This is Not About Miley Cyrus
I was scrolling through new discussion topics a few days ago, and this quote caught my eye:
I’m interested in talking about Miley Cyrus.
And I thought, “UGH! No! No, I’m not interested in talking about Miley Cyrus! I am sick to death of Miley Cyrus!” But the rest of the paragraph made me pause:
Not her grotesque performance, but how she’s the culmination of some really messed up stuff going on in our culture. There’s a proliferation of hyper-sexualized images of young girls everywhere, and a (responsive?) backlash against women in the form of violence, rape, and legislative restrictions on women’s access to health care, fair workplace cultures, etc.
The rest of the topic The Myth of the Teen Girl Temptress and Violence Against Women has a a nice summary of articles to bring you up to speed, if you are as pop-culture-illiterate as I am.
- How to Talk to Your Boys About Robin Thicke
- this one discusses the myth of the teen temptress in relation to the 14-y-o raped by her teacher story also in the news this week
- 5 Ways Modern Men are Trained to Hate Women
- John Lajoie’s song about the Miley thing
- Miley, Robin, Race, Raunch and Kids from Pigtail Pals
- Pause for a detox: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ gorgeous Same Love vid won an award for “Best Video with a Social Message”
- If you get your pop culture via NPR, all of this may be old new, because they had this article three weeks ago: When Pop Stars Flirt With Bad Taste
But I’m sure you’re as sick of Miley as I am, so I’ll tell you the real reason I’m writing this article, in the face of absolute Miley saturation. It’s this post:
Anyway, enough about the VMAs. I’ve been thinking about dehumanization and violence a lot this year, especially when the Steubenville trial was in the news. I think prejudice (racism, sexism, heterosexism, classicism, etc) is a tool used for moral disengagement. The ultimate moral disengagement is dehumanization, and dehumanization justifies and condones violence. An author I really like clearly had the same thoughts during the time of the Steubenville trial, because that week, she came out with this excellent article about research examining the earliest stages of moral reasoning: Machiavellian kids? Bullies, empathy, and moral reasoning. She believes the preventative to dehumanization is empathy, and I wholeheartedly agree. She wrote a great article about that four years ago: Teaching empathy: Evidence-based tips for fostering empathy in children. So when it comes to talking with our kids about these things, I think teaching empathy is as necessary a part of the discussion as is media literacy.
This is not about Miley Cyrus. It’s about empathy.
Got more to say about pop culture, feminism, violence against women, or fostering empathy? Comment below, or log into the forum to participate in the thread The Myth of the Teen Girl Temptress and Violence Against Women.