Arg. I did not want to join this conversation. I was on vacation last week when the VMA’s happened and the backlash started. Miley’s tongue dominated the internet. Well, really, other parts of her dominated the internet, but the tongue pictures were enough of a visual for me, thank you very much. I studiously avoided watching the video and reading all the commentaries. Unfortunately, I didn’t completely unplug from the entire digital world, which means the discussion about the Thicke/Cyrus performance was unavoidable.
So here’s my $0.02 worth: why are people surprised about this? Why all the outrage now? How could people not see this coming?
I would compare this to having a 30-year diet of McDonalds, cigarettes and TV and then waking up one morning to discover that you’re 500 pounds, have heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, and lung cancer. You are shocked. How could this have happened? Something must be done immediately!
Individual and collective physical health is an apt analogy for individual and collective sexual health. And vice versa. It’s the same pattern. Garbage in, garbage out.
The crap with which we fill our minds and bodies is the crap that our minds and bodies will become. McDonalds is Disney. Coke is Playboy. Monsanto is MTV. Gardasil is Abercrombie and Fitch. The products that we purchase shape and define our health.
When we buy fresh ingredients and make our meals at home, we are saying “no, thank you” to heart disease. When we eat more fruits and vegetables and less sugar and starch, we are saying “no, thank you” to obesity. When we drink water instead of Coke, we are saying “no, thank you” to diabetes. When we play outside instead of watching TV, we are saying “no, thank you” to depression.
Likewise, our lifestyle choices regarding modesty, dating, abstinence, song lyrics and TV shows, the way we treat the opposite sex, the trends that we buy into – these are all factors in the sexual health of our society. Every unhealthy choice we make in these areas propels us along a path that leads to The Robin and Miley Porn Show.
If we want the destination to change, we have to choose a different route.
Tweeting our outrage about MTV while we’re still watching MTV is about as effective as addressing our obesity problem by throwing out the scale.
We have to consciously, actively, consistently make better decisions for ourselves and for our kids. Maybe start by not outfitting your newborn’s nursery in the latest Playboy-themed crib set from Sears. Maybe don’t let your 9-year-old wear yoga pants with bootylicious written in sparkly letters across her backside. Maybe don’t buy your 12-year-old a lacy, push-up bra. Maybe if your son is talking trash about girls at school, don’t brush it off as typical, harmless, teenage behaviour. Maybe install some parental controls on your home’s internet access, and better yet, be present and engaged with your kids when they are online. Maybe talk to your kids’ friends’ parents about what movies/TV shows/video games are appropriate and if their opinions don’t line up with yours, set some parameters about how much time your kid spends at their house. Maybe when artists for whom you previously had some measure of respect start pumping out filth, stop buying it.
The choice is ours. We set the course. Tomorrow’s destination is a result of today’s decisions. That performance at the VMA’s was the product of our own societal demand. So let’s demand something better.
Oh, and don’t you think there are more important things going on in the world these days? I mean, seriously. Ben Affleck will be awesome as Batman.