that night. And, from his reactions, it’s obvious that he knew what was going to happen beforehand. But, the only mention I can find about his part in the whole thing is from his mother, who said “I was not expecting her to be putting her butt that close to my son. The problem is, now I can never unsee it.” Not a word about her son’s head nod when Cyrus raked a big foam finger over his crotch or his knowing smirk while she backed her butt up against him. Basically, we heap disdain on Miley, while giving Thicke a pass. Why? Evidently, America is still rather prudish when it comes to sex…, where our daughters are concerned, that is. Our sons seem to be a different story. Yes, the double standard is alive and well.
People have their panties in a wad over the message Miley’s behavior sends to young people. Compared to the message we’re sending, her’s is almost healthy. Cyrus seems to be saying I’m young, I’m free and I’m going to have a good time no matter what the cost”. What we’re saying is that a healthy young woman who is openly sexual is a slut, a whore and a skank. But, if a young man does that? Well, boys will boys, you know.
Our young people are bombarded with messages about sex and few of them are healthy. If they’re not seeing a 20-year-old girl dry hump a 36-year-old man on live television, they’re being told that sex is dirty and nasty and a sin. Until they get married, then it magically becomes a beautiful, God-given expression of the love between a man and a woman. One message is just as damaging as the other.
I won’t go into what I believe about sex, since I’ve already done that here. But, I will talk about what I think this double standard says to young folks. In stigmatizing Cyrus as a slut and patting Thicke on the back as a guy’s guy, we tell our daughters that their worth is inextricably tied their virginity and if that virginity doesn’t stay intact until the marriage bed, then they are somehow less than. In the same breath, we tell our young men that they are no more than animals who can’t control their urges. When it comes to sex, it takes two to tango and putting all the onus or blame on one party while saying the other just can’t help themselves is so far beyond wrong I don’t know what to say.
I’m the father of two daughters and I would not be happy if either of them participated in a performance like the one in question. And, if I had sons who did the same, I’d be just as upset. But, I would never call them disgusting or desperate; nor would I tell a son “boys will boys”. In other words, I would hold them equally accountable.
All double standards are damaging and this one no more so than any other. But, it is the one in front of us right now and it deserves our attention. As long this warped thinking is allowed to continue, we can’t expect our sons and daughters to have a healthy attitude about sex and it’s our job as parents, as followers of Christ (if you are one), as citizens of the world to put an end to it. Come people now, let’s get together.