So I thought it would be fun to watch the VMA’s with my children last week. My kids are at an age when they are just discovering popular music. They’ve set aside “The Lion King” for “whatever is on Kiss 108.” Over the course of the summer, listening to the popular songs on the radio in the car has actually given us a good opportunity to start talking about some important issues: gender stereotypes, commercialism, appropriate and inappropriate language.
I regretted my decision to watch the VMAs with them as soon as Miley Cyrus took the stage. It was the costume. Everything about it was disturbing (to me and to my children, interestingly. They found it “sad.”) We turned the channel before the performance reached its nadir. But I’ve since seen the video of it, and am actually heartened by the controversy it stirred. I guess I’m not the only person in America who felt it crossed the line (well, a handful of lines, really). Watching it brought back memories of sitting in an auditorium in Madison, Wisconsin in 1990 watching the documentary “Killing Us Softly” and thinking, “I’m so glad our society is so much more aware now of the objectification of women. I’m sure things will be much better for my daughter someday….”
Lots has been written about the VMA performance. But I want to draw your attention to this blog posting by a Lutheran pastor. He rightly points out that blaming the female performer is an inadequate response, and that all of us who are parents, especially those who parent boys, have a role to play in creating a culture where the strength, dignity, and agency of all people is protected. Love to hear your thoughts, too.