Guest Post from Steve Siler on Miley Cyrus at the VMAs


She’s Somebody’s Daughter. 

What emotions do those words evoke for you?

As a consultant on post-traumatic stress disorder, I field calls and emails every week from women who are victims of sexual abuse. Without fail, those women were victimized by people who treated them like commodities and animals–not humans with value and dignity.

But turn on the television at night, look at popular video games, or glance at print media, and you’ll see that our culture  has normalized violence, misogyny, rape and all forms of degradation of women.

Miley Cyrus’ recent performance at the VMA Awards has brought recent attention to our true values in culture. A guest post by Steve Siler, founder and president of Music for the Soul, and developer of the She’s Somebody’s Daughter national initiative launching this fall in Oklahoma City, shared his views in a guest post with the Christian Post. See the complete article here. The article is excerpted below:

After spending twenty years making celebrities out of people who degrade and sexualize young women, who push the boundaries of morality and good taste, how can we now pretend to be shocked by Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMAs?

Think about the first time you walked by a Victoria’s Secret in the mall. Perhaps you were shocked. Even outraged. But what about the last time you walked by? Did you even notice? Vulgarity has become the background noise of our culture. While we don’t pay much attention, rest assured that young girls drink in these fantasy photo-shopped images and think they have to look and act like that to be considered beautiful, valuable or current.

Meanwhile body image and self-esteem issues are causing our daughters to develop eating disorders, act out in self-harm behaviors like cutting and burning, and abuse substances to numb their pain.

Studies are showing girls and young women in our culture increasingly think their appearance is more important than anything they can achieve through academics, athletics or the arts.

At the same time Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition – where the only thing missing is the swimsuit – tells our boys this is what women are supposed to look like.

We are a culture that welcomes shows like “Mistresses” and pretends not to notice that “Game of Thrones” is pornography. We are a culture that names a family restaurant “Hooters.”

We are culture that sells video “games” to our teenage boys where they have to act out raping women to “win.”

Now let’s throw in the Internet, where the previously unthinkable is only a few clicks away. Misogyny, child pornography and bestiality are available 24/7 in an unending flood of dehumanizing filth.

But still, every now and then, we pretend to be shocked? Let’s face facts. As a culture, the “shocked” ship has sailed.

Yes, Miley’s performance was sad. The lyrics to her song “What We Want” make me long for the good old days of “Like a Virgin” in whose first verse Madonna sings “You make me feel shiny and new.” Tame stuff.

Even more sad and pathetic was Robin Thicke’s participation. As blogger Regie Hamm put it, “Grinding on a messed up kid like that doesn’t make you cool …it makes you creepy.”

I’m with Regie on this one. But here’s the deal: This is where we are.

We are in a culture that makes objects out of women – and children. As a culture, we send the clear message that they are objects to be used for our own selfish sexual pleasure. We make celebrities out of children like Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes and Miley Cyrus only to gleefully revel in the carnage when they come off the rails.

So if this is where we are – and it is – the only question remaining is what do we do now?

What do parents and grandparents do now? What do responsible businesses and advertisers do now? What do young people who want to grow up in a culture that esteems them for who they are do now?

What can we do to create a culture that treats women with respect and dignity? How do we teach our young men what it means to honor a woman and treat her like a lady? How do we say that sex is meant to be special and private rather than prurient and public?

I suggest we start by asking one simple question: If you wouldn’t want your daughter to be in a pornographic film, why would you want it for anybody’s daughter? More to the current point, if you wouldn’t want your daughters making obscene gestures and grinding against someone else’s husband, why would you allow someone else’s daughter to do it in your living room via your TV?

My point is that every girl and every woman is somebody’s daughter, and it’s time that we start acting like it. Turn the channel on shows that degrade women. Don’t spend your dollars on magazines that celebrate the unraveling of child stars. Talk to your kids about the images they see as you walk together through the mall.

I shudder to think about what comes next if this devolution of culture continues.

It boggles the mind.

Let’s awaken the heart in all of us that cares about our own loved ones – and that wants what’s best for everybody’s child. After all…

She’s somebody’s daughter.

2 thoughts on “Guest Post from Steve Siler on Miley Cyrus at the VMAs

  1. I once took to heart the theme of “Somebody’s Daughter” years ago when traveling north on 1-95 and seeing all the billboards advertising adult clubs with pictures on them that would break a parent’s heart. All I could think was “She is somebody’s daughter; what if she were yours?” I hope it is OK to post this link on my blog as I don’t think I can say it better than this:)

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