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Amid Miley Cyrus VMA flap, let’s talk to our sons about Robin Thicke

Amid Miley Cyrus VMA flap, let’s talk to our sons about Robin Thicke

Lutheran pastor Eric Clapp notes on his blog that Robin Thicke is getting off easy while Miley Cyrus is being slammed for their duet performance of Thicke’s hit song “Blurred Lines” at the Video Music Awards. He writes:

There have been a number of different parenting websites or blog posts who have come up with good ways to talk to your daughter about Miley. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about parents talking to their daughters about sexuality.

But is no one going to hold anyone else on stage or behind the scenes accountable for that performance? Are we really going to have another one-sided conversation where we only talk to the girls about their sexuality while we completely ignore the boys in the room about their standards of behavior too?

There are next to no commentaries, articles, or blog posts that talk about how Robin Thicke was on stage with a woman young enough to be his daughter while thrusting his pelvis and repeating the line “I know you want it” while T.I. non-chalantly raps about much more graphic stuff.

Clapp notes that the VMA spectacle offers an important teaching moment for our sons as well as our daughters. He references Shelly Latham, who writes:

There were two people on that stage (more than that really, but let’s focus on the main two). Apparently Robin Thicke invited Miley to accompany him on “Blurred Lines.” He is a 36 year old man. She is a 20 year old not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman. He knew what he was asking was naughty. But for the man, getting a younger girl, a barely legal girl, is “hot”. She may have twerked her booty off, licked that foam finger like an ice cream cone and all but begged him to have sex with her on that stage (and, no, that is not okay, and, yes, that is in incredibly poor taste), and a grownup, who respects women, who understands that 20 is still pretty much a kid would say, “Maybe this isn’t in your best interest. Maybe you should cover up. I respect you too much to respond when you depend upon sex to promote your value. I’m old enough to be your father, and I wouldn’t want a man to look at my daughter the way that I see men looking at you.”

Bear in mind that the ill-conceived VMA routine was a send-up of Thicke’s trashy “Blurred Lines” video. At her blog, Latham posts this wisdom from Pastor Casey Thompson, of Wayne Presbyterian Church in Wayne, Pa., about how parents can talk to their sons about Robin Thicke. And here’s related perspective from Cafe newsblogger Kurt Wiesner at his blog.


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Benedict Varnum

I found this article to be the most helpful and concise in addressing exactly why this is problematic.

The article, I warn, has images and clips from the performance, which will be rightfully shocking if you aren’t desensitized to that sort of thing (I’m not).

Its strong points, to roughly paraphrase are:

1) That Miley has (for some time) been intentionally trying to market herself as having a “black” style and sound.

2) That this is problematic because it reduces “black” to one (sexualized) aspect of some black performers, and puts that reduction in the service of a white performer’s career.

3) That in this performance there continues to be an exploitation of black women’s bodies and sexuality by persons with power — in this case, a young white performer with name recognition, who is using the shock value of this moment to create hype.

4) That the failure to recognize this moment perpetuates the narrative that it’s okay to treat black women as sexualized objects.

5) That white feminism and mainstream media are treating the discussion of this as an argument only about women’s sexuality, and not including the racial aspects.

The article contains particulars, links, and “deep links” (links within the linked articles). Some of the argument is shorthanded on the understanding that readers will be familiar with at least the basics.

Adam Wood

um- 36 is not “old enough” to be the father of a 20 year old (not in a world where people care about these sorts of moral issues, anyway)

And 20 is not a kid.

(My wife and I had been married for two years by the time she was 20. Oh- and I’m 30, BTW. That was only 9 years ago.)

There’s a lot of problems with this whole disgusting situation, and the moral double-standard is one of them. But the age of the two performers in question is not one of them.

The secular world is trashy and vulgar. It’s been trashy and vulgar for a long time. If you suddenly need to “talk to your child” about some gross performance which is not terribly more shocking than tons of stuff already available every single place, there’s been some serious breakdown in parental communication and responsibility.

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