I recently choreographed a dance for my class to Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”
I’d heard all the scuttlebutt about Miley getting too sexy and how it offended people since she used to be Hannah Montana, but I hadn’t paid any attention. I liked the song since the first time I heard it and it’s fun to dance to music with a lot of raw emotion because it helps pull out that extra performance quality sometimes lacking in class. (The goofy thing is that when I first heard the song on the radio, I thought she was saying “rainbow” instead of “wrecking ball” and to me it made the juxtaposition of all that rough emotion with the cutesy word rainbow all the more interesting.)
Anyway, I had downloaded the music to my iPod, but I was being lazy so I pulled it up on Youtube and got the video version.
Not in a good way. I assume by now you all have seen it? If not, take a peek after you read this post to see if you agree with my take on it.
I was embarrassed watching it. Me, the woman who writes all things lurid and hot.
Why? Because something about Miley seemed unsure. There was shame blended into her performance. She smiled and sang and swung around on wrecking balls naked, but she didn’t own it.
Now I understood why everyone was talking about her. Plenty of female singers have shown a lot of skin and used their bodies in some pretty hot and sexy ways and no one says a word about it. What makes Miley’s performance uncomfortable is her own shame. Now I understand why people are saying she was misguided, or ill-advised, despite the fact that her god-mother Dolly Parton said she has a good head on her shoulders and knows exactly what she’s about. Her performance has the look a young girl being pushed into a role she isn’t sure about. She doesn’t look like she feels sexy. She doesn’t look empowered about her choice to show her body. She looks like she’s allowing her body to be used, but someone else had to tell her what would be sexy and she’s just following directions.
The result is cringe-worthy (that, and I just don’t get the videos where the singers don’t move their lips because they don’t want to mess up their heavy red lipstick…what is that?)
I don’t know yet exactly how I will explain the enormous and loaded issue of sex and sexuality to my daughter as she becomes a teen, but I do know that I will address the sex-negative societal views as separate from natural desires and biology.
I don’t want to stifle her sexuality, nor do I ever want her to experience slut-shaming, or to be abused.
I hope she can be comfortable in her own skin in a way that took me decades to figure out.