O.K., O.k., I know I'm late to this party.
You know, the week-long party everyone else has already checked into and moved on from? The Potluck where the guests have brought everything from Slut Shaming Soup to Twerking Tacos, washing it all down with sips of Billy Ray Blaming Brewskis. Yes, the 2013 VMAs are in the history books, and I, being of middle-age and motherhood, was wrapped up in other more important things, like back to school shopping and Game of Thrones, to tune in on that fateful night in television and music history.
I heard about it, like I hear about most things, after the fact. I've often joked that if it doesn't happen in my house, I don't know about it. So, the morning after the VMAs I woke up to find all of my Facebook friends up in arms about Miley Cyrus' scandalous behavior. Everyone was all "what was she thinking?" and "OMG! Why was that allowed on tv?" So I pulled up YouTube to see what all the fuss was about and soon, I too, was all "Jesus, Mary and Joseph in a Manger, this country is going to hell in a handbasket!" And, that should have been the end of it. For me, that usually is the end of it. For in my Real Housewife of Berks County world, there was laundry to do and a cat box to scoop.
Days have passed here in the real world, which, in the rarefied air of the the entertainment and media worlds, translates into decades. The cameras and talking heads have moved on to other topics of import (actual import, such as Syria, and who has been cast to play Christian Gray in the new 50 Shades of Gray movie. By the way, my guy, didn't win the part.) And yet....
And yet, I can't stop thinking about it. I can still see young Miley, with her tongue hanging out (what??) and bent over her big foam finger (why???) ...I just don't get it. Back in my day, Madonna stepped out onto the stage in her half a wedding dress, rolled around on the floor singing "Like a Virgin" and that was it. That was all we had, we didn't know any better and we liked it. (shout out to Mr. Dana Carvey) Show's over and we all went home happy.
I could join the chorus of voices decrying the vulgarity on display that night and nearly every night on MTV and other channels. I could (and did) shake my head in sadness as another young lady fell victim to our society's insistence on hypsersexualizing it's little girls. My daughter was too young to worship at the altar of Hannah Montana, but I commiserate with my fellow mothers who had to try to explain Miley's behavior to their teens and tweens last week. I know my time is coming as Selena Gomez comes of age and embarks on her R rated movie career. Another sweet one bites the dust.
Is there blame here? Where should it be placed? We have been quick to blame Miley, but I have to point out, and don't know why I have to point this out, Miley wasn't the only one on stage that night. It was a HUGE production on a HUGE TV broadcast, put on by a HUGE worldwide company. Thousands of people were involved in this production on stage and behind the scenes. Months in the planning, myriad executives, dancers, singers, advertisers, Miley and....Robin Thicke. While we are so quick to judge Miley a slut and say she has behaved in an "unladylike manner". Very little has been said about Robin's performance. He was kind of hard to miss up there on stage, the guy in the tight black and white stripes. Allowing his very married crotch to be twerked upon by our girl Miley. Where are the people decrying his behavior? I have to wonder if this is OK with his wife? Why is it ok with him? And, in my own, middle-aged naivete, I must wonder, why was he not enough of a gentleman to step up and say it's not ok for Miley?
I have more questions than answers here, I realize. I'm surprised that so many of us, and I include myself in this, still have the knee-jerk reaction to shame Miley and and take Robin's behavior in stride. But upon second and third look, other questions come to mind--why do we build our celebrities up to such a level and then stand back to enjoy the free fall? We can say we didn't see this coming. Really? We didn't see this coming? Remember how quickly Britney Spears went from warbling "I'm Not a Girl" to the wild-eyed, shaven-headed crazy lady who attacked a truck with an umbrella? How do we stop the objectification of our young ladies? How do we teach them to value and advocate for themselves? How do we teach our young men to value our young ladies and yes, even advocate for them? And don't even get me started on Billy Ray Cyrus. To paraphrase comedian Chris Rock, Billy Ray had ONE DAMN JOB as a father, and that was to keep his daughter "off the pole." In this he has failed. I hope and pray there are still fathers in the entertainment world who look at their daughters as a treasure to be jealously guarded rather than a commodity to be sold on the cheap. I'm looking at you, Joe Simpson and Michael Lohan. Yes, let's remember, Miley's not the only little girl gone shockingly wild--she's merely the latest.
Because unfortunately, from where I sit, the world still looks like a man's world. And Miley's just livin' it.