I do love Miley Cyrus! Before her, I loved Lady Gaga, and before her, I loved Madonna and Cher. Women who seem sexually empowered and free just light me up and turn on the parts of me I attempt to deny and force into the darkness. These entertaining celebrity women stand on a stage and challenge our culture to move forward and out of any sexual guilt.
Recently, I spent a day with a family member before she returned to the Ivy League college she attends. As always, I wanted to talk about sexuality and feminine empowerment. I was so pleased that she shared with me the information she’s learned with other women her age. They actually have workshops where they discuss the power of female sexuality, oral sex, the myth of virginity and the (relatively) new phenomenon of women who wax their vaginas clean. I nearly cried as she shared the details of her discussions on same-sex love, transgender issues and mixed-raced sex. That’s right — she is actually having intelligent conversations about everything sexual with mentors, instructors and classmates. When I was twenty years old, there was no such thing.
Our culture, which represses our most natural desires and instincts, does not make parenting easy. Because of this, I try to avoid criticizing other parents as they try to address their children’s sexuality. But I must speak out in connection with one mom’s open letter to Miley Cyrus that’s gone viral. This mom’s letter is toxic with false statements, assumptions and judgments. She has no clue about how Miley’s parents raised her or how they inspired her in her artistry. This mom also knows absolutely nothing about twerking and its culturally African and Caribbean influences. This mom says she will do everything she can to keep her daughter from becoming Miley Cyrus.
Her statements remind me of Chris Rock’s proclamation that his only job was to keep his daughters off the stripper pole. Well, it turns out the stripper pole has become a million-dollar fitness and sensuality industry; when women own their sexual power, they take what our culture says is dirty and sluttish and make it marketable all while inspiring the sexual freedom of other women.
Miley Cyrus is a great role model for girls — as are Lady Gaga, Madonna and Cher! Why? Because they are willing to push the envelope and get us talking, thinking and breaking free of the ideas that a sexual woman is nasty and unworthy of praise. We are so afraid of women who embody their sexuality openly that we shame our daughters and ourselves for even thinking for themselves when it comes to sexual expression.
The lyrics in Miley’s song (which my six-year-old loves) say, “It’s my party, I can do what I want.” From the song’s tone, I’m guessing her parents told her to be herself, blaze the trail she desired to create and have a whole lot of fun doing it. I hope they also told her to ignore the critics, and look to those who have been dedicated to their artistry before her.
Thank goodness for artists like Miley who are fearless enough to kick down the door, and thank goodness for those of us who embrace self-realized women, making them part of the collective consciousness. In my experience, there is nothing more rewarding and satisfying than being and encountering other sexually liberated women. The younger women are when they own their sexuality, the longer they are free to own their own bodies.
From what I see, today’s twentysomething-year-old women are not like those from my generation. While we had Madonna strutting all of her stuff across a stage, we didn’t have courage to follow in her footsteps. We also lacked the access to information that would have given us the tools to that bring empowerment. The Internet (access to porn) and modern sexual marketing inspires these young women to ask questions and determine for themselves what they deem appropriate, respectful and truth.
I pray they don’t grow up to be their mothers.
In the next few months, I’m betting we will see Miley on all the talk shows teaching people like Whoopi, Barbara, Ellen (and maybe even Oprah!) how to twerk. My advice to Miley is to keep dropping it like it’s hot, shaking it like a salt shaker and putting her back into it, because practice makes perfect, young lady!
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