An off-topic discussion on slut-shaming

beetlejuicingYes, I will post wedding photos (and maybe even video) soon, but first I’d like to share a little conversation that was had on Facebook.

In case you missed it, Miley Cyrus is a grown-damn-woman now and did a little dance with What’s-his-name Thicke at some music award show or something.  (Yeah, that’s how important it was.)  I had no idea until I saw a picture of Beetlejuice humping a hot blonde in latex panties HOLY CRAP THAT’S MILEY?!?

Huh.

And then began the slut-shaming, the style-shaming, the criticism… and my STFU started acting up again.  This is what I posted on Facebook:

This is not going to be popular:

Stop slut-shaming Miley Cyrus.

She grew up in Disney and therefore was not given a chance or opportunity to show or be herself. She started off in her daddy’s shadow and was expected to be a “daddy’s girl” for that, and in so many ways, she does appear to be a chip off the old block there. The fact is, she’s exploring her own personality and her own sexuality JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER HUMAN HAS TO, but her circumstances have put her explorations in lime light instead of in the background like it would be for other people.

Guess what? Miley Cyrus has sex. Sometimes it’s with people/men who aren’t the sharpest tack in the can. Golly gee, but I can’t think of ANYONE who has sex and sometimes with people they might’ve should’ve thought twice about…

But the biggest issue is, STOP SLUT-SHAMING ALTOGETHER. If you insist on refusing to acknowledge that a woman has the FIRST choice in expressing her sexuality by judging her for that expression, then you’re actually encouraging assholes like Thicke to keep making demeaning, degrading, emotionally undermining crap.

(Yes, it’s a catchy song, and I love looking at naked chicks, too, but telling someone what they want instead of asking them is one of the big OMFGSTAHP points on the road to emotionally fixing the world.)

And the responses pretty well sum up why I love my friends so much (names are abbreviated because internet):

TE: Mind if I share this?

MGS: I get the point.

Me: TE – Sure.

JP: True, but the whole tongue thing was not attractive.

Me: But the tongue thing was actually a better move, in my opinion, establishing a PERSON there rather than leaving herself exclusively as an automaton sex object. It wasn’t as effective as it could have been, and maybe not the classiest, but it served a good purpose.

JD: I’m more bothered by the latex undies and sneakers. Commit to a look!

Me: That WAS a look – her own, and one that guaranteed she wouldn’t fall on her face. Plus, her legs are gorgeous enough to not need heels to look amazing.

RG:  A legitimate perspective, I guess it just depends on a lot of factors to me and no topic is black and white such as the topic of “slut shaming”. I feel she could have gotten a sexual message across in less cringe worthy way especially with such an active young fanbase, but it’s her life and her career not anybody else’s to lead. I suppose in the end it is up to the parents to guide their children away from unfortunate behavior visible to their children .

Me:  But which behavior is unfortunate? The one where they hide the fact of sex away in a closet and hope that their kids figure out how to use it wisely, or the one where they trot it out and look at it in the light (good/bad/indifferent) until there are no more mysteries? Yes, it means that there will be more visible sexual displays, but so long as those displays are not judged (which is what slut-shaming is) a much more healthy sexuality can develop.

MGS:  Ok so she did it. The producer/director obviously knew something like this was going to happen during rehearsals and approved. Does it help her public image? Frankly, Scarlet, I don’t give a damn. We place too much emphasis on celebrity in country already. It is was a moment in time. It’s over. We will all recover.

JA:  Yeah, people making a huge deal out of this need to grow up. Personally the only thing I found hilarious was the one dude dressed up like he just came from the set of Beetlejuice. People saying “I’m never going to let my kids watch Hannah Montanah again” are missing the point – they’re expecting these other people to set the example instead o themselves.

Let her do what she wants. Agree or disagree, at least she’s doing her thing. People need to learn that just because they’re offended by something it doesn’t mean they’re right.

KS:  Exactly, a producer/director guided Miley’s performance. I don’t buy that it was anything more than attention grabbing, and not some sexual enlightenment from Miley Cyrus on display.

Me: Understand something through all of this: I’m not a Miley Cyrus fan (although she has one or two songs that Lili has subjected me to that I don’t totally hate). And I’m not suggesting that she is deliberately forcing some kind of social commentary. I’m saying that this is a brilliant opportunity for US to make a choice about how we’re going to respond in order to create a better society by recognizing what her most likely subconscious motivation is, even if she doesn’t understand it herself.

MGS: You are so adorable thinking that the mass psyche of the US will make a better choice in any matter.

Me: No…. not the U.S. US. As in, this collective of thinkers in this line of communication. Thinking is contagious.

MGS:  Erm…works both ways.

RG:  I just feel truly intimate interaction should be between you and the person you love. Different strokes for different folks i suppose, grinding on some guy 16 years older than you and all the excessive groin contact just seemed a little much but that was how she wanted to express herself publicly so it is what it is. I say if you are proud of your actions then don’t mind what others think, I’m sure she couldn’t care less what others comments are going to be on the subject. Every person is different on the sexuality thing i suppose also, some like to be in your face about it while others like to keep it between them and the person they care for.

I can honestly say I have been given far more grief in my life for not running with crowd and being sexual to the extreme and still get comments and joked for it on a pretty daily basis so it kind of goes both ways. That is more of that not black and white stuff I mentioned. No one person is right or wrong when it comes to what is more comfortable for them sexually, that is about as personal a decision and preference as it gets from where I am standing.

Me:  I completely support you in that, RG, and I respect it immensely. But that, too, is an act of you owning your own sexuality and taking charge of it in your own way, of maintaining your power. The Puritanical reaction is to hide the fact of sex at all away, of making it “dirty” and “nasty” and something to be ashamed of. That enables pernicious, predatory attitudes to proliferate (and always avoid alliteration) in the darkness of entire sides of a person – important, vital, crucial sides – being completely unknown. Display’s like Miley’s gives us the chance to understand more and make better choices in our actions and reactions.

KS:  I don’t know Miley Cyrus personally, but I’m going to make the leap of faith here and guess she knew the type of negative reaction she would receive beforehand, and still went with it, which definitely takes a lot of courage.

MGS:  I will shut up right after this comment…lol. This wasn’t intimate interaction. This was a performance. Yes, it was sexual, yes she pushed the limits of what our highly repressed sexual society is accustomed to seeing, and yes, she knew exactly what she was doing. It was for shock factor and she achieved that. Now what? Her career will continue and we have a choice whether to watch or support her in the future.

Me: But she got the conversation going, and I respect that, if nothing else.

KS:  Highly repressed sexual society? I have to disagree with you there, I think people who want to be open about their sexuality are and may either be praised/shamed depending on who you are as a person. It goes both ways though, people who are modest and keep sexuality between two partners are mocked and ridiculed as well.

MGS: Granted it was a broad generalization and I agree with you. However, not all are as enlightened.

EH:  May I share this? You’ve summed this up pretty succinctly.

RG:  Yeah, unfortunately it actually bothers me to the point of tears that it is such a big joke with people about my personal choice to be a modest human being. I need to calm my madness, now getting my brain going about the last 15 years of this nonsense makes me all stupid and upset lol. But I get everyone’s perspective and appreciate your words on the matter Dawn, you are a ridiculously splendid human being.

Me: EH – Of course.

RG and KS: The idea behind stopping the knee-jerk reaction to slut-shaming at all is to stop being so judgmental as a whole about the very idea of sexuality. If it’s not your cuppa to rub a latex crotch on an older guy, that’s fine, but at least she was wearing latex and won’t get nearly as many cooties. When we judge instead of discuss, we stop the conversation that explores HEALTHY expressions of sexuality. Not everyone is the same, and it’s no secret that I have some tastes that are beyond vanilla, but I’m not going to judge anyone for wanting to keep their expressions behind closed doors – and the point is that no one should be made to feel bad for their sexuality AS LONG AS IT IS CONSENTUAL AND DOES NOT HURT ANYONE.

See, THAT’S the big problem with slut-shaming (and prude-shaming, and ANY shaming): it undermines the power of consent by telling someone that what they want to be or do or say or feel is WRONG. The caveat, of course, is that this ALSO invites the conversation to explore the idea of consent and at what point we are self-aware enough to make intimate choices – which is one that also needs to be had, but maybe not right here at this moment.

 

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