A few weeks back I made a post on my Facebook page addressing Miley Cyrus’s recent comments regarding her song ‘We Can’t Stop.’ She stated that it was indeed about drug use. The lyrics “everyone in line in the bathroom, trying to get a line in the bathroom” and “dancing with Molly” were indeed about using drugs (probably ecstasy as the reference is normally used). She stated it was time for people to stop viewing her as a child. As in, adults can use drugs, it’s our bodies, lay off. This upset me and I stated drug use was a stupid way to express maturity.
I am a sobriety advocate. Sobriety, for me, is in no way an immature choice. On my page and in my life it is a reoccurring theme. I am fully aware many adults choose otherwise, whether it’s getting high, drunk, tipsy or the many other points in “under the influence”. I know and love many people who use some substance or another to cope, medicate or release tension. But, I advocate sobriety. It could be the next door neighbor, the 8th grader at my daughter’s lunch table, my good friend or even a pop star, but when someone makes a blasé statement about drugs, I respond. It’s kind of my THING. So, after I read her statement, I made my post. While some people agreed, quite a few attacked me for being “judgmental”. Being that every opinion is a judgment and I stand fast to mine, especially when it comes to my “thing”, I let it go and moved on with my day.
A couple of weeks later we were at home listening to the radio. “Blurred Lines” came on and immediately we all started moving our hips. My 12 year old daughter came over to me and said, “mom, do you know what this song is about?” I replied “yes”, instantly feeling a bit bad about enjoying the beats. By age 14, I was a self-proclaimed feminist. I heard “you’re a good girl” the first time I heard the song and knew the lyrics would irritate me. It was the good girl vs. bad girl categorization that I had fought, as an outspoken woman, most of my life. “Yeah, I know.” I told her. “Mom,” she continued, “do you REALLY know?” I turned down the music and I looked at her, “what do YOU think this song is about?”
She told me the kids had been talking about it at school. She told me it was about date rape. “It’s about getting a girl drunk and talking her into doing things. So she won’t know what’s right or wrong. So the lines get blurry.”
I smiled, “but it has such a fun beat!” She didn’t smile back.
Now, I have been aware, for 20 years, that the best way to make racism, sexism and all other forms of hate OK, is to make them a joke. Tell a joke, people laugh, and those who don’t are haters. “It’s just a joke, get over it” is how the stereotypes are able to flourish. Blonde jokes, man jokes, Polish jokes, women jokes- they perpetuate a much deeper expression of hatred. I could mark this up to “just a song”. But this song was teaching my child, and her peers, about dating, about boundaries and about the blurred lines. And it was making them cool and acceptable. In fact, the easy beats and “hey, hey, heys” were blurring my lines as an equality advocate and parent. I was missing the bigger picture. She was right.
Those who enjoy the song can make excuses; it’s actually about infidelity or it’s actually a parody of women pitting themselves into “good girl/bad girl” roles and how they should just do what they want. Certain people could even make us think the song PROMOTES equality. But not to our children. To our children it is a song about date rape.
Perceptions are where we derive our reality.
Because that’s something I would do if given a giant finger.
The next day the internet was in uproar. The same people who admonished me for being judgmental were hoping Miley could find Jesus. She was vulgar and disgusting and her parent’s must be ashamed of her. It was everywhere in Facebooklandia. I, like so many others, brought it up. But I wondered 3 things:
1. Which female pop stars DON’T use sexuality to promote their careers? Was her outfit all that different from what we’ve seen on Gaga, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Brittney Spears, Christina Aguilera or Madonna? Why was it even an issue?
Have you ever been on a date or in a social situation where after the fact you aren’t sure if you were just raped? It’s a weird feeling, knowing you said you didn’t want to, but were just so uncomfortable that you went along with it all. I mean why the hell not? It’s 2013 and you’re not a virgin waiting to give your goats to some man. Plus, you were horny. You kind of did want it. Just not there with that guy. One thing leads to another and eh, you said no, but finally you just said, “fine”. That happened to me once. “No, no, no, FINE.” It’s a weird feeling, the feeling of shutting down. Blurred lines are strange, even when you’re completely sober. Because we don’t want to fight. We don’t want to hear, “it’s just a joke, lighten up.” We don’t want to be judged. I don’t want my daughter to ever think I will make light of blurred lines.
She answered, “you.”
“Maybe it sounds corny or whatever, but I learn about stuff from you and think about what you’ve taught me when I make decisions. I guess, you are my role model. Not those people, I don’t even know those people.”
|She's always helping me see more clearly|