Over the past 2 days, lots of bloggers have weighed in on Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMA’s. I have read several great articles reflecting on our culture, sexuality, how to talk to teens, and especially how we each contribute to this dynamic in our world. Other articles have pointed out the great discrepancy between heightened discussion of Miley, while ignoring other world issues, like Syria.
I always enjoy watching the VMA’s, The Grammy’s, and other music awards programs. I like to see the creativity that goes into the performances and the staging. Whether or not I personally agree with a particular artist or whether or not I like the genre, I like to see the art (let’s blame my dad for painting with me as a child). For many of these artists, they are at the height of their craft or at least their stardom and as we’ve proven over the past few days- the world is watching.
Some view Miley’s performance as degrading, raunchy, ugly, scary, rude, sad, and even evil. One aspect of the conversation I have yet to come across is what occurred to me as I watched the VMA performances late Sunday night. The song Bruno Mars sang was the one that bothered me. Yes, visually, Miley’s performance was more, well, out there, but lyrically, Mars’ song showed me what really happened Sunday night.
Bruno Mars was not subjected to the same scrutiny as that of Miley, although his song was just as overtly sexual as her dance moves. Being male, it is “okay” for him to discuss and display dangerous, scary, and rude sexual language. Miley, being a woman, doesn’t have that luxury. She is immediately deemed a slut, crazy, and acting out.
As I scanned the twitterverse during Mars’ performance, all I saw was praise and accolades- what a great song! Sorry Bruno, “making love like gorillas” is not my idea of a great song lyric. Other lyrics like “I got a fistful of hair, but you don’t look like you’re scared,” promote attitudes towards women that concern me. And while I don’t feel the need to be the bedroom police, perhaps these are the attitudes that we promote that have led Miley to envoke her sexual power on a stage in front of millions of watching eyes. It takes a lot to counter-act the male dominance displayed in a performance such as Mars’.
Yes, Miley made a mistake and probably needs some support, help, and (gasp) grace, but Bruno made a mistake too.
I challenge you to consider the following:
How is our society’s paradigm for sexual ethics reflected in Bruno Mars’ song and performance?
How do you personally contribute to negative attitudes of men and women?