I attended the Selena Gomez concert with my daughter last night. It was lovely.
That this is bullying, and adults do it too. When you join in on the Miley bashing in front of your kids, you’re modelling bullying, not love. Oh, but Miley’s taken it too far, you say? Okay, then so has the kid at your child’s school who wears all black and draws attention to himself. He’s asking for it. And so has the girl who wears the short skirts at your daughter’s school. She’s asking for the harassment, right?
There’s no book of exceptions. If you as an adult grant exceptions for the “outliers” then don’t expect your children to understand that they’re supposed to love and support everyone. ESPECIALLY the outliers.
This little girl knew it. “Everybody is different. Everybody does things differently. There’s nothing wrong with that!”
At the very least you’re telling her to keep any brazen behavior a secret. At least from you.
Let me put some context into what I’m saying.
I’ve made it clear to my children from the moment they were born that gay or straight makes no difference to me. We introduced the idea that boys can like boys and girls can like girls, really early on. This was important to me because I had many friends struggle through their childhood knowing they were gay and listening silently to their parents’ opinions on the immorality and disfavor of same sex relationships. My friends struggled with shame. They felt like they had to keep who they were a secret. They felt their worth might rely heavily on heterosexuality, and they simply weren’t heterosexual. It was confusing. It was painful. I didn’t want that for my children if they were gay, and I wanted them to be accepting and supporting of others if they weren’t.
In the end, most of my gay friends’ parents were actually supportive of their children, and loved them unconditionally. They had just been repeating a sort of mindless dogma.
Let’s not make this same mistake with our daughters.
I don’t know if my daughter’s going to be the modest Hillary Clinton type, the moderate Selena Gomez type, the brazen Miley Cyrus type, or somewhere in the mix. It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing wrong with any of these women. What’s wrong is the idea that their worth is tied to how much flesh they expose, or don’t expose, and how they expose it. I don’t want my daughter to be the kind of girl who loves her body and knows what she wants to do with it, but over hears me talking about women like this “cheapening” themselves. I don’t want her thinking that I believe a woman’s worth has anything to do with her body and what she does with it. I don’t want her hurt. I don’t want her confused. I don’t want her to struggle with shame. I don’t want her to feel the need to keep who she is a secret from me.
Because of dogma. Because of misogynistic rhetoric. Heaped on women. Hillary Clinton dresses like a prude. Madonna was a whore. Janet Reno was masculine. (I’m just repeating shit I’ve heard over the years.) Amazing women defined by their physical presentation. Men get naked, all the time. For work… for fun. Have you ever heard someone say that a man “cheapened” himself by showing his flesh? I tried to think of one instance in my entire life of this phrase or something similar being used to describe a man getting fleshy, and I couldn’t think of a single one. There’s a guy in NYC who plays the guitar in his underwear in Times Square. People take pictures with him. They love him. What if he was a woman? And on the flip side, notice that no one is getting bent out of shape about John McCain’s conservative suit.
I’m not condemning. I’m just hoping to open your eyes a bit.
Please. Resist bullying. Resist dogma. Resist misogyny. However subtle.