How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke

If you have ears, you’ve heard Robin Thicke’s hit “Blurred Lines.” If you’ve had any amount of spare time in the past few days and have access to the internets, you’ve heard about Thicke’s performance at the VMA’s with Miley Cyrus. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, congratulations! You must have looked past the headlines on CNN’s main page in order to read about “secondary” news like Egypt or Syria. You can find a video of the performance here.

If you’ve been on Facebook or Twitter with any kind of regularity over the past few days, you’ve probably heard countless friends or followers sounding off on any number of objectionable things about the performance. Undoubtedly, 99% of things written about it throw around words like “obscene”, “offensive”, and the like.

There have been a number of different parenting websites or blog posts who have come up with good ways to talk to your daughter about Miley. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about parents talking to their daughters about sexuality.

But is no one going to hold anyone else on stage or behind the scenes accountable for that performance? Are we really going to have another one-sided conversation where we only talk to the girls about their sexuality while we completely ignore the boys in the room about their standards of behavior too?

There are next to no commentaries, articles, or blog posts that talk about how Robin Thicke was on stage with a woman young enough to be his daughter while thrusting his pelvis and repeating the line “I know you want it” while T.I. non-chalantly raps about much more graphic stuff. As Shelli Latham astutely points out:

Girls’ sexuality is so much the focus of our ire. Women who have sex are dirty. Men who have sex are men. Girls who dress to be ogled are hoes. Men who ogle are just doing what comes naturally. This is the kind of reinforced behavior that makes it perfectly acceptable to legislate a woman’s access to birth control and reproductive health care without engaging in balanced conversations about covering Viagra and vasectomies. Our girls cannot win in this environment, not when they are tots in tiaras, not in their teens or when they are coming into adulthood.

Issues of misogynistic attitudes and acts of violence toward women aren’t going anywhere until us men make some very intentional decisions about our behavior and about the way we act toward women. There are certain things that Robin Thicke and “Blurred Lines” re-inforce in our culture.

For instance… Studies have shown that viewing images of objectified women gives men “greater tolerance for sexual harassment and greater rape myth acceptance,” and helps them view women as “less competent” and “less human“. Certainly singing about “blurred lines” will at the very least reinforce a culture that already trivializes the importance of consent.*

There’s nothing blurry about Robin Thicke’s role in the VMA debacle. Even though he’s come out and defended his song, going so far as to call it a “feminist movement,” it’s pretty plain to see that’s far from the case.

Here’s where it starts

So what can we do? In order to change the way we view women culturally, we need to change the way we view women individually. We need to call bullshit on attempts to end domestic violence and misogyny towards women by only talking to our daughters. We need to talk to our sons and our brothers about respecting women and respecting themselves.

It starts in homes. It starts in small conversations that treat all people as worthy and equal. It starts with having the courage to speak out against the wide variety of forces in our society that objectify women.

It starts with understanding that as men, our value does not come from how much power we hold over women. Our value comes from being respected and being loved as we respect and love the people who matter to us.

Be brave enough to tell a different story. Be courageous enough to rise above the lies that our culture tells you about how to treat women. In doing so, you’ll help create a better world for your sons. And for your sons’ sons. And that’s something to which we should all aspire.

Cheers,
Eric

* = Thank you to policymic.com for these links

Comments

  1. Thanks Eric for your post. Im tired of this ‘event’ but you rightfully raise a larger, and perhaps, more foundational issue. We all have a place in this. We, men and women alike, can speak out, change our behavior, and/or call a thing what it is…Not Appropriate! And yes, men have a role in this as much as women. Thanks for raising this issue and for inviting men into the conversation!

    • Thanks for your comment, Terri. I’m tired of all the noise around it too. The “calling a thing what it is” certainly has a place in this conversation too. We’re all capable of doing that, if we’re given the space to name those places. Anyways… Thanks, again, Terri. Hope you’re well!

      • I’m well and keep sharing your voice. I love to hear your thoughts.

      • There are a million things I could say, many of which have already been said. Therefore, I shall leave it at this: Thank you!

      • Eric…I just read your article/blog….thank you. I have 2 sons in their early twenties..and believe me I am just so taken back by the content of the rap music/so called progressive music that is playing on the radio when I am in the car with my younger son. We have to keep hitting buttons on the Sirius until we come to an acceptable song. the language is awful..
        I try to be accepting but I struggle with trying to accept the music as “art”
        Please start a “movement”….I think that many will get behind you. Thank you, Kathy..World Healing Project.

    • Thank you for this post. I run a Men’s Group at my University where we discuss masculinity and how our own privilege ultimately affects the experiences of women in countless ways. We do discuss a lot more and this year I want to address the issue of parenting and fatherhood. I will share your article.

      Thank you.

      • That sounds like an awesome group! I’m always impressed and fascinated by groups who take their privilege seriously enough to question and examine it. Keep it up!

      • Fidelbogen says:

        That description of your ‘men’s group’ sounds eerily Maoist!

  2. Great point, sir. Check out Jackson Katz’s work, he has this same idea about making it known that “women’s issues,” such as rape, are actually more about teaching and growing our male youth in a more positive way.

    • Thanks, Marissa. I think I remember you telling me about him before. I’ll definitely check him out. Hope you guys are doing well!

    • Jackson Katz is a phenomenal thinker and speaker. I’ve been a huge supporter of him for years. He’s really worth listening to. He opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn’t even see in regards to how I viewed the world.

      • Eric, thanks for this article – I so appreciate your reframe. I think Michael Kimmel is a great alternative to Katz, who raises some concerns for me as a domestic and sexual violence survivor advocate and prevention educator. Also don’t forget about the women who have been trying to engage men for decades – it’s not just true when the white guy says it :)

    • Barbara Balboni says:

      I was also thinking about Jackson Katz’s and his response to the Columbine killings. He asked, When are we going to stop saying, “children killing children” and state, rather emphatically, it’s “Boys Killing Girls.” I realize this is an extreme example, but it forcefully raises the issue that we should be focusing on the male perpetrators and not pointing blame at the female victims,

      • 9 of the 13 victims at Columbine were male, though.

      • In an interview with Nobel Prize winning author Solzhenitsyn for his book, A Soul in Exile, Joseph Pearce asks the question: “Do you feel that many of the problems in the modern world are due to an inadequate grasp of spiritual and philosophical truth by the population as a whole?”
        In his reply Solzhenitsyn states: “This is certainly true. Man has set for himself the goal of conquering the world but in the processes loses his soul. That which is called humanism, but what would be more correctly called irreligious anthropocentrism, cannot yield answers to the most essential questions of our life. We have arrived at an intellectual chaos.”

        The way people think of themselves in relation to God, to other human beings and to society as a whole is influenced by many factors that have been the subject of debate for thousands of years. Evolutionary thinking has the potential to exacerbated negative human characteristics that have existed ever since the fall of mankind. To be more exact, it caters to and inflames our egocentric nature.

        Not only do certain individuals use the theory pointing to its perceived scientific validity to justify Eugenic, Aryan and racist ideals, they believe it to be true! Students are being taught in the schools today that macro-evolution (natural selection through chance mutation which results in survival of the fittest) the bases for the above ideals, is a scientific fact with God and his creation being regarded as a myth. Rather then humble these children with the truth; the education system caters to their ego with an illusion.

        If one “ceases to believe in God” according to GK Chesterton “he does not believe in nothing. He believes in anything”. Pseudo science is being used as a tool to justify our need to reject God and scripture or, to redefine Him and scripture, as is the case with intelligent design.

        Fortunately as CS Lewis states, “[God] is not proud…He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him.”

        The Wikipedia free online encyclopedia states, “on the fifth anniversary of Columbine, the FBI’s lead Columbine investigator and other top psychiatrists went public with their conclusions in a’ Slate’ story entitled ‘The Depressive and the Psychopath’.[24] They diagnosed Harris as a clinical psycopath and Klebold as a depressive, and saw that the plan was masterminded by Harris. He had a messianic-level superiority complex, and hoped to illustrate his massive superiority to the world.” The above statement made no reference to the autopsy report which notes that Harris was wearing a T-shirt with “Natural Selection” printed on it at the time of the massacre.

        Adolf Hitler states, “The present teaching in schools permits the following absurdity: at 10 a.m. the pupils attend a lesson in the catechism, at which the creation of the world is presented to them in accordance with the teachings of the Bible; and at 11 a.m. they attend a lesson in natural science, at which they are taught the theory of evolution. Yet the two doctrines are in complete contradiction. As a child, I suffered from this contradiction, and ran my head against a wall. Often I complained to one or another of my teachers against what I had been taught an hour before — and I remember I drove them to despair.” Hitler’s Secret Conversations October 24, 1941

        Julian Huxley, a proponent of the philosophy of Eugenics, a biologist, humanist and founding director of UNESCO states, “Darwinism removed the whole idea of God as the creator of organisms form the sphere of rational discussion. Darwin pointed out that no supernatural designer was needed; since natural selection could account for any known form of life, there was no room for a supernatural agency in its evolution.” Issues in Evolution (1960) p.45

        The Social Darwinian eugenics movement, especially its crude ‘survival of the fittest’ belief, contradicts the egalitarian ideal that ‘all people are created equal,’ this includes Christianity which holds to the same ideal yet espouses to a higher moral standard.

        I came upon a website a while back entitled Stormfront.org with its logo “White Pride, World Wide”. On this website they had an article entitled, “The Four Major Values Lacking in Western Governments” with the third value stating in part, “We should practice a Darwinistic philosophy that embraces quality over equality, fitness over weakness. Inequality is an iron law of nature. We therefore have two enemies – Christianity and egalitarianism…”

        This websites self centered, irrational, perverted logic albeit extreme, is not as uncommon as one would think in society and is the bases for the growing acceptance of abortion, euthanasia, cloning and mandated vaccination programs where vulnerable children and adults are knowingly sacrificed to permanent disability or death, for the so called “greater good”. Inevitably without a belief in Jesus and the moral absolutes established by God, which serve to humble our nature, extremism will gradually creep in and what appears extreme today may not be so apparent tomorrow. This is the reason for Solzhenitsyn’s answer above and CS Lewis’ statement below.

        In a letter to Capt. Bernard Acworth, 1951 C.S. Lewis states, “What inclines me now to think you may be right in regarding [evolution] as the central and radical lie in the whole web of falsehood that now governs our lives is not so much your arguments against it as the fanatical and twisted attitudes of its defenders”.

        Ken

    • Denise Attwood says:

      I would also look at Derrick Jensen’s book “The Culture of Make Believe”. And THANK YOU for your great blogpost and bringing this issue to the forefront.

  3. Appreciate your words here. Especially think the 2nd to the last paragraph is an important statement. Question and challenge becomes: how do we frame love for men so that it also doesn’t emasculate them? Movements have been guilty of this in the past….and we know love and vulnerability is a distinctly different thing for men. Thanks Eric!

    • Thanks, Aaron. I think this is why you and I appreciate Brené Brown’s work so much. In one of her talks she references a study about “qualities that make a man masculine” and the top 3 responses went like this:

      1) Primacy of work
      2) Emotional stoicism
      3) Power over women

      That’s a lot to work through in terms of trying to find a “masculine” way of viewing love in terms of vulnerability — which is so often required to do this emotional work.

      I think you’re spot on in asking that question, because that’s a huge piece moving forward from this. Do you have any thoughts or ideas about how we start to move that way? I’d love to hear them if you’ve come up with anything.

      • For the other side of the conversation, one that has been severely overlooked in our culture – read “Men On Strike”. I promise you, it is enlightening and it’s written by a woman.

      • I’ll definitely check it out! Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Men on Strike is unimaginably awful.

      • I’ve heard really terrible things about Men on Strike as well — mostly that it apparently blames women for what the author assumes to be the widespread emasculation of men, to the point where it compares current gender relations as anti-male “enslavement.”

        I should point out that I’ve never actually read the book, but I had a friend who picked it up expecting something a little more fair-handed and came away from it feeling very misled.

      • Men On Strike is written by a woman who is telling the truth. Naturally some will think it is “unimaginably awful.” Truth hurts.

      • The book was a short read. But unlike other titles about the subject the author actually talked to men about their problems. Most books on the subject only ask women about mens problems. Kinda like me writing a book on the problems faced in the black community but only researching it with upper class white people who have never been down and out. All in all I thought the book was fairly accurate.

    • Robin Tell says:

      One way that occurs is to point out to boys and young men, I guess particularly teens, the subtexts of the messages media is blasting at them. What does it mean that virtually every magazine puts the closest thing it can to a naked woman on its cover every month? That advertisers bombard them with sexualized images of women (executed with varying degrees of taste or art, but nevertheless) all day long as they try to navigate their lives? And what are the narratives that all these media machines are perfectly content to assume, embrace and encourage if they think they can make a buck doing it? All the way from ambient stuff like that to the wretched tropes of apparently all pornography ever made.

      When I was a kid, my mom had me and my siblings read the ingredients on cereal boxes, and observe the correlation between the presence of a cartoon character and sugar being first listed. Then she told us that stores put such boxes on the second shelf from the floor, so kids would see them, and when we disbelieved she drove us to the store right then to see. We came back righteously indignant, determined not to be manipulated so easily. So pointing the finger at the message may be one route to positioning young men in the narrative without seeming to blame or scold them personally.

      • Robin Tell, you pose some very important questions that we should all consider. What is the subtext behind all these images of women in advertising? The purpose is to grab attention, but from whom and why? Are these sexualized images of women the norm because advertisers and the media believe this is the only way to attract straight men? Do they believe that these images are necessary for a straight man to make a decision? That men are really that shallow with no intellectual capacity or depth of soul and human emotion? Is it not an insult to men everywhere that these images are displayed so regularly? And can we really wonder why so many men feel controlled by women, that they are virtually powerless over them due to constantly being bombarded by this imagery? Constantly being reminded of sex, a primal urge, that in civilized society, must be ignored during most of daily life. Isn’t it a slap in the face to always be reminded of something visually that you cannot do during normal daily life, but which would already be on your mind constantly anyway without seeing these images? To me, it’s no wonder why some men choose to take out their anger and frustration on women. They’re taking it out on the human form of the images that upset them every day. Where these images make them feel powerless, having power over or being in control of a woman takes their power back. Life becomes a battle for this power that seems to be taken away from them by these images.

        On the other side of the coin, women are also upset by and feel a loss of power through this imagery. This turns into self-hate and desperate measures to reach physical perfection. Again, forgetting that women are also deep creatures with loving souls and great intellectual capacity.

        And so there it is. The subtext, the underlying goal behind these images produced by the media, is to force us all to forget that we are beings of depth with souls, and intellectual and emotional capacity so great we aren’t even aware of how great we really are. The result is we focus on the physical and buy more and forget about what’s truly important. Without these images, without the media machine, we might actually see how wonderful and amazing each of us truly is. Of course, we might not value the physical as much so we may not buy as much…

      • Ironically, the most sexualized photos of women on magazine covers (if you eliminate “lads mags” which are never displayed at the checkout counters of grocery stores) are all aimed at women. Every single fitness mag is about increasing a woman’s sexual desirability (“get those sexy abs!”) while fashion and beauty mags do so using the accompanying text. That says to me that objectification of women is far more widespread and insidious than merely the media that seeks a male audience. It also points to the fact that objectification is only the beginning. What we’re really witnessing is the productization of women, or at least their bodies.

      • Jennifer,

        Implying that men are just helpless victims of madison avenue is effectively reducing them to frogs, who have no control over their sexual urges and when they see something exciting are overwhelmed by media conditioning and desire that their is no choice. Is the media a bunch of manipuulative bastards? well of course, but postulating that men don’t really have a choice when it comes to rape and inappropriate sexual behavior is just not true.

      • timdevino,
        I think you need to go back and read Jennifer’s comment, because she was doing anything by implying that men are helpless victims of women’s nakedness. What she did do was pose the question that the media companies are the ones making that very false assumption.

  4. Eric,

    This is a good article. Thank you for writing it.

  5. Thanks Eric, I’m from Suriname and I just read an article about Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson for you and I was like o, and what about sons?
    I have 2 sons of age 15 and 14 and I’m trying to raise them as upcoming adults with respect and love for women.Thank God that uptill now I have seen them treating women with respect even when it’s a friend .(their age).I’m so pleased with your article because I was lacking the part of talking with your son.Thanks again Eric

    • Thank you for your comments, Romana. You’re exactly right. This part of the conversation is lacking. I admire you for putting such effort behind raising your 2 sons in such a way. My mom did that for my brother and I and it made all the difference.

  6. Feeling bummed that you beat my guest post for tomorrow with this same title, but this is very thoughtful. Also, super fun to have my sweet little blog quoted somewhere. Peace, Shelli (www.twentysixcandles.com)

    • Shelli, Thanks for your comment. And thanks for your post. It was incredibly thoughtful. I love where you went with Psalm 139. So good. Looking forward to reading more of your writing. Have a great day!

      • annaliese says:

        Related to Shelli’s post/comment, why didn’t you give credit where credit was due? You included a lengthy quote from her blog, but did not cite either the author or blog by name. A link is fine, but many (most, even) won’t click the link. Perhaps the rules of blogging are different than for other published writing, but it seems that crediting the author along with linking to her blog would cost you nothing, but would provide recognition to person from whom you borrowed those words.

      • That’s a great point, Annaliese, and my oversight. I spent so much time with her blog post it just seemed natural to link and not think twice. I’ll edit the post and amend that. I appreciate your comment.

  7. Rev. Daniel Pugh says:

    preach it brother! Good as always.

  8. THANK YOU!!!! I have been so frustrated about people ready to hang her and giving him a pass — as if they didn’t co-sign on the performance.

    • Thanks for your comment, LaDonna! And you’re absolutely right. It’s a fact that’s been woefully overlooked. I’m just glad I’m not alone in noting the significance of it.

    • tanna mee says:

      Thank you LaDonna! I have 3 sons that have been singing this song all summer and it turns my stomach. I went to itunes to listen to the rest of the songs on the cd and they are equally trashy. He is not going away anytime soon. I just can’t convince them to listen to Harry Connick Jr. :(

  9. CJ Porter says:

    The conversations surrounding the VMA performance have made me uncomfortable for this very reason – it’s all about Cyrus and the choices she made on stage without once noting that there were men on that stage too. What about the people who came up with the concept and choreographed it? Was there not a single person who looked at that and thought it was a bad idea?

    • Right?! I wanna know who the guy is [and you know it's a guy] who said, “Hey, what about a foam finger? That’s a good idea!” It had to pass a lot of people before going on like that. And that’s sad.

      • It not only had to pass tens if not hundreds of folks, its what the market demands… It used to be one could come up with massively outrageous ideas, but you didn’t want to go too far to offend the fan base and thus reduce sales. With today’s data intensive market research, one can run a lot closer to the line and get an even better ROI than in years past. Its really not about her, him, their staff, or the market research groups, its a reflection of the values we instill in the target market…. We are all too blame.

      • That’s a great point! If there were no demand for that kind of shock value, there would be no need to satiate it with this kind of performance. Thanks for your comment.

      • The foam finger was in the original “Blurred Lines” video.

      • That’s right. I’d forgotten that. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Seriously? With all this controversy over the VMAs (again… let’s not forget Britney Spears with the snake and Christina Aguilera, among other ‘performances’ that hit the headlines for a couple of weeks some years ago), is it not quite plain that if the producers can get the ‘PopTart’ of the day to do something overtly sexual, which will spark plenty of controversy as well as plenty of free and repeated advertisement of their ‘wares’ that they will not HAPPILY do just that? It’s all about the sale, in case any of you have been sidetracked. And, unfortunately, that greed and the mode used to achieve it (sex) works, and works very well.

  10. Roxanne King says:

    This is a wonderful take on the situation. I am happy you wrote it. I wish you’d highlighted different phrases, though; you need to highlight the positive actions, rather than the negative ones. Specifically, “We need to talk to our sons and our brothers about respecting women and respecting themselves.”

    I agree that the choreographer(s), producers and other dancers are not getting enough grief over this project. I doubt that Miley herself has many clues about all the buttons that piece was pushing – she’s clearly still an adolescent rebelling against her perceived boundaries. Others were using that rebellion to push their own agendas.

    But, hey, if what they wanted was attention, they got it in spades. People who haven’t watched a music video in a decade are talking about this.

    • That’s a great point, Roxanne. Thanks for bringing it up. The respect piece is worth highlighting above all of it. If you don’t have that, you don’t have much of anything. Thanks, again, for the point you made. I appreciate it.

  11. Reblogged this on pelicanfreak and commented:
    Amen.

  12. I shall “share” you for the very first time :) Thank you for this.
    Donna

    • You’re very welcome! Thanks for sharing and spreading the conversation. I really appreciate it. Have a great day!

  13. Dear Eriuc,
    I appreciated your blog and it inspired me to share it with my friends on Facebook. It also led me to write my own opinion of the travesty of what happened on the VMA and the decline of modesty of the youth of America at this time in history. I wanted to share it with you since we are not friended on FB.

    My post:
    Last night I read the post of a Christian friend who was flabbergasted by the performance of Miley Cyrus at the VMAs. Now I am reading the male version of the same incident regarding Robin Thicke’s part in the performance. Words like lewd, obscene, and lack of modesty have been thrown into the mix. Concern of what little girls are learning about sexuality by watching and what little boys are learning about what is acceptable because there is no accountability for them because they are boys – it is ludicrous.

    Yet, here’s where my head shaking starts and I look Americans who ridicule Muslims who follow modesty requirements set forth by God in not only the Qur’an, but also the Torah and the Old & New Testaments. A beautiful Hijabi who walks proudly down the sidewalk is accused of being oppressed, but you don’t see construction workers ogling them or shouting obscenities – they don’t have their butt cheeks hanging our or their breasts almost pouring out of their tops. But, as we drove by a bus stop recently we saw a classmate of our step son, my husband commented about the “hoe” on the corner, my step son told his dad that she is one of his friends and she was only 16 years old.

    Everyday, we see ads on television encouraging youth to express themselves by removing their clothes, I recently read that Victoria’s Secret is now marketing a line of sexy lingerie for middle schoolers. I have a neighbor whose daughter buys her 4 year old high-heels and hoochie-momma shorts, There are aisles of pre-teen makeup in department stores, bikini’s to fit toddlers. When does it become obvious that the Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus’s, Selena Gomez’s are having more influence over your daughters than most American parents are?

    The newest Selena Gomez video, she said how she studied the dance moves of Britney Spears for hours to make sure she was able to portray the same sensuality in her own dancing. Why does a pop princess need to portray sensuality to a demographic that is between 9 and 13?

    These young girls are dressing immodestly and acting older than they are and what is happening? Teenage boys and even young men are taking advantage of them. Boys don’t think it is wrong because the girls give the impression they want it even if they don’t know what “IT” is.

    Muslim parents keep their children children a lot longer than the non-Muslim counterparts.The beauty of innocence and youth in a child is something that once lost cannot be reclaimed. “The talk” with teenagers comes earlier and earlier and in a lot of cases, doesn’t come at all or after the STD or pregnancy tests come back positive.

    It breaks my heart to see the youth of this great country becoming less moral and more willing to use their bodies to get the things they want – ending up with a lot of things they don’t need – disease, teenage parenting, depression, bullying, and even suicide.

    It is time to let a child be a child! Jesus (pbuh) said “suffer the little children to come unto me”; the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would play with the children and protect them – even his young wife Aisha was allowed to remain a protected child until she became of age to marry (though many outside of the Islamic world would lead you to believe otherwise).

    I cry when I see young people, famous people who should be living the life of joy and happiness end their lives before they really get a chance to live. What message does this send to our children? Something has to be done. Muslims are criticized because of the suicide bombers – do not blame the whole of Islam for these misguided youths – look around you. Realize that every society has epidemics. We mourn for the son or daughter who takes their lives because of being misguided by propaganda.

    Protect your children, ALL children. Teach morality, respect and modesty. Teach self-esteem. Live by example. If we don’t teach them, someone else will and when that happens, the path they choose may not be the one God had selected for them!

    • Thanks for your insights, Gayla. It’s an interesting conversation about modesty particularly in a Western culture that goes for shock value in very public arenas. I think you’ve brought up some really interesting comparisons with Muslim culture as well. Thanks for joining the conversation and thinking through these things with us!

      • Eric,
        Some of the readers have raised a very good point – a comment from my Husband regarding my son’s friend. Please let me make sure that I apologize for not clarifying in the first place that due to the area our business is in, we deal with prostitutes and drug dealers on a daily basis. It is in an epidemic proportion right now as this specific street corner is the worst crime-ridden location of our city. We did not chose to open a business there – our business is 30 years old. It has simply become this way. There are arrests on a daily/nightly basis of streetwalkers and unfortunately this young friend of my son’s was at the bus stop with other people that are known prostitutes. My Husband simply made an insensitive comment. However, my son, Husband and I are not sexists. My son is gentle hearted and when he sees small girls who are dressed immodestly, he gets upset with the parents. He has said on many occasions that those parents are asking for trouble, etc. I respect my son and his opinions about chastity. He is 17 and still a virgin. He is not a Muslim, nor is his dad. They are Christians, I am the one that made my decision to embrace Islam – I am not in any way oppressed. I believe if I had said I was Amish, I would not have been taken to task, or if I had been a Catholic nun who wears a habit. But, since I am a Muslim – well, that in and of itself qualifies them to lump all Muslim women into a group who cannot think or dress for themselves.

        We so often forget the Apostle Paul’s reaction to controlling our sexual desires. Paul tells us if we cannot control our desires to marry, but if we can control them, it is better NOT to marry. 1 Corintians 7:8-9. Because man has a tendency to have less control, God provided a wife, and it is his wife he is supposed to go to to quench his sexual thirst. The Qur’an says the same thing. The reason for modesty is to protect one another – man and woman – from the perils of temptation. Women are not as tempted by visual stimulation as men are. Therefore, it is for men that women cover. Whatever is thought to be double standards, so be it. However, I ask the readers of your blog not to classify all Muslim women as being oppressed simply because they follow the commands of God. Just as the Muslim woman is following the words of God, so do many Christian and Jewish women. The Jewish woman are told to cover their hair. What do they use to cover their hair? They wear wigs – the wig is not their own hair so they do not break the command. Catholic nuns wear habits – though some have forgone the habit these days, but it is still a command to cover before you come before God in prayer. Even Jewish men cover their heads – the yalmuka is a covering and over this the Orthodox even wear hats. So, in every Monotheistic religion, there are laws/rules/commands regarding modesty and covering.

        Thanks so much for allowing me to respond.

    • Siddharta says:

      While you make valid points, there is a middle ground between oppression and modesty. By dressing immodestly, a woman objectifies herself. However, by dressing too modestly, a woman shows that she is nothing more than an object that needs to be covered up. Muslim women are often made to feel ashamed of their bodies or even being women, because they are told that their entire bodies are awrah whereas men are told that only their private areas and thighs are awrah. Rather than bearing all or veiling one’s self, it makes more sense to behave modestly and dress in such a way that you do not draw excessive attention. And although immodest clothing and behavior can be unbecoming of a woman, it also shows that she has her freedom. A woman who can be sexual on some level in public demonstrates that she is the equal of a man, who since the dawn of civilization has had this basic right. A woman who feels that she must be modest all the time shows that she is not the equal of a man, as she needs to behave in a way that is subservient to men. Moderation is extremely important in all matters.
      Miley Cyrus should not have reduced herself to the status of Robin Thicke’s sex toy that evening. However, a woman’s sexuality is often used by other stars, such as Beyonce and Lady Gaga, to demonstrate that they have power. This is different and it is respectable.
      And I believe you missed the point of the article. The article seeks to point out that men need to behave appropriately too. To say that it is entirely the woman’s fault for behaving lewdly is misogynistic and it perpetuates the practice of slut-shaming. It also says that women need to have control because men simply cannot control themselves, which in most cases is not true. The men that truly cannot practice self-control belong in mental hospitals.
      Finally, it is not true that people are becoming sexual earlier and earlier. People are becoming sexual at the same time that they always have, except that now sexuality does not have to be repressed like it used to. This is actually better for society, as now sex can be discussed openly, which leads to safer sex. Even more surprisingly, the openness about sexuality has led people who would not otherwise be willing to wait do so, because even though the religious arguments carry a lot less clout than they used to, people understand the physical and emotional risks of becoming sexual too early and are thus willing to wait.
      And just as a side note, do not try to make everything about proving that your culture is better than others’ cultures. It would be a lie to say that all cultures are equal, but all cultures do deserve some level of respect and feeling the need to constantly bring up the superiority of your culture just shows that you need to prove its superiority to yourself more than you do to others.

      • Glad someone commented on this post. Considering everything that is happening in the muslim countries it is not a good example for the rest of the world.
        The performance by Thicke and Cyrus was disgusting but look at all the attention it is getting. Americans love to say they hate it but thrive on it. If you haven’t even held your Presidents responsible for their behavior for the past 100 years how do you expect the people to act accordingly. Just a thought

      • Annie Cargirl says:

        I agree wholeheartedly with you, Siddharta. Thank you for the well-thought out comment.

      • Siddhartha & Gwen,
        I appreciate your comment, but I disagree with what you say about dressing “too modestly”. First of all, there is no such thing as too modestly. I am not controlled by anyone to wear what I want except God. I hold my Presidents responsible -from the time I was born – President Kennedy, President Johnson, President Nixon, President Ford, President Carter, President Reagan, President Bush, President Clinton, President G.W. Bush, President Obama. I am a native born American who, according to the U.S. Constitution has a right to religion. I do not thrive on hate. We can break down the actions of the Presidents of the United States of America if you want. But, as Americans, it would be tedious. We know what they have done, we don’t need to drag it out again. I am as patriotic as the next person. My husband is not even Muslim. I am not dictated by what he tells me to do or wear. I am not oppressed and I have hundreds of Muslim friends who feel the same way I do. I have never been to a country where the culture requires, no – demands – , a woman to cover completely. I cannot speak for them, but I will say that when culture overrides Islam, it is no longer Islam.

        Using one’s sexuality is not something we do in Islam because it is not necessary. I own my own business, have been the president of a large company with men working beneath me and have never felt the need to exude sexuality to give them the image of strength through sexuality. On the other side, wearing a modest business/power suit, holding myself to a higher esteem in public gives me a more dignified image to my employees, colleagues and clients. So, you don’t necessarily need to be covered with a burka or jilbab or nikkab to be modest. But you have no right to categorize ALL Muslim women who chose to, and love to cover in a class as being oppressed. Find a part of your city where there are Muslim ladies and ask them if they are oppressed. I think you might be surprised.

      • Spot on sir Eric. Sin came into the world through one MAN, and redeemed by another, He holds men accountable, time we did also.

        To the modesty debate on here….whether you think women should wear sheets with eye holes or strut that body, you’re kind of ignoring the point that the cultural “institutions” of modesty were created with a great purpose, but it wasn’t until broken people signed on that problems and issues started arising. For example, the whole burqa custom of women being completely covered wasn’t meant to prevent from objectification or whatnot, it was meant to create intimacy. The only person who would see you, really see you, was your husband, deepening the physical bonds of marriage. The other side of the debate will undoubtedly argue that women shouldn’t have to dress so “oppressively” and not be glanced at, but who says that faithful woman doesn’t WANT to wear it. She loves her husband (hopefully) and has given herself completely to him, her body too.

        Point being, systems are almost always created with good in mind but often the broken people in those systems twist and distort it for their own selfish desires. Sex isn’t a bad thing, no matter how many misguided “Christians” slander it, sex was created as a glorious and even worshipful experience by God between a HUSBAND and WIFE.

      • Tim,
        Beautifully said. I wish I had been as eloquent. What is behind the covering is for the husband. I can also tell you that husbands of Muslim wives love to see their wife dressed in lovely and becoming clothing.

    • “…we saw a classmate of our step son, my husband commented about the “hoe” on the corner, my step son told his dad that she is one of his friends and she was only 16 years old.” Really? Your husband thought it was appropriate to make a comment like that, about a person he does not know, in front of his teenage son? How is that teaching respect? How is that living by example? Are we to presume that your stepson’s friend was dressed (in your husband’s opinion) immodestly, which led him to make that (unfounded, name-calling) statement? Sorry, my opinion is that anyone who believes that kind of behavior towards another person, especially toward a young girl, is in any way acceptable, is as much a part of the problem as those ogling construction workers.

      • This. Thank you! I’m glad someone else picked up on that too. Astounding sexism all the way through that post, but that one line really said it all, and in the most disgusting way…

        And to Gayla, thanks for proving the point of the article. We need to talk to MEN about respecting women. Like, you know, don’t call them “hoes”. Ever. Just don’t. (And don’t teach your kid that it’s okay to do it! FFS.) Your husband is a sexist, and so are you. So thanks for nothing, thanks for the slut-shaming, thanks for ruining the mind of yet another kid. You’re really being very helpful.

    • U-cityChristy says:

      “my husband commented about the “hoe” on the corner…”

      and herein lies the problem. Do you have any concerns about your husband’s disrespect of a random woman on the street, who turned out to be a classmate of your son’s? Do you think there could be a problem here referring to a young woman as a hoe? Do you think your son might absorbing some lessons here that some women are worthy of respect based on how they are dressed while others are not?

      You see ALL women, all people are deserving of respect. It doesn’t hinge on their dress, their religion, their standard of living, their cleanliness, neurotypical behavior or anything. They are people.

      • U-cityChristy,
        Yes, I do have concerns about my husband calling the friend of my son’s a “hoe” because it is disparaging and disrespectful since he has no reason other than the way she was dressed, which is my point – unfortunately, immodest dress and behavior draws negative responses from men. The way a woman dresses (with little to nothing on) in public is a billboard-advertising that she cares little for her own body and is sending mixed messages. I do not say that men have a right to act upon those messages – but in this specific case – it was a very questionable situation. We own a locksmith shop on the corner of the two streets that have the highest crime rate in our city for prostitution and illegal drug sales. It was not that case 30 years ago when my husband opened our business – at that time, it was a great family neighborhood. But, unfortunately we have had drive-by shootings, nightly prostitution arrests and even drug pushers hitting pre-teen kids that are simply walking down the sidewalk. So, though I do understand your concern about my husband’s comment, also please understand that the area in which this happened has a background for streetwalkers “doing business” at that bus stop. The sad thing is that young friend of my son’s most likely got accosted by more than one man that afternoon because of the way she was dressed. As the huge billboards across this wide country says “Advertising Sells”! It’s a sad state of affairs when you cannot tell the streetwalkers from the “innocent” girls anymore.

      • As I explained in a reply to Siddhartha, my husband’s locksmith shop is on the corner of a very busy intersection of the city we live in where prostitution and drug dealing are the norm. I do not agree with his comment and said so to him at the time. However, at the same time, there are daily and nightly arrests on that same corner of streetwalkers and by the way this young woman was dressed, she would have been questioned simply by association.

      • Gaylabruce… It’s easy to lay blame on women for men acting inappropriately. Immodest dress and behavior *DRAWS* negative responses? No. Men choose their responses, just as women choose theirs… and even though you said you understand that men should make proper choices in their behavior … you simply defer to them in this, rather then hold them JUST as accountable, which is the main point of this…. And difficult as it may be for a man to respond respectfully or honorably when someone dresses “immodestly,” it is still their CHOICE, and you’re just making excuses for them. I’m not saying girls are not responsible for knowing their dress has an affect, but men are equally responsible.

        Now – to your neighborhood, and your excuse for your husband using his language because of the “streetwalkers”… Let’s call a spade a spade… your husband made a STUPID, INAPPROPRIATE statement. He should have NEVER said that in front of your son, nor should he EVER AGAIN. He made the cardinal mistake of trying to be COOL in the eyes of your son by calling someone a “hoe” – and even if she turned out to BE a streetwalker it doesn’t matter! It was STILL WRONG! You simply aren’t getting it. Someone who walks the streets isn’t devoid of feelings either. She may be a wreck and dishonest, and a horrible person, but it’s people like your husband who perpetuate the perception of these women, and the bad behavior that is exacted toward them as a whole. It’s also people like your husband who MODEL bad behavior for your son and everyone else, under the guise of righteousness. The fact you are defending it, or trying to clarify things with even more nonsense, simply shows how blind you yourself are. Get a clue, and stop making excuses for a man who has made a bad move. PERIOD.

    • Why is it OK for muslim women to cover thier whole body to prevent lust in others, why shouldn’t the men also choose to cover thier whole body to also prevent lust in others. I can’t tell you how many times I have been out in public and women and gay men come onto me and other men. I have asked many MUSLIM men this question, and I always get a very shallow answer, like that is not what the quran says, or that is not the will of god, etc etc Women and gay men lust, putting a sheet over a muslim man would help them control this lust, so why don’t muslim men wear the sheet too? Think how great that society would be, all men wearing a sheet, all women wearing a sheet, and the ONLY time anyone gets to see anyone else is alone in the bedroom where they can appreciate each other in thier unique intimacy. No more physical cues from women OR MEN to incite lust in other humans, it would be such a peaceful society free of animal lust.

  14. Can we also talk about Miley’s minstrel show? She’s over 18 and can do what she wants with her body but can we talk about her using black women’s body’s as PROPS? Or is that “too racial”?

    • Thanks for your comment, Bri. There’s definitely a racial component to it as well. Jezebel had a really through-provoking piece on that.

      If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a link: http://jezebel.com/on-miley-cyrus-ratchet-culture-and-accessorizing-with-514381016

      Thanks for bringing that up. It’s an aspect that hasn’t received as much attention as others.

    • I appreciate your sentiment, but it concerns me that your husband would refer to any young girl as a “hoe”. Especially in front of your son. This is the type of behavior that reinforces sterotypes, encourages a lack of respect towards women, implies that women who wish to look good “want it”, and is just plain rude and unChristian.

    • Eric, from one parent to another, thank you for writing this article. Thank you for your comment as well, Bri. I was hoping someone would bring up the 21st Century minstrel show and racial objectification of black women’s bodies in this performance. Eric, I appreciate you respectfully acknowledging and affirming Bri’s comment too. Far too often, comments like Bri’s that point out race in these types of discussions gets ignored, shut down, or dismissed – especially by white American people.

  15. Jim Thomas says:

    I had been wondering a bit why Mr. Thicke Jr escaped any criticisms about his part in this mess. You have raised some great points. This is about more than a raunchy performance by a young woman and you have raised our consciousness’ another level up. Education is the key and we need to stop taking performances to another level without regard for what the impact on society in general can be; particularly with impressionable youth fans. I like the idea of turning this episode in Ms. Cyrus’ life into a teachable moment for everyone regardless of what their sex is. When we start teaching our boys about respect for themselves and others; we will have a better shot at healthier attitudes. It is said that any publicity is good. Maybe that comment is true in this case. Much appreciated Eric.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jim. I hope it gets those conversations going. They’re so important and you’re so right to point to the need for more education. My hope is that the VMA stuff can be a springboard for that conversation. Thanks, again, for your comment. I’m glad we’re starting the conversation.

    • My first response was….Ok, these two are not dancing, they are demonstrating sexual positions!
      It looked like to me a grown man behind her and gyrating in back of a very young girl. In the break room where I work, mostly men, young and old. Their words were “that wasn’t sexy by Miley and they used the words “slut” etc. I listened and then I mentioned that Thicke didn’t back out of the way and participated in the “sexual positions” routine. It got very quiet and they thought a moment, then, they agreed and changed their perspectives and said that “both Thicke and Miley weren’t sexy and they BOTH were disgusting”. Interesting.

  16. charlotte says:

    As I read this, I thought, Oh, I’ve got to share this….until I came to the BS word. Was that necessary? And coming from a pastor at that………..

    • Hi, Charlotte. I think sometimes using stronger language is necessary in order to adequately identify and name aspects of our culture that are wrong. I certainly did not mean to offend anyone. I don’t use those words flippantly. I use them when I wish to emphasize the seriousness with which I’m speaking. If that detracted from your reading, my apologies. Thank you for reading and identifying with at least parts of it. I appreciate it and hope you have a great day!

      • I agree with Charlotte…I liked the message, but felt that the cussing detracted from that and prevented me from sharing, as I feel that it affects our witness and goes against Ephesians 4:29.

      • Jeff Gelbaugh says:

        I was a bit taken aback with the “bullshit” comment for a minute because of you being a Christian, but as I thought about it, it brightened my day to realize that you are human too.

  17. Hey, Eric. I think you are on-point to consider the unequal standards we put on male and female sexuality; however, this performance was nothing new in pop culture. I’m confused as to why this performance received so much attention. Anyhow, for me, the thing that ticked me off was the insensitivity and outright discriminatory fashion in which she mocked black women. The entire performance was a minstrel show and was very hurtful for anyone who understood what was happening. Was that on your radar at all?? Again, I am so confused as to why people seem to have missed one of the MOST FUNDAMENTAL AND EGREGIOUS reasons as to why this is offensive. If you have no idea what I am talking about, please read this article: http://groupthink.jezebel.com/solidarity-is-for-miley-cyrus-1203666732 Thanks & Peace!

    • Thanks for your comment, James. I think you’re absolutely right. I think we need a lot more education around the racial implications of the performance. A few different articles on the Jezebel website have been most of my education on it. Again, I think you’re spot on that that’s where we need to go from here in our conversations, because for people who were just watching — myself included — that didn’t cross radars until we started reading blogs on it. Thanks for posting some really strong points. I honestly think that’s the next logical place for conversations to turn.

      • Listening to National Public Radio tonight and heard from the perspective of some African-American women about the racial aspects of this performance. Maybe you might want to go online to hear what they have to say.

    • James – I’m guessing people found this one so much more offensive (most likely on a subconscious level) than any previous “shocking” pop-culture performance for 2 reasons: First, because rather than having a mostly-naked female writhing around in a sexual way for the viewers’ ogle-ment (read: passively sexual) she was acting in an *aggressively sexual* manner typically associated with males — even down to the way she was using the foam sports finger (a prop from Thicke’s original video, btw). Second, she’s Miley Cyrus, a.k.a. “Hannah Montana,” and most people have seen her performing as a child all the way up till this point. So as the comedian Jon Lajoie, in his song-response called, “Miley, You’re A Good Girl” says: “…we’ll go back to watching others do exactly what you did / And we won’t be offended cause we cannot picture them as kids”

      And yes to Eric’s original post about talking to their sons!

      To put an even finer point on it (since “Blurred Lines” seems to want to keep things nice and blurry) ***Boys should be taught not to rape — even more than girls are taught to avoid being raped! (I know some people won’t get that statement because they think “only evil men are rapists” …when in fact most women who are raped in America aren’t done so in the “strange man / over-the-top-brutally-violent” way portrayed in movies… It’s done by guys they know, who are often known to the family and community as a “nice guy” …and if the girl happened to dress or behave even *remotely* provocatively (and it’s truly heartbreaking to see what some communities will justify as “provocative”) then that guy *continues* to be seen as a “nice guy” and the girl is labeled and shamed. All because the community won’t acknowledge what rape actually is, or how to teach their sons not to do it. It’s so simple: only a YES means yes, and a manner of DRESS is not a yes!! In fact, even Miley’s behavior was not a “yes” because every woman has the right to say “Stop.”

  18. Great article! Thank you for writing it. I’m guessing you’d appreciate this political cartoon: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nakedpastor/2013/08/the-public-stoning-of-miley-cyrus/

  19. Well said. I haven’t seen the video (and from what I’ve heard, I really, really don’t want to), but I’ve heard enough about this infamous performance to get a pretty good idea. You’re absolutely right that both girls and boys need to be taught how to respect themselves and treat others of both sexes with love and respect. Here’s hoping parents remember that.

    • With all that’s been said about it, you probably have a better idea than many. You’re right that it’s so important to have these conversations with BOTH boys and girls. That’s the key. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate it! Have a great day.

  20. Alexandria Munday says:

    I have to say, I am so beyond over hearing about all of this in general.
    HOWEVER, a Facebook friend shared this to his wall and I decided to click anyway.
    I’m really glad that I did, and I’m glad it was not so much bashing Miley like everything else.
    Do I think what she did was right? No. Would I be mortified if it were my daughter? Absolutely.
    But I am around her age, and I see my generation making horrendous mistakes all the time. Hers just happened to be on national television which brought way more attention to it. I hope and pray that she realizes just how beautiful and amazing she is/can be without having to sell herself short again.
    Also, the BS part was my favorite. Thank you for keeping it real, especially as a pastor.
    Words can only be negative, if you give them that power.

    • Thanks for your comment, Alexandria. I was done with it for a while too, but all the flack going Miley’s way, but none going Robin’s way kept nagging at me. Thanks for contributing to the conversation. I really appreciate it! And I’ll do my best to keep it real. Haha. Have a great day.

  21. Dude, come on. You’re making an issue where there is none. This is not about gender equality in any way, shape, or form. I’m a fan of neither artist, but Robin Thicke performed his song wearing a suit (i.e, LAYERS of clothing) with hip gyration only slightly more suggestive than Elvis Presley’s, 50 plus years later. Miss Miley pranced around in the near nude – and what she DID have on was horrifying – and mimicked the tossing of the salad on a ghetto booty suffering from gigantism. Had the roles been reversed and Miley donned a nice pantsuit while subtly humping the mic stand while Mr. Thicke stumbled about in a flesh toned Speedo while pantomiming a reach around to 2 Chainz, the negative press would be squarely focused on him.

    • Hey Scott. Thanks for your post. I think this is just a place where we disagree. But thank you for making your points. This is definitely a conversation that demands a variety of opinions. Have a good one, Scott.

    • Robin Thicke’s performance at the VMAs may have been less shocking visually than Miley’s, but he’s just as responsible for the problematic content of “Blurred Lines” as Miley is for “We Can’t Stop.” If Robin honestly believes that “Blurred Lines” is an empowering song for women, then he really is Thicke.

  22. Excellent piece. Thank you for pointing out what should have been a much larger part of the conversation. While you are editing and reposting, check paragraph 3- “have came”.

    • Thanks for your comment, Amanda. I really appreciate it. [And thanks for the correction too! Can't believe I missed it. Oh well.] Have a great night!

  23. As someone who does sexual assault prevention work at a university, I must say it is amazing to hear a man voice his opinion on this issue!

    • Thanks, Alicia! I really appreciate your comment. And thank you for the work you do. I really admire that. Have a great night!

  24. finally someone holding him responsible for his part in it.

  25. THANK YOU!!! Finally, someone besides me is talking about married father, Robin Thicke, and his “disgusting” choice to shove his pelvis forward into Miley’s twerking rear end. He didn’t step away from her, he moved forward to make the actual grinding happen. Miley is just being a 20 year old girl child who is obviously enjoying the havoc she is creating. Mr. Thicke needed to have more respect for himself, for Miley, and certainly his wife and family. He is not someone I would want my nephew to emulate.

    • You really think that it was an option for him to “step away” from her? In this situation, I think he did the least harm possible – national television, an awards ceremony celebrating what is typically pretty raunchy overall. I know that it is politically correct to bring the male into the conversation – I would not hesitate to do the same – but in this case, he pretty much just stood there while she “danced” him – backed into him, up him, down him – he didn’t encourage her, initiate, or obviously respond in kind to her beyond-suggestive aggressively sexual movements. Believe me, I am the first to look closely and speak in an outright manner about the ways that we all – male or female – perpetuate perceptions and behaviors that limit our opportunities to grow toward wholeness, to speak the truth. But that does not mean we are obliged in every situation to include “him” or “her” in culpability.

      • LynnMarie says:

        Lyn, I have to disagree with you in this – his participation in the performance was just that, active participation and therefore should be held accountable It’s not like he showed up to sing, was handed a mic and suddenly Miley Cyrus was dancing provocatively around him so he just tried to not engage. There were dress rehearsals, and before that discussions with choreographers about what would happen in the performance. He had plenty of opportunities to influence what his participation (and therefore Miley Cyrus’s interactions with him) in that dance number would be. Eric’s critique is spot on – both musicians have a responsibility for that musical performance, but only the female seems to be getting the criticism and judgement.

    • What about her disgusting choice to twerk in the first place?

  26. Thank you for leading by such a good example.

  27. J. Schaap says:

    I appreciate your thoughts on this topic Eric. Something I hope you will consider: is using profanity, in a piece that calls us toward a biblical view of the subject matter, internally consistent? In the “small conversations” and every conversation I hope our speech will reflect the character of the One we serve.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m Lutheran, so we follow quite a bit of Martin Luther’s theology. In one of his writings, he says a theologian of the cross “calls a thing what it is.” So while I could have censored that particular word, I feel like it wouldn’t be an adequate expression of calling the double standards what they truly are. My apologies if the language I used detracted from your reading.

      • C. Martin says:

        It wasn’t that long ago that words referring to feces were common place and were NOT considered profanity. Styles change and that includes in the English language. Profanity was used because the subject being discussed was profane. And making a big deal over one word causes more of a distraction from character of the One we serve than the word itself. Many people dismiss God because WE are self-righteous in our words and attitudes. Just some food for thought.

  28. I read this post but with all respect, while I definitely agree with the concept of your title, I don’t think you really went far enough. “Respect women and respect yourself” is, frankly not specific enough, if you are not able to explain how and why. Also, if you are trying to raise your son to be a Christian man, you need to teach and model to him that his relationships and his relative power in them and in society are roles and responsibilities given to him by God for the good of all involved, because we are all created by our Heavenly Father.

  29. “I remember when you used to cry, it made me feel like a man inside. If I had been a man in reality…”. A song that has been stuck in my head recently. Thanks, Eric. Hope that your words will inspire others.

  30. Heather B says:

    Thank you for bringing the conversation to this level. Much love and appreciation.

  31. I love hearing men posting this kind of stuff. I will take this over having a door held for me any day. Sometimes when women point out equality, sexism gender, etc., we are discounted: told to ‘lighten up,’ And its not just men who give us those responses. Its great to hear someone taking Thicke (and everyone who behaves like him) to task. In the grand scheme of things, its one vma performance that will be forgotten soon. But it mirrors the way we talk about sexuality, boundaries, and violence. The woman has the responsibility of maintaining the amount to sexiness that is required by social norms, but not “asking for trouble.” When something goes wrong, she is held accountable for at best a two-sided error. At worst, she is blamed for her own rape. If I was a guy, I’d be pissed at this. It pretty much makes you look like you guys are all one short skirt away from raping someone.

    I guess that’s the long way of saying I appreciate you pointing out that women are shamed and men are not even mentioned in this kind of thing.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kate. I think you’re so right to point out that in the grand scheme of world history, it’s one VMA performance. But you’re also right that it mirrors a much larger facet of our society and our attitudes toward each other. And it pisses me off to no end when women are blamed for sexual assaults for dressing a certain way or acting a certain way. If there’s 1 lecture that women are given about how to dress or act, then men should be given 5 about not raping people. It would probably go a long way. Anyways… Thanks, again, for sharing your thoughts, Kate. I truly appreciate it.

      • Why were all of you guys even watching this show? What did you expect? It was not of interest to me at all – you cannot claim to be surprised by what you saw. There were many other programming choices that even just by their titles indicated that you could expect a completely different level of “entertainment” quality.

  32. Great article….wouldn’t it be refreshing to see men/boys rejecting this kind of behavior from girls? That’s the only way to eliminate it though, since it’s all attention seeking based. It’s songs like that, and men like that are inviting these girls to act this way….it’s like a promise of attention/affection that they are obviously lacking and will take, no matter how negative or positive it may be. It’s very sad, because I see my 14 and 15 year old nieces posting pictures of them selves all the live long day…these girls are just waiting for all of the “you’re pretty’s” and “you’re Hot’s”…and then when that’s not enough..the pictures get more risqué. They are Obsessed!!

    • Are you kidding me, you’re saying girls encourage their own sexualizing and may only be stopped when boys ignore them? In western culture there is the implication that sexuality is the only measure of a woman’s worth. Obviously you and I disagree with empowerment through objectification, but the blame isn’t exclusive to the girls who’ve sadly bought into the message.

  33. Eric – Thanks for this comment. I have a son and a daughter and they are tired of hearing me go on about Blurred Lines and now the VMA awards. This post clearly articulates what I have been thinking. Thank You.

    btw – I wrote about Blurred Lines the first time I heard it. Here’s that post – what do you think? http://twentyfiveseventeen.blogspot.com/2013/08/blurred-lines-no-not-at-all.html

    • It’s a great point you make in your post, Brian. When the lyrics are written out and dissociated from the song, it’s pretty plain to see how problematic they are. Thanks for pointing it out. And if your son enjoys good bass grooves, Google “Victor Wooten Amazing Grace” if he hasn’t already seen it. Mind-blowing bass solo. Take it easy, Brian. And thanks for joining the conversation.

  34. here from a facebook repost, naturally. I’m sincerely glad that *someone* else picked up on this, but then, I’ve had a problem with Robin Thicke and his “haHA! I’ve been married forever so degrading women is FUN!” schtick ever since Blurred Lines came out. It’s a terrible song with an awful message. But yeah. I am sick to death of “omg, Miley Cyrus was all gyrating up on a married man! The horror!” Without *anyone* stopping to consider the fact that, actually… a fully grown, married man was grinding up on a barely legal girl… on global television. Ultimately, I didn’t have a problem with Miley’s performance? It’s not to my taste but it’s what she wanted to do and hey– good for her. Anyone who *does* have a problem with her performance, though, but at the same time *doesn’t* have a problem with his? Needs to seriously reflect and re-evaluate their hypocrisy.

  35. Excellent article; thank you for calling out the double standard underlying much of the criticism so far. Melissa Wardy, author of “Redefining Girly” and a founding member of the Brave Girls Alliance, touched on similar themes when she asked her Facebook community, “How would you talk to your tween/teen BOYS about older men using younger girls like sex objects and male performers being surrounded by barely-dressed female backup dancers?” Original discussion: http://tinyurl.com/npqfkut and synopsis of related discussions: http://blog.pigtailpals.com/2013/08/miley-robin-race-raunch-and-kids/

    • Thanks for your comment, Johanna. I haven’t checked out Melissa Wardy’s work, but it sounds like she’s doing some wonderful things. I’ll definitely check it out. Those discussions become so important to help our kids interpret the world around them. Thanks for being a part of the conversation! Have a great day.

  36. Hello Eric,
    i just wanted to let u know how much i appreciate ur article. U r truly a wonderful n special man to think in the lines u do n to actually put in the effort to teach others a more civilized way of thinking. Its very rare to come across a man in particular with ur mentality. The fact that u not only focused on Miley, but on Robin as well is so relieving cuz it shows that there still people out there that r not bias n sexist like most of the rat race…May the force b with u brother!

  37. Why are you bringing T.I. in on this? He has nothing to with this performance. The rapper who performs on stage, and on this song, is 2 Chainz; and Kendrick Lamar is the slowed down, pitched down, voice on the chorus; neither of these men are T. I..

    • T.I. wasn’t in on the VMA performance, but it’s his verse on the record that adds to the aggressive and misogynist tone of the track.

  38. I guess I’m kind of looking for a script here. My son is 10. He loves pop music. Thankfully, God randomly let me hear Thicke’s song before my kids did, and it’s forever banned in my car, or anywhere else. I hate that it’s all about this guy wanting to get with a “pure” girl, and trying to convince her that it’s HER idea (whatever). … So what do I (or my husband) say to him now, about girls – at 10. And what do I say in a couple more years, and continue to say as he matures? I get it – equality, use of power, cultural morality … but how?
    Thanks

    • Thanks for your comments and for joining the conversation! I wish I could hand you a script you can use and call it good, but I’ve found 10-year-olds are often far more precocious and perceptive than anything I could script out.

      I do think it starts by being intentional about knowing what media your son is consuming. Much like when they’re younger we pay meticulous attention to what food they’re consuming, we need to become equally attentive to what media they’re consuming, especially as they grow older into Jr and Sr High.

      I think a great way to start the conversation is to use very relational terms. Ask him about how he’d feel if a guy was singing this song about his sister/cousin/close friend/some other female with whom he’s close [even his mom]. Because in doing that, it humanizes the person. It makes them a subject rather than an object. If I come across a good script, I can send it your way… but I think that’s at least a starting point. Thanks, again, for your comments and for engaging in this conversation. Have a good day.

      • One of the best things to make an impact with a male child is for his male parent to model appropriate and respectful behavior toward the child’s female parent. Moms don’t always need to be the only one dealing with this subject. Dads can be very important teachers of their sons.

      • rllangdon says:

        Thanks – that’s a great idea. I think I get intimidated and think I keep needing to wait, just try to keep him away from it all. I’m at this delicate balance of making many choices for him, and letting him make some of his own, teaching him how, according to what God’s standards of morality, not our culture’s. I appreciate your encouragement, and believe it is 100% necessary for parents of all stages. God has entrusted and empowered us to show our children who He is and what He desires, and we can’t drop the ball on this. Our children, grandchildren, and everyone will pay handsomely if we do.

  39. AMEN! I wrote a post called Men, We Need You that talks about exactly this. Thank you for writing!

    http://ruthiedean.com/2013/07/24/men-we-need-you-thoughts-on-the-vanderbilt-rape-investigation/

    • That’s a great post and brings up that same, great point. We need everyone in on these conversations. Men AND women. Thanks for your comment and for furthering the conversation!

  40. Thank you Thank you Thank you. I have been SO ANGRY as I’ve seen post after post go up on my newsfeed from my friends and family condemning Miley. And while Miley’s performance may have been lewd and tacky, but really? does it hurt anyone?
    WHERE AS Robin Thicke’s song, which is just plain PREDATORY no matter which way you slice it, is completely given a pass.
    At least Miley was deciding what was good for her herself (or at least we all assume) Robin Thicke was declaring that he knew what was good for women better than they did (on an issue in which he had a stake) which is a dangerous dangerous dangerous idea.

    THANK YOU. When a link to this popped up in my newsfeed I though “OMG there is HOPE for humanity!” I have been soooo angry.

    • You raise some great points here, Mollie. It’s pretty infuriating to see such blatant injustice and then NO ONE speaking up about it. But we’re here. So let’s speak up! Thank you for your comment and your energy behind this conversation. Have a great day.

  41. Thanks for this. It’s very refreshing to hear coming from a man. I raised the point on Facebook yesterday that “maybe what Miley did on stage WAS offensive, but was it more offensive than singing a song about rape? No.” and someone replied “Robin Thicke was just singing, and Miley was supposed to portray the woman he loved AKA his wife. He didn’t do anything offensive in the performance.” Yeah, okay.

    Keeping the lines of conversation open when it comes to sexuality is extremely important, but everyone needs to acknowledge that this is a two-way street here, and men and women should be held to the same standard.

  42. Thank you for this.

  43. Reblogged this on Making Disciples in an Emerging Culture and commented:
    Men, It is time to step up and accept our role in behaviors which fuel the over sexualization of women

  44. Carol Ellis says:

    I have an agreement with my grandchildren. When we are in the car together I listen to their music going wherever we’re headed and they listen to mine (Frank Sinatra etc) returning home. I listen closely to the words and one of the first one that I had to explain to them was the one about a girl crashing her car into a bridge. Then came Robin’s song. I don’t allow either song played in my car and explain to them why and what the words mean. I’m sure there will be more explaining and changing channels when certain songs come on.

    Even at 9 and 11(a girl and a boy) they thought Miley’s performance was disgusting. But Robin and Miley are just two of the people who should be held accountable for the disgusting performance. MTV, producers, promoters, performers, and those in the audiance who applauded the performance. I might live by old fashioned morals but I instilled them in my two girls and they have instilled them in my grandchildren.

    And to think Jack Parr (does anyone remember him) I believe was fired from The Tonight Show because he used the word toilet on the air.Imagine if he had grabbed his crotch like so many of the men do in the musical world today.

    Sex and violence seems to sell not only in the movies but in music.And as long as people buy this trash the longer it will be around. Give me Sinatra, Mathis, Gorme, Lannie Kazan, Joni James any day.

  45. Very good article, and very good points, but the headline should be “WHY to talk to your sons about Robin Thicke”, not “HOW to talk …”. I agree there may not be any one way, but don’t misrepresent your information, OK?

  46. The reason why Cyrus is getting all the heat while Thicke is getting little attention is because he was much passive in the performance.

    Most people have speculated that Cyrus behaved that way on sage simply for attention and attention is what she got.

    However, if the roles were reversed what would people be talking about? In other words, if Cyrus was standing there fully clothed while Thicke grinded up against her while wearing nothing but a pair of skin-colored shorts? I think that feminists would be screaming about a performance reeking of “rape culture” and people would probably call for a boycott of his music.

    The disparity in attention that each has been receiving is not because one is a boy but the other is a girl, rather it comes down to the roles that each played on stage.

  47. Thank you for your perspective on this issue. Please remove the link to the performance. It only encourages men to lust.

  48. Hello Eric,
    I am a bit late with the reply but just now saw your blog from a repost on facebook. I am a mother of two, an 18 year old daughter, who I just left at college yesterday, and a 15 year old son still with us in High School. For as long as I can remember, I have always had this conversation with my friends who also have sons, “why don’t you talk to your son’s about the same values regarding sex, drugs and overall appropriate behavior as you do with your daughters?” It is a major issue in our cutler and communities. This year before our Son headed off to a summer at overnight camp, my husband had a discussion with him about girls. More specifically, about respecting them and himself and treating them with respect, about what is acceptable behavior at his age and what is not and what the consequences of such behavior could be for him , not just what could happen to the girl. So many of my our friends have different curfews and social rules for their daugthers over their son’s , when what they really need to do is instill the proper expectations and social values for both their Son’s and Daughter’s. I absolutely 150% agree that if we are to change how our daughters act and perceive themselves, as well as how society treats and perceive’s women, there needs to be a change how we speak with our Son’s as well.

  49. Well said, the conversations start at home. With that being said, I use to listen to that song all the time because it got me up and moving (I wasn’t paying attention to the lyrics) but after I seem the performance I listen to the song again on my ITunes devices, I have since deleted the song. I have 2 impressionable boys at home. Why promote anything like that early. It is bad enough that it is thrown in our face 24/7/365 but the only way it is going to be stopped is not promoting it. Now you probably I think that we need sensorship, yes we do to some account.

  50. i think your post is stupid….

  51. In the quote in your article, there is a reference to “legislating a woman’s access to birth control.” As far as I know, birth control is easily available to anyone, at least here in the U.S. Every drug store has condoms and any woman can ask her doctor for a prescription for birth control. She can either buy it herself or thru her insurance program. If she can’t afford it, there are low-cost or free clinics all over the United States that offer help purchasing birth control. As far as I know, condoms don’t cost that much. And then there’s always the concept of not having sex. Women can always say “no” can’t they? Access to birth control is widespread. But the idea that your fellow citizens should pay for it….well, that’s not for them to do. If you’re going to have sex and you don’t have the money, then save up to buy it & in the meantime, simply go for a while without sex. You can’t live without food & water, but you can live without sex.

    • The point is that there is a gender disparity – an apocalyptic outcry at the possibility of coverage for women’s access to birth control with nary a word about the many insurance plans that already cover Viagra and Vasectomies.

      • I had a tubal ligation after my third son was born & it was covered by insurance; just as a man’s vasectomy is covered by insurance. No gender disparity there. It’s a surgical procedure. And people pay into those insurance premiums. They are not paid for by the government through taxpayers. However, I do not think Viagra should be covered by insurance. Women’s birth control pills are covered by insurance, in most cases, and have been for decades. And if a woman does not have insurance, they can be obtained very inexpensively thru various free or low-cost clinics or PP. Or a woman or man can buy condoms, which are inexpensive.

    • My former insurance didn’t cover the IUD I wanted, so I stayed on birth control pills and their reliable monthly copay for years. After I changed jobs, my new plan would only cover their generic form, which triggered migraines that left me sweating through my suit and vomitting bile for hours. Want to know how much my old, branded OC pills cost on the new plan? $300. Every month. Doctor’s visits are expensive, especially when it often requires multiple visits and prescriptions to find the right formula for a person. Generics are not made equal. Not everyone qualifies for sliding scale payments at PP. Not everyone lives in an area of medical access. Birth control pills are used to treat a variety of issues, and we forget that pregnancy is a medical condition itself. Please reconsider your harsh judgment of sexuality. Why do you blindly accept paying for other consequential procedures – like a triple bypass – but reject the cost-saving, resource managing, life-affirming benefits to family planning? Those women pay for insurance premiums that should cover them too!

    • You can live without sex, sure, but you might not be able to live without getting attacked or raped — nor can you really live all that comfortably without comprehensive healthcare, because oftentimes birth control is prescribed for reasons that have literally nothing to do with sex. And it’s still pretty dang difficult to get birth control in this country without being shamed for it. Just look at the Conservative Catholic groups who tried to get birth control and other forms of contraception made exempt from Obama’s proposed healthcare bills, despite the fact that 98% of Catholic-identifying women use contraception.

      Speaking of which, may I ask where you live, Liz? I’m assuming somewhere on a Northern part of either the East or West coast? You’d be surprised how hard it’s becoming to get the level of reproductive care that you’re describing in many parts of Midwestern America NOW without Obamacare. The new law in Texas, for example, could close all but a handful of family planning clinics for a population of over 10 million women. In a state that’s over 200,000 square miles. That’s not a lot of clinics for that many people in that great a distance.

      In addition, many so-called “clinics” are actually propaganda centers that guilt, shame, or manipulate their clients into choosing abstinence or adoption when it might not be the best course of action for them.

      Another point: Women can say “no,” yes, but part of the point that Eric makes in his article is that women are often taught their sexuality is not theirs to control — that it must be agreed upon and managed by outside sources. So not only do you get women whose “no” is repeatedly ignored in cases of rape, but you get women who feel they are obligated to say yes in certain situations because they don’t value their own agency enough as people. Just telling people to “go without sex” is very reductive in light of the complex ways sexuality is discussed and commodified in our culture.

  52. kirstensara says:

    This is a great post, Eric. Thank you. I think it’s important though, too, that these conversations overlap at both ends, particularly in not only how we talk to our sons about people like Robin Thicke, but also how we talk to our sons (and our daughters) about Miley Cyrus and, more importantly, the way other people are talking about her body and her values after her performance. I address some of those things toward the end of this piece here: http://asitoughttobe.com/2013/08/28/miley-cyrus-deserves-better-than-our-slut-shaming-and-so-do-our-daughters/ but the sticking point for me, as a mother with a daughter of my own, is that men have an equal role in standing up for the way we value other women. I love your piece and the way you’re contributing positively to such an important discussion. Thanks again!

    • Thank you for your kind words and for your post on the topic too! You make some great points and I think you’re right to say that what the world needs is more positive contributions to the conversation. Thanks for being a part of that and for furthering this conversation! Have a great day.

      • kirstensara says:

        Thanks, Eric! Also, if you’re not yet familiar with the Good Men Project, your post feels very well-suited for that. You should check them out — they have great work there all the time.

  53. Thank you for this! So often we overlook the BIG PICTURE. My little girl just turned 1 and I am petrified of how the world will be when she enters her teens. I hope and pray that parents talk to both their daughters AND sons about “pop culture” these days.

    • It’s definitely an unsettling thought, isn’t it? The great part is that you’re already aware of it, even when your daughter is so young. Blessings on you, your daughter, and all of your future conversations!

  54. “…how much power we hold over women.” Can “power” be construed, or maybe start out as, wanting to be attractive to women? That is, wanting women to find you (a man) desirable? That is opposed to power = dominance over. I have never felt any desire to control women or any woman, but instead desired they find me appealing. Not in a narcissistic way, but how a woman’s attention can make a man feel important.
    Also, when having conversations with our daughters (I have nieces) tell them not only how their own behavior should be but also how a boy/man’s behavior should be. In other words, don’t just tell the girl what she should and shouldn’t do and leave her to believe that boys are just wolves in sheeps clothing to be constantly fought off at every date, but let them know that this behavior from the male gender is unacceptable.
    Women have lots of power. My grandpa told me the story of how his future wife (my grandmother) was helping him home from being drunk. She told him that she could not be with a man like that. He said he went into a bar the next day, ordered a beer, and just sat there and looked at it. He payed for it, never drinking any of it, and left. He never drank after that.
    So, yes, tell the boys how real men behave, but tell the girls how real men behave too. Well, I guess we should tell the boys how real women should behave also.
    This comment is already long but I love the idea of father/daughter dates, to give a living example of how a man should behave on a date. I wonder if the same thing could be done with a mother/son date? Hmmm… Maybe better to have the son along on a father/mother date and he can learn by watching how dad treats mom?

    • For David, yes mother-son dates are great. I have an 18 yr old and a 15 year old who I love to take on dates. Even if it’s just for lunch or dinner but it really creates a positive connection. My boys feel that they can talk about anything with me and no topic is off limits. And yes they were grossed out by this performance. Keep that connection going. It’s a beautiful thing to have.

  55. As the mother of two boys and victim myself, I am giving you a virtual high five right now. Thanks for writing this.

  56. I admit I’m guilty of thinking this is a conversation we should have with our daughters only. You are absolutely correct, and I applaud your words. Bravo.

    • It’s such an easy way of thinking to get into and our culture does us no favors in helping get out of it. Thanks for being willing to join the conversation! Have a great day.

  57. This is great! Thank you!

  58. Often these debates focus on what young women do or don’t do. I don’t remeber having seen similar debates about young men’s behavior. I guess “boys will be boys”.

    But if you believe in the spiritual side of human nature imagine the disservice we do to our BOYS when we teach them that they can flaunt and ignore principles of respect and chastity. I think that spiritually speaking the double standard is more harmful to boys than it is to girls.

  59. There are biases in both directions, and the subject should be how to talk to your kids, not sons, not daughters. And in that statement I don’t really see random internet bloggers as an authority on how others “should” talk to their kids.

    Also, I will remind you of your own biases, you mention violence against women, when men are victims of violence far more often. Indeed men are jailed (often for victimless crimes) and raped even, and there are more male victims of sexual assault in the military than female, yet this population is completely ignored and everything framed as “womens issues” when they are really issues that affect men as well.

    The real problem here is puritanical taboos about sex in general and gender stereotypes, get over it, stop trying to control people and make them conform to your worldview. You can’t put women on a pedestal and minimize mens issues and act like it is justified. If you put expectations on your sons and tell your daughters what they are entitled to, then you are part of the problem. I feel bad for the sons who are being treated like so many beasts of burden, I feel bad for any victim of assault, and the social stigma against sex in general does not help them when the assault is sexual in nature.

    Screw puritanical ideals I say. It only leads to even more sexism.

  60. Keep It Together Man says:

    Wow. You’ve obviously struck a nerve here with responders! Maybe it’s because you’re RIGHT! There are few people speaking out about this topic from a male perspective. Thanks for hitting the nail on the head!

    I’m with you in the journey, man, to give families tools and encouragement. My blog focuses on some similar issues (although I have two daughters). I’m also a Student Pastor, so get to speak into students’ lives on a regular basis. So, let’s join forces here in giving parents back the tools they need so they can be spiritual champions for their kids.

    • That’s awesome! I’m always glad to hear there are people passionate about and dedicated to helping young people navigate this world. I appreciate your work and I’m looking forward to checking out your blog. Thanks for you comment. Have a great day.

    • When something strikes a nerve, it is usually because it is wrong. I have two daughters and you would treat them as something other than equals, more like victims if life doesn’t meet your imposed expectations. You would mandate your daughters sexuality. Personally I think you guys are in the closet, because of these very same “ideals”. Good job :/ Now stop pretending like you know anything about anything.

  61. Thanks for this! Retweeting it. :)

  62. Thank you so much for this article!! I have heard way too many times this week friends of mine saying “this is why I’m so glad I have sons”. So frustrating.

    • You’re so welcome. And that sounds like it’s really frustrating. It’s all of our responsibilities to have this conversation. Thanks for your comments and for furthering this discussion!

  63. Marie Franzosa says:

    Thank you for writing such a thoughtful piece. You really hit the nail on the head with this. If you have not seen it already, here is a great video of a poet who addressed this issue, pointing out the importance of men seeing that the destruction of rape culture begins with recognizing their own part in it. You need to watch all the way through to get the full impact as it starts out like a comedy routine to accentuate the point.

  64. Alex Kitchens says:

    I love your article. Men too often use the excuse that “women should not dress like that” for their habit of ogling, which is the equivalent of blaming one’s gluttony on a bakery for making their cake look so good.

    There should be a focus on dignity, self respect, and the respect of others in both women and men. I love your advice.

  65. Alex Kitchens says:

    Reblogged this on Axiom.

  66. Jason Sharp says:

    Well said. I have always tried to preach to my boys “If you wouldn’t want your Mother treated that way, then dont treat another female that way.” See ya Sunday.

  67. Thank you for such an insightful article. I have a 14 year old son who knows about the video and I want to have a conversation with him about it, but it is hard to have that talk mom to son. My husband won’t do it. Any suggestions? I would LOVE for him to just read your blog post – we talk a lot about respecting women and being a Godly young man to honor and respect all of his friendships with girls face-to-face, texting, facebook, etc., so it’s not like we don’t talk about these topics. The good aspect of the VMAs, I guess, if I can actually accept that there is, is that it allowed for parents to talk about these issues even more deeply. I am blessed we were not all watching it together as a family. I can have a conversation with my 14 year old about a very in-your-face obscenity in the comfort of our home, having Christ at the center, and love at its chore. Thank you for posting. Again, any tips of how to talk to your son about these issues would be great (I was a victim of sexual assault at his age, so it is extremely difficult to keep my memories out of these conversations)

  68. Reblogged this on My Life Is As Beautiful As I Make It Look On Facebook and commented:
    The fact that I have three boys does not pardon me from any uncomfortable discussions about sex. There is nothing wrong with sex. I like it. I have been married for almost 12 years and I have 3 kids… There is nothing wrong with it. I am not a slut just because I do it.
    So what is the problem? Did I not say a few posts ago that sometimes I like being an object? Yes, I did. But I like being the object for my husband. What makes sex feel dirty to me? When I know my husband was watching porn. Watching women be cheapened and devalued just so a man can get his rocks off. (He doesn’t know that I know he watches it sometimes. He doesn’t understand how it degrades ME when he watches other women in videos)
    What’s the other problem? Where was Robin in this whole situation? Doing the same damned thing she was. Yes, I found her disgusting and he is NOT any better. But where is the public rage toward him?
    Oh, it’s not there… because he is a man.
    This whole issue is a mess. What happened on that stage sets us back. It’s a messy topic. I see both sides of it. I am on one side of the issue and then just as quickly jump to the other side. She should be allowed to be a sexual being without the public shaming. He should have just as much shaming as her. Maybe they shouldn’t have done this because nobody needs to see sex as a public event! It’s not a public matter! This culture needs to tone down the sex.
    I don’t want my sons growing up thinking that women are here just for the fucking. I want them to be as embarrassed by Robin as I am of Miley. I want them to know that a woman’s vag is her own and he has no right to it unless she consents and I also want him to know that his penis does not control everything. He has the right to have sex but it really should be with someone he cares deeply for. It is not something you do just to do.
    My first sex talk with my mom was done so with anatomy books. She’s a nurse (as am I) so I don’t blame her for her way of explaining. That is how I am going to approach it with my boys. My mom never covered the emotional side of it. My stepsister did that a few years later. She explained to me and her little sister how men see it. She told me what “pop the trunk” meant and it struck me right then that men see sex as an achievement but a girl will be called a slut for the same exact behavior.

  69. “Eve was not taken out of Adam’s head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.”
    ― Matthew Henry (18 October 1662 – 22 June 1714)

  70. Thanks for your post. Elly Brinkley, before the VMAs, wrote well on the nature of Thicke’s Blurred Lines http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2013/08/08/is-blurred-lines-a-rapey-song/

  71. I can tell the people in the picture are a family because they’re all wearing the same clothes. Did they just come from one of those lame family portrait sessions?

  72. Thank you!!!! This has been the most enlightening thing I’ve read since this whole stupid thing has taken over our news. Yes – Miley acted in a way that many of us deem very inappropriate. But it has BOTHERED me that no one says anything about Thicke. In fact, prior to this the only thing I’ve heard is “Gee, Miley, he is a married man!” – as if he is some kind of victim! Bull. I couldn’t believe either that he labeled his song as a feminist movement. Nope. He doesn’t know (and neither do his rappers) what feminists (real feminists – not women who are just looking for no responsibility) really stand for. His criteria was that his song said, “he is not your maker.” What about the other lines dealing with consent and completely objectifying a woman to just her body. Yeah. THANK YOU for your approach and spreading the concept of the double standard in our society towards boys/girls and men/women. :)

  73. the male economic value does indeed come from men’s ability to hold persuasive influence over women. from a spiritual perspective, our value comes from our humanity, but don’t mistake the power that the reptilian (citing science) portion of the human brain has over how society makes decisions. we’re hardwired to want many women, women are hardwired to seek resources and therefore have the predisposition to gravitate towards men who have power. neither gender is forced to act on our wiring because we have free will, but that doesn’t mean these tendencies don’t govern society at the moment. the pendulum swings both ways – ever heard of 50 shades of grey? how about every romantic comedy in the last decade being just a fantasy telling women that they will get everything they want from men. women need to clean up their act every bit as much as men. it would be misogynistic to think that men solely bear the burden of societies morality. this is a human issue, and it requires teamwork and cooperation. that means understanding, honoring, and respecting the inherited differences that exist on average between the genders. white knights need to get a reality check.

  74. As far as Miley and Whatsisname Thicke go, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.. they’re laughing all the way to the bank.
    As I watched that video clip I could only ask “Why do people like this stuff?!” and yours is the first comment I’ve seen that blasts or at least questions the whole big entertainment machine behind that over-the-line musical act. The thinly veiled disgust on the faces of many celeb audience members leads me to think they don’t want to be part of this machine…
    Why indeed is Ms Cyrus taking the brunt of the criticism… she’s a willing puppet sure, but she didn’t make that stuff up all on her own.
    .

  75. Sharon Moe says:

    Decades ago, poet Adrienne Rich wrote in her book, Lies, Secrets and Silence: A man’s honor is his word; a woman’s honor is her chastity. It’s always (!) been that way, and it looks like it always will be that way. But again, what is needed is eternal vigilance.

  76. Nora Nurart says:

    Thank you Eric for your writing I am surprised how people react even though we are not in the dark ages any more I am starting wondering are we still in that era stak … frastrating to see so many smart people but have one sidet view.

  77. cobber123 says:

    Great article, thank you for asking men to step up and talk to their sons. Just one comment… girls need to understand that the way they dress and act can be a temptation for the guys around them. My Christian brothers avoid the mall because of Victoria’s Secret advertisements, but there is one thing they can’t avoid and that’s the way we as women choose to dress. We shouldn’t be a stumbling block and we can be beautiful without showing skin or cleavage. From what I heard from most men, beautiful modest women are more attractive to them.

    • I’d like to live in world where people can dress however they feel comfortable, and the people around them take personal responsibility for their sexual (or other) response. Why are we so distracted by certain body parts? Who says they need to be “stumbling blocks”?

      Okay, so a (heterosexual/bisexual/pansexual) man finds a scantily-clad woman arousing. Good, he has a healthy sex drive! What matters is how he treats her – and other people as well. (I’m assuming he can deal with being aroused and not let it keep him from completing important tasks. That’s a skill I learned – and think women if not all people are expected to learn – pretty quickly.)

      Women (and men – people in general) shouldn’t have to base their decisions about what to wear on how it might affect random strangers. If you’re more comfortable in modest clothing, dress modestly – but do it because that’s how you want to dress, not to avoid being a stumbling block or to be more attractive … or because you fear being raped if you show some skin. The personal decisions of women shouldn’t have to revolve around men, any more than the personal decisions of men revolve around women (let’s face it, they don’t). They’re personal.

  78. Jaclyn Hamilton says:

    Just saw this video for the first time. It looks like a pretty good parody mocking modern day media to me. And Miley is clearly the one with the dick here. Robin Thicke looks like a gameshow host and has clearly spent more time primping. I think youth are sick and tired of the bullshit “trickle-down economics” they’ve been fed all their lives. They have taken off the rose colored glasses adults are afraid to shed, and they are desperate for a better future. This looks like acting out to me.

    • Can stop, and will stop says:

      agreed. The masses have taken it at face value. It is a very exaggerated and symbolic music video, designed to spark controversy and attention, which the VMA performance reflected as well. A double money maker: comic satire for those who know better than to have those attitudes, and an anthem for those who “can’t stop and won’t stop”

  79. Reblogged this on thepreacherspeaks.

  80. The past two days I have been wondering why no one was talking about Robin Thicke’s presence and actions at the show – it has all been about Miley Cyrus. Yet, Thicke was there and just as involved. I truly appreciate your attempt to highlight that this discussion should have more than one component.

  81. Eric, you and I are of one accord when it comes to the solution to this problem, so thanks for bringing this into the light. I have a challenge though, as one brother to another, is there really value in using coarse words? As a Christian man, or more properly as a man attempting to make a sound point, there is no value added to your article by using words that are considered coarse in our culture. In fact it will detract from your argument and take your otherwise sound basis and make it appear juvenile in nature (which it obviously is not). Again, thanks for the article.

  82. The song is entertaining and catchy and I will continue to grind to it if i want to – does not mean I endorse the lyrics- but if we are all of sudden going to sign a waiver of our parenting skills to a song then, someone is not getting the parent of the year award this year. No song should be a premise for a parent to speak to a child about respect – it should go without saying that it should be part of EVERY parent/guardians checklist regardless of a song, tv show or entertainer. This article was nicely written but does not tell me anything I already should know. The article should not be titled how to speak to your children about Robin Thicke but just plain and simple how to teach your children respect and distinguishing between an entertaining song and reality.

  83. Eric, I appreciate your article, thanks for bringing this point to light. A challenge from one brother to another though: does coarse language add value to your argument? I think your thoughts and intentions are fantastic, but I also think you are called to present them in a way that is edifying to all who read them. Again, thanks for the article, I hope you have many converts to this line of thinking.

  84. careful -note that the study you cited found effects of short-term exposure to stereotypical media content on sexual harassment judgments but NOT on rape myth acceptance.

  85. Lea Coppage says:

    Your blog echoes what I saw in this TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue.html
    Thanks for posting.

  86. Reblogged this on Amber Manning-Ouellette's Blog and commented:
    Thank you for this VERY important perspective.

  87. Fantastic post Eric – thank you for this. As men we need to lead by example and teach out sons that this type of activity really hurts themselves and it hurts women. You’re 100% right, it starts with the individual first.

  88. Reblogged this on HAVEN Give Hope A Voice and commented:
    Glad to see someone bringing attention to this one-sided conversation. Discussions with our children, both boys and girls, are required to help us make the necessary cultural shift to stop looking at the objectification of women as entertainment.

  89. Reblogged this on Confessions Of An Awkward Being.

  90. Well said, Eric. To the blogosphere’s credit, you’re not the only one calling Robin Thicke out for “Blurred Lines.” Matt Walsh wrote a piece that makes similar points: http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/08/28/dear-son-dont-let-robin-thicke-be-a-lesson-to-you/

  91. Can you suggest talking points to help get the conversation started?

  92. Eric wrote:

    We need to talk to our sons and our brothers about respecting women and respecting themselves.

    Huh? In what universe do we not do that already?

    Maybe in yours, Eric, but let me tell you, my sons did not have to ask any questions regarding what would happen to them if they abused or disrespected a woman in any way in my presence, starting with their mother and sisters. They knew. That’s why they won’t do it.

    Candidly, the world in which “Women who have sex are dirty, [but] men who have sex are men. ” is a leftist myth. Even 60 years ago when you could actually hear some men say idiotic things like that, it was not the standard, it was just the noise made by moral cretins showing off their bad breeding.

    • Please tell me where you live, because I want to move there. Sure, most people don’t come out and say “women who have sex are dirty, but men who have sex are men,” but that’s the general message I’ve gotten all of my life. Whether we call women trashy or sluts for having sex with more than one guy, blaming rape victims for their rape if they’ve had sex ever, saying it’s women’s job to say no and men’s job to ask, and just the general portrayal of women in the media. Heck, I’ve been told I’ve had “too many” sex partners by a guy who had at least twice as many as me (which is fine for him), and get into discussions/arguments with guys who don’t want women who are too “trashy” (defined by having sex with too many guys) but talk about having casual sex.
      These aren’t just the occasional person or situation, this is fairly regular and throughout many groups of people, not a “leftist myth.”
      Also, the only “respect women” conversations I hear are “don’t hit them” or “treat them like a lady” which is not at all the same thing as “respect them as equal human beings.” Again, maybe your experiences are different, but this is all I’ve seen so far in my life.

    • Stephen V says:

      Coming from the other end – I was raised in a more or less agnostic/atheistic home, and I don’t recall ever having a talk with my parents specifically about respecting women… disrespecting them simply didn’t occur to me, and yes, I’m quite sure they would be disappointed in me (a more effective deterrent than you might think) if I did anything so crass as sexual harassment. More to the point, at this point, *I* would be disappointed in me, if I weren’t more concerned about possession or mental illness after doing something so out of character.

      However, as Jackie’s pointed out, not everyone’s world is the same. What I’d like to know, though, is – what makes them different, and why haven’t they overlapped?
      Actually, I do have a theory as to why they don’t overlap – it’s a divisive enough issue that any given group of people will ostracize the few who disagree with them on the matter before long; and from the other end, it’s harder to convince everyone than it is to leave. For some it’s impossible to do either.

  93. I absolutely LOVED this post. Thank you for shedding the light that it isn’t just the girls that need to wake up to their power; it’s the boys too. This is a cultural issue, not a gender one. You told it with such heart, honesty and lack of pretension that the truth screamed off the screen.

  94. Thank you so much for this article.
    As a mom of young sons, and once a young girl, preteen and a woman in her 20’s … my concern for what all our children face today is all too alarming. This is a great article on the flip side to what happened at the VMA’s recently…

  95. Alex Hass says:

    You should read this one – http://twenty6candles.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-to-talk-with-your-sons-about-robin.html. It’s down the same road as what you’re saying but with a little more focus on the actual conversation. Just a heads up, I think she takes a little bit of a swipe at you.

  96. Great article and certainly an important issue in this culture that really needs to regroup in the area of sexuality and how folks, particularly young folks, navigate in this changing landscape as women become more powerful and potent as self actualized people in the society. I also think men should have this discussion with their sons if their sons indeed found Robin Thicke’s position in the performance erotic as in ignoring totally Miley Cyrus as nothing more than an annoying prop, which got in the way of a vital and sexy man, above any standard of behavior, even at a wild video awards show. Just saying.

  97. One of my young friends on Facebook made the point that when she got to college they made all freshmen girls go to a mandatory orientation session called, “How Not to get Raped,” but had no corresponding session for the boys called, “Don’t Rape.” Seems you wouldn’t need the former if they focused more on the latter.

    • Stephen V says:

      One would think that, yes.

      The title might want some revision – I would be insulted if I had to attend a class titled “Don’t Rape,” as it implies to me that I’m incapable of acting civilized without being told – say, to “How to Avoid Rape Charges” (which may well attract boys who think it’ll include ways of circumventing the laws… arguably the sorts of people you *want* hearing these seriously-don’t-do-it lessons).

      Of course *that* title has it’s own drawbacks (such as parents and women being horrified that such a course was on offer).

      But then, my own college had a somewhat different approach to it; the session was co-ed and about safe sex in general, with the “Don’t Rape” section being folded in with the rest of it. There wasn’t a “How Not to get Raped” section that I recall, but then, I’m a guy, so if they had it in a separate session I’d have missed it anyway.

  98. I have two young daughters so have spent much time considering these issues of self-respect, sexuality, and objectification. I have also thought how relieved I am to not be raising boys in this culture. My reasoning may seem backward, but I can’t help but feel that a parent raising an honorable, respectful man who can rise above the deviance in our society gets little to no support. I also think it is wrong to place the onus of sexual and personal responsibility solely on the shoulders of women and girls; but that practice seems to be the norm.

    I find it really refreshing and hopeful to read these posts by you and Matt Walsh – younger men intent on returning integrity to the world of men. I pray you will be heard. My husband and I are committed to teaching our daughters to have high standards for the men they choose to spend their time with; but we cannot create or control the boys they meet. I hope my daughters have godly men to marry when they are older. Thank you for saying important things out loud.

  99. Should women not be allowed to view images of objectified men, either?

  100. Very glad to read this Eric. Also glad that as yet, both by my son and daughter are way too young and blissfully unaware of such shinanigens. I’d never heard of “Blurred Lines” or Robin Thicke (who struck me as a George Michael try hard with none of the talent), nor seen the clip before all this twerking palaver. I’ve spent the majority of the last 8 years living in the bubble that is rural Japan. Watching it and its ‘rapey’ vibe (to quote Tricia Romano: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/17/blurred-lines-robin-thicke-s-summer-anthem-is-kind-of-rapey.html ) really gave me the creeps. That and Miley copping all the flack and the pimp in the striped suit walking away from it all scot free.

    Tori Amos’ “Me and a Gun” doesn’t get enough air play any more.

  101. Reblogged this on SCRAWLERBUG and commented:
    I was recently told about an incident a few weeks ago when a girl I know was walking along, minding her own friggin’ business, when two men told her “don’t be surprised when we rape you”. I had close to a similar experience three days ago, and it wasn’t my first. Or my second. For some reason, men in my country somehow feel entitled to make whatever remarks they want to about a girl’s body as she passes by. Talk about blurred lines.

    I’m all for modesty, but changing the way our young women dress doesn’t solve the problem. All it does is give our men room to find something else to justify rape and abuse of all sorts. There is so much rhetoric surrounding women when it comes to sexuality, when perhaps dealing with the conditioning of the male mind is a root cause we should be tackling. Everyone is bashing Miley, where is all the talk about Robin Thicke’s role in all this? That’s just one example of this disheartening imbalance. I read this article, and I snapped all the way. SO worth reading.

  102. nagchampa says:

    “the ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people”

  103. The thing that disgusted me about Miley’s performance was the performance itself. She’s an adult performer, so if she wants to wear revealing outfits and be vulgar while on stage that’s her prerogative. But she put on a terrible show! She demonstrated a complete lack of talent and stage presence. Robin Thicke’s performance wasn’t amazing, but it was passable. After the show, I didn’t want to skewer him on social media sites, and it had nothing to do with the fact that he is male. Just something to note.

  104. I did not watch the VMA’s, nor am I likely to in the future. However had I watched and been able to see the people who advertised on there I would not be giving them my business any longer. We can complain, talk to our children, bot the boys and girls but as long as there are sponsors willing to advertise on these shows it is going to happen. Janet Jackson’s wardrobe mal-function, sure, had not slowed down the price for Super Bowl advertising at all. You teach your children right from wrong, you censor their TV viewing as much as possible and you pray that they will listen and learn.

  105. This may have been pointed out but Robin would have had to have Miley when he was 16 in order to be her father.

  106. Thanks for this. Part of the concern I had when saw this performas was feeling that Miley was being exploited. I didn’t know Robin Thicke was that much older than Miley, though if I’d thought about it, I’d know. This is an important issue for men too. Thanks.

  107. I appreciate your point. It is important to teach our sons to respect women. However, the title of your article, HOW to talk with your sons about Robin Thicke is misleading. You don’t actually offer a “how to” What would such a conversation sound like? What would you say to your own son?

  108. I only recently watched the whole clip.

    Without excusing Robin Thicke, “Blurred Lines” or the fact that choreography got approved by HOW many people for it to get to the point of being live on-stage…

    Was I the only person who noticed that Miley clearly went off-script, and that her improvisations did not involve HIS consent? He looks horrified and like someone who feels trapped by the demand that the show must go on. As part of encouraging our sons and daughters to seek affirmative consent, we need to teach them that men are not animals; beasts controlled by their desires such that they can be forced by a woman’s clothing to assault her.

    We also need to teach that it’s inappropriate to assume that men default to ‘ON’. At several points it’s pretty obvious that Miley is touching Robin in ways that he did NOT consent to and isn’t interested in. We’d easily recognize this as assault if he’d done it to her, why is it okay for her to assume access to his body?

    The same goes for her use of one of the backup dancers’ as a prop for simulating a sexual act. (I hope that part was off-script, since some of it clearly was. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if it were part of the show either.)

    I’d definitely like to join folks that have mentioned that it’s important to discuss the issues raised by the racism of the performance (particularly because talking about the sexualization and objectification of black women without talking about race is a privileged intellectual separation to make). I appreciated this article (reprinted in Jezebel and mentioned previously) in particular:

    http://battymamzelle.blogspot.com/2013/08/Solidarity-Is-For-Miley-Cyrus.html

    • ChristineM says:

      I thought the same, that Robin Thicke’s wife would be angry at the young woman rubbing against her husband and touching him. However, she claimed that it was done exactly that way in rehearsals, so there were no surprises.

      • I’m not directing the following at ChristineM, but at a viewpoint I hear regularly that assigns the harm done to the spouse and not the person whose consent is violated. (It’s possible to read Christine’s comment a number of other ways and I don’t want to jump to conclusions or on someone based on my assumptions.)

        His wife? Miley didn’t do anything to his wife. Miley (at least based on his reactions) was ad-libbing it and touching him sexually without his consent. Everything about the way he’s reacting screams that he doesn’t care to be touched by her in that way. Imagine if she were a guy on the subway?

        But we assume that the offense is against his wife (for encroaching on her property?) As his wife I’d be pissed off that someone took advantage of the stage to cross the not-remotely-blurred line of consent.

        I think HE’D be angry that Miley invaded his personal space the way she did. We need to recognize that men are not automatons with responses driven by their sex drive. Men are not available any time a woman offers sex, and it’s not a joke for ANYONE to have sexual contact forced upon them.

        Of course, we don’t create an environment that allows men to be taken seriously when they aren’t interested. It would kill his career to say so publicly. I realize I’m making several assumptions (I haven’t found any reference to the VMA act being rehearsed that way, only the blurred lines video; and several articles have stated that Miley added quite a bit of the crudest material live).

        I might be totally wrong in how I’m reading the situation. Even if I am? I think we’re also overdue for a conversation about how men’s consent is treated as a given and what message that sends our children (and especially our boys) about what we expect from them. Men and boys CAN control themselves, and often DO want relationships and love before sex. Their consent deserves respect, and if we treat them otherwise how do we expect them to understand why they might want a partner’s consent?

  109. T.I. was in no way involved with the VMA performance.

  110. Welllll… I agree with the sentiment but I think actions speak louder than words. If I – as a father – respect women and don’t give the time or day to misogynistic nonsense then my son will learn those things without having to spell it out for him. Sure, individual conversations/life lessons come up organically and we should be ready and prepared for them, but I think modern parents have a tendency to give too much credence to pop culture as an easy scapegoat while ignoring their own lack of engagement/poor role-modeling.

    So while I don’t disagree I wish this article put “be present and engaged” and “be a good role-model” as their first suggestions.

  111. WTF? Elvis invented twerking like 60 years ago! Let it go already! Miley’s an entertainer. She dances to music. Dancing is somewhat peripherally related to sex. So what? What is the big f-ing deal?

  112. Thank you for posting this. This is what we’re all about too. Good to see other members taking a stand to greater masculinity.

  113. “talk about how Robin Thicke was on stage with a woman young enough to be his daughter”

    I don’t know how I feel about this line. Our culture is filled with impenetrably thick dogma about how if two people are too far apart in age, that their relationship is worthless and any romantic love they feel for each other is false. I’ve known couples with 20 years in age difference that love and respect each other just as much as any other couple.

  114. I would also like to point out that Robin Thicke is 36, and Miley Cyrus is 20. She is not “young enough to be his daughter”, although he is technically old enough to be her father, though maybe not at an appropriate age. That kind of wording, infantalizing Miley instead of aging Robin, is one of the reasons for so much unbalanced public outcry against her. She has just recently aged out of the Disney club, but she’s been contracted to convince the world that she’s a 13-year-old for years. The public is unable to see her as an adult, and it looks to them like she “grew up” overnight because she’s spent the last six or seven years wrapping her breasts and pretending to be frozen in middle school. The discomfort of everyone is not based on her dress, her “twerking”, or her new image, or her references to partying and drug use…if it were Katy Perry or some other established adult performer, nobody would have been upset. But since it was “Hannah Montana”, and we can no longer control how she presents herself to our daughters, and we still think she’s a preteen, we panic.

    • outoutout says:

      Glad I’m not the only one who caught that! It’s a stretch, at best, to say that Miley is young enough to be Robin’s daughter. And very good point abot her being infantalised in the eyes of the collective media.

    • feministguy says:

      Alyssa, great comments. The culture’s desire for this kind of power over our pre-teen celebrities as they turn into adult woman is a very subtle type of misogyny. The sex-negative shaming really turns my stomach. More than any “raunchy” dance moves.

  115. Reblogged this on On the Christian Journey… and commented:
    An important, mainly overlooked point.

  116. Wow! Now I can’t wait to read further articles about talking to my future daughters about songs like Avril Lavingne’s “Girlfriend” and Cher Llyod’s “Want U Back” so that they know not to be possessive and emotionally abusive against their male peers and their loved ones. Oh, wait, there are none?

    I think we’re going about this the wrong way; boys are not potential monsters that need to be talked out of hurting women and women are not helpless victims. We need to talk to both our sons and daughters about respecting others and themselves without implying any gender roles about who will be the abuser and who will be the abused.

  117. Thank you for this very insightful piece! I have shared same on my FB page. I invite you to read my post on same http://thedreherreport.com/2013/08/27/on-miley-cyrus. I’d luv your comments. I am also writing part two that is along the same lines as your post. I will forward same as soon as I am done. Again, thank you. This post was very much needed. Best, K

  118. I actually had a conversation with my son about Blurred Lines a couple of weeks ago. I’ve had a problem with the song and what it’s saying from the very first time I heard it. This VMA performance just added fuel to the fire, in my opinion. No means no!

  119. Bless you, Eric. This is a wonder piece and deserves all the shares in the world. It’s people like you who’ll help women and other oppressed groups gain the recognition and respect they strive for. Peace :)

  120. Why as a pastor would you use the word B***S***?

  121. I quoted you in my own recent blog post. Great words that speak true to the issue! Of course credit was given. Loved reading this post!

  122. All hail Gloria Steinhem and Andrea Dworkin, and of course, mighty Marx! May the destruction of standards in the USA increase! May all humans one day be interchangeable clones, may there be no differences, may we all be sexless units like ants or bees! Collectivize the peasantry! To the barricades! Destroy the bourgeoisie, elevate the Supreme Soviet! Blah, blah, blah…

    The political left didn’t like the old standards…they said they were repressive. Now they don’t like the society THEIR attitudes and actions have generated. Imagine that. Leftists always promise utopia, but they NEVER deliver because they CANNOT deliver. Its always change more and change more and change more, utopia is just over that hill. Good luck finding it.

  123. It’s interesting how much blame has been directed at Miley Cyrus. I feel mostly sad for her that she, like almost every other young, female singer, is part of an industry that pressures (directly and indirectly probably) women to use their sexuality to sell music.
    The MTV awards were littered with young women dressed in sexually provocative outfits while all the young men, under no such pressure to use their bodies as marketing instruments, were fully covered.

  124. Well said. Thanks for sharing.

  125. Agreed! So it comes with male figures in the household setting an example by, for instance, equally sharing chores (so that boys don’t grow up thinking that women are the primary feeders, cookers, cleaners, launderers, grocery-shoppers….), or equally taking time to actually raise kids (so that women are not the only one stagnating in their professional careers – it’s okay for fathers to also take a parental leave of absence or to be the ones checking the homework at home, or yet again to be the ones modifying the work schedules to be able to go pick up the kids in school, to be full contributors of their kids’ education), or avoiding to talk about sex as a sport (something that resembles a performance, with a winner – the guy – and a loser – the girl).

  126. Reblogged this on Bleed. and commented:
    This is a fantastic article.

  127. I am so out of it with regard to pop culture that I had no idea what on earth all the hoopla was. Yesterday I viewed the performance and I was actually shocked. First of all the sexuality of it all from both sides male and female is blatant and very sad actually. Producers of the show and managers of the show should be held accountable, but who hold the viewing public accountable. Why are people in our culture so accepting of this even being out there. Yup freedom of speech but how far do we go there was an entire racism slant to the feedback as well. I just am really saddened by a culture that finds this appropriate for “prime” viewing.

  128. Sinead Connolly aka @ThunderAtSea on twitter says:

    @Gayla Bruce. The whole point of that post is it is NOT what women wear or do that needs changing, but the projection and narrative men put on it.
    The Hijabi has no more, or less, “right” to respect than any woman,in any attire.
    So mentioning her, and the Q’ur’an(which is pretty vague on attire and simply regards hijab as a mental attitude)shows you’re kinda missing the point.
    It’s NOT what women do that’s obscene, or immodest, its what MEN think about it.
    And in this day and age surely THAT’S what we should be changing, not our clothes?

    • William Epps says:

      I ask muslim men all the time, why is it OK for women to be under a sheet, but not men? I know many men that are objectified by women and by other men, it would remove temptation of these people if the men would wear the sheet and fully cover their body. It is a sick double standard. I fully agree with the earlier comments that western culture is going down to the lowest base common sexual denominator with performances like Cyrus, you would never see that in popular TV in Iran perhaps. Still can someone explain to me why only muslim women should wear the sheet to help other people with thier temptations, and muslim men should not wear the sheet to do the same? It is an unfair double standard. Or am I wrong, is there muslim men who were the sheet over them? As an earlier poster commented, perhaps soon with transhuman movements and uploading our minds into silicon quantum computers, we won’t even need our bodies anymore, but live in cyber worlds and virtual realities. We wont have opposite genders, or sex, or any of that animal disgusting carnal banality. Doesn’t the bible say something about heaven being a place no flesh and blood body can enter? With genderless souls? Sounds like an AI/Cyberworld to me where we leave our animal bodies and thier sex and gender behind. Leave sex for rats and dogs, seperate genders for lower life forms, soon humanity will be living as uploaded software on IBM computers with no mortality, sex, or gender problems.

  129. As someone who for years has been calling publicly for these conversations to be happening with young men, I am happy to finally see a man doing likewise. Most young women agree that it is not a good thing to be raped, whereas in far too many settings, young men are still being taught that conquest at any cost will make them studs. Only when we equalize our vocabulary, our expectations and our attitudes toward men and women alike for inappropriate sexual behavior will we truly begin to make progress.

  130. Wonderful, wonderful article, Eric. Thank you for this.

  131. This only rates with me in terms of being an example of what young people are exposed to on a regular basis. You want to silence freedom of expression? I’m going the other way with my kids. This is acting, this is how some people really do party. You go away to school, you will be exposed to unsupervised gesticulating and drinking/drug use, pretty much like every generation for the last 50 years. Whoo hoo. Can you make good decisions under those circumstances? Parents, can you instill behaviors in your children that will help them make good decisions?

  132. I have read some of the comments and thought about both sides of the issue. Yes, Thike played a role but…Cyrus got the blame for a couple reasons. Blurred Lines has been blasted all over the radio for the past month. He is just one of many talking about women like they are property on the mainstream. So, this performance happens and her first song is without him and she is objectifying teddy bears, and such. Then he comes on and she ups the anty a little more but…..She was acting like that before he even came on. His song is already “old news” and sure he should take the blame but as far as I am concerned, who the hell let them come on and do this in the first place? Both artists are adults and failed to see their place as a role model the other night. Both are stupid for acting out but one of the artists could have been attacked a long time ago for his provocative music and until a girl objectifies herself we ignore that it even happened.

  133. Thanks for writing this, I haven’t seen the video, but I have seen the uproar on Facebook, and every time anyone says something about Miley, I’ve immediately responded with “let’s talk about how Robin Thicke needs to be kept away from every woman ever”.
    That guy and his dudebros are flat out misogynist assholes.
    In the meantime, young girl does what society tells her to do (be sexually available to men) and gets punished for doing it “too much” AGAIN.

    • Wait, this was Miley Cyrus’ act. Nobody made her do it. I agree that we have look at the male side of it but that doesn’t mean it was all his fault and Cyrus was some kind of innocent victim. Women need to be responsible for their behavior just as men do.

  134. Some others are writing about this issue, too, though not quite with the same focus: http://novaviavitae.org/americans-more-worried-about-open-female-sexuality-at-vmas-than-consent/ .

  135. I think all the noise about this is ridiculous! I watched it with my 21 year old daughter, and we watched with our heads cocked. We compared it to watching “Honey BooBoo” Sure its mind rotting entertainment but its the VMAs. There goal is to shock. If anyone grew up watching MTV they should have know something slightly “perverse” would happen. Please change the channel if you offended. Or better yet be open about sex with your kids. If they grow up in a household that doesn’t think its taboo to talk about then they will get the right education.

  136. Charles Dunne says:

    Nail on the head, sir. Fathers to sons (or at least responsible male figure to younger male) all the way. My father (God rest him) told me that the world is full of assholes so you have to be one of the good guys, whatever it takes. Now that may sound macho but a gentler man you wouldn’t meet. No is always no because you have to own your actions every time, and the minute you stop owning your actions is when you CHOOSE to not be an adult. Anyway. Good message and on point. Thanks.

  137. Great points. May I also recommend having your sons watch Miss Representation.

  138. Amen! And thank you!

  139. Thank you so much for writing this! I remember when the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction happened, with all the hours of vicious commentary and withering criticism directed at her, I thought “Did everyone completely forget Nelly’s performance that preceded it?” It was filled with half-naked women gyrating on stage around him. My kids were little at the time and it was much harder to explain that to them than what happened with Ms. Jackson.

  140. The primary way you teach this to your children is to model it. See a strong, loving, kind and honoring approach to one’s wife (their mother) boys would never imagine misogynistic or violent behavior towards women being acceptable. Fewer lectures and complaints about culture, more counter-cultural living.

    • Chris Huston says:

      Bingo and amen, Dave. Treating women (or just people) with respect isn’t a conversation to have at some point. I don’t recall my parents ever sitting down and having many conversations of this kind with us boys — they didn’t have to. We saw how our dad behaved, the kinds of things he watched, the kinds of things he valued or deplored and why. Like even the best dads, my dad made a LOT of mistakes, but there was never a need for these kinds of conversations. My dad showed us how to treat others — man or woman.

  141. Christina says:

    I am so relieved to see someone out there finally say something like this. I thought I was the only one wondering why all the focus was on Miley Cyrus and none on Robin Thicke. I agree with your statements 100 percent. Thank you for posting this! And more so thank you for having this viewpoint!

  142. I am near the end of the “parenting stage” of two young men. I overheard my 19 year old say to another friend that one of their group, a guy, was just “giving himself away” by sleeping with girls. I don’t know where he learned this phrase, but I had never in my life heard it applied to a guy. What would change if guys treated their own sexuality as a precious thing?

  143. This is first an issue about self-respect, because you can’t respect others until you show regard for yourself. I am convinced more and more that there is something deeply wrong with human beings, especially the males. I don’t know what it is, but it goes far beyond insecurity or “mommy issues” or any of the other typical excuses given for their behavior. It is almost like a deficiency in the soul.

  144. Spot on Eric. It’s like so many of our other ‘elephants in the room’ (owned politicians, religious hypocrisy, general social apathy, ignorance by choice) it must be addressed, and you have done it eloquently.

  145. Great article! It is definitely a 2-sided issue. While I think that people should be able to act however they like, famous people need to remember how influential they are – especially to the younger generation. I would never want to be famous! It’s a minefield!

  146. I am probably repeating the same comment(s) here, but thank you, thank you, thank you for speaking to this – as a man and a brother. I sat with my son and read this post to him and after we had a great talk about it. I think it’s very important that he hear these views not just from the women in his life.
    Cheers to you,
    Robyn

  147. Throw out your TVs for one thing.

  148. I have many thoughts- first, part of the issue is that Miley WAS viewed as a good role model. I understand wanting to be viewed as an adult performer instead of an overgrown child star, but grinding like an amateur stripper is not the way to do it. Robin Thicke is by no means innocent, but Miley was over the top raunchy. (I am not setting a double standard- it was disrespectful on both sides).

    Second, society needs to try harder to keep our children innocent. Stop trying to push skimpy clothes, the word sexy, and adult themes on children. But before we blame today’s music, remember that bad lyrics are rampant, but not new. Look at “You Sexy Thing”, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”, etc. Even Elvis’ “one night with you” was originally “one night of sin”. I fear for the next generation when I see what is acceptable now.

    Last, these lessons start in the home. Talk to your kids about respecting others. Explain that love and sex are not to be thrown around. I have been telling both kids since they were 4-5 that no means no, not to let anyone make them uncomfortable, and to respect other people’s boundaries. I have told them that one day a boy (girl) might want to kiss them, and they should not give in just because “if you love me, you will”, because their friends think kissing is fun, or because it shows love. I’ve also told them not to pressure someone who isn’t ready into kissing them. My oldest is now 9, so I haven’t exactly switched the word “kiss” to “have sex”, but I want that concept drilled in so that when they hit the age, they already know.

  149. What is the message we are sending to young men by not talking to them about this at all? It would seem to imply that we think they are beyond help, ignorant or incompetent. I’d consider myself a feminist. I also love men and I am married to a wonderful one. Leaving men out of this discussion, not talking to boys about accountability seems much more “man hating” than much feminist ideology. Men/boys are every bit as smart as women/girl and therefore, just as competent and able to police their own behaviour and attitudes. Let’s teach our sons that.

  150. Great article – boys are under increasing pressure to be seen as tough, shredded, bronzed, cool and muscular to be accepted as a man by themselves and their peers. We work with adolescent boys unpacking these myths as well as present to them the covert (and overt) culture of advertising and media that disrespects women, sees them as sexualised objects and treats them as such. Our work talks about how media presents this intoxicating notion that women are “up for it!” “want it” and are “ready for it”. When we show them the images that clearly show women in positions of submission (and in some cases pretend death) they are revolted by how they are being tricked into thinking this is ok and even desired. Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke do nothing towards empowering men or women! Boys want to be so much more than this and are also angry that they are depicted in this way too. Teaching boys about respect comes also from offering them respect. Love your article – many thanks. You can check out our work if you are interested at http://www.odysseyprogram.com.au

  151. nothing on that stage was new to that industry. just like older people disapproving of such things is hardly unique. anyone who expected more from american pop culture is dillusional. plus any parent who would have a convo with there son, such as the one you purpose, is not letting there child watch that garbage anyway.

  152. You mention him gyrating with a woman “young enough to be his daughter”. She’s 20. He’s 36. He’s been with his wife since the year of Miley’s birth. I thought the article was about misogyny so not sure how the 16 year age gap is relevant since they’re both adults.
    Anyway, to the topic. I find some of the lyrics as blurred as the lines he sings about but that said, parents and perhaps schools need to discuss the issues you raise. It’s also time for girls to start respecting themselves and their bodies rather than emulating the way entertainers/celebrities cavort.
    Even Robin Thicke’s Mum is struggling with Miley’s performance but not her son’s so maybe it’s too late for their Mother/Son chat.

  153. It is a good response… And I totally agree to what the writer Eric says.. it starts at home. I used listen to all kinds of music when I was a kid. From good 50’s and 60’s soul music to B.I.G and R.Kelly’s ‘I’m Fucking You Tonight’
    (http://youtu.be/ziQkBYd19SI) and even more provocative songs. But I was taught by my parents to ALWAYS have respect… to anyone… male, female… old, young…. white, brown, black. Maybe it’s because my parents AND Holland is so multicultural… I don’t know. But if you respect everything… you automatically have respect for women. So.. in my eyes… each the song… is just a song… each game is just a game… and a movie is just a movie. And have you guys been hearing about the horrible rapes in India? How is that possible? Is it culture? Maybe. Is it a culture that is getting influences from the west? I don’t get it. I think it’s also within the person. How he or she experiences and interprets a song (movie or game). For instance… When I use to look at the 80’s tv show the A-Team. I just saw cool looking good guys beat the bad guys. I did not see: That is how i shoot a gun and beat people. Another kid might have seen… A bad guy holding a pretty girl hostage. It’s just the old story of Good vs.Evil. I see good, but some people see and or hear evil. It cannot be thought… but can be guided.

    So my opinion about Blurred Lines… I hear how Robin Thicke and his wife see it. If you see it otherwise.. it’s in your mind. And in case ‘Blurred Lines’ was the first song by Robin Thicke you ever heard. Here are some other good songs by him. Listen to the lyrics.
    Wanna Love You Girl: http://youtu.be/_VTY8ftr1vY (also with Pharell)
    Diamonds: http://youtu.be/DJsy2Qfpzh4
    Lost Without You: http://youtu.be/_dQ_dK49IoA (on Oprah)

  154. Apparently nobody on here has ever heard an interview with RT. He has been with the same woman since he was 14 years old and could not be a more humble guy. He was simply promoting his hit song. Do you actually think he chose that twit to share the stage with?I felt sorry for him. He looked miserable. The very idea that you would chose to single out this song with all the garbage that promotes rape,murder and racial division defies logic!The only thing I conclude from this is being a white,heterosexual makes one held to a much different standard.

    • um He did actually choose Miley Cyrus to perform with, she was the performer he chose out of a list of potential candidates.

      • I seriously doubt that you are in a position anymore than I am to know that, but if in fact that is a truism; Im sure it was because of her recent meteoric rise to fame or infamy depending on you POV. RT is a musician that realizes the importance of making hay while the sun shines. He has a blockbuster hit that will propel him to another level in the $$$ making side of his career.Anymore who is a fan of his music would have recognized his utter dismay at what she did to HIS moment.

  155. Angela Pope says:

    “as men, our value does not come from how much power we hold over women. Our value comes from being respected and being loved as we respect and love the people who matter to us.” What powerful line. I am so grateful to you for your post. I honestly did not watch the VMAs because I don’t have cable :) but the whole time I saw these pictures all I could think was “he’s old enough to be her father!” Thank you for shedding a respectful/responsible adult male opinion on this situation. You sound like a wonderful parent.

  156. Anthony Bronkema says:

    The most confusing part of this controversy is the fact that the young women around my office (mid- to late-twenties) absolutely LOVE the song. I can site several on my Facebook page that have literally said “I could spend all day listening to this song on repeat”.

    Cover it in Pop Culture and it’s okay, right?

  157. I love your perspective here. SOMEONE has got to talk about Thicke’s role in this. But, I can’t believe you would openly use the word ‘bs’ and a couple of others. Eph 4:29
    “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

  158. Cultural hatred and disrespect are taught at home, in religious institutions, schools and by ignorant louts.

  159. Just tellng it how it is says:

    I’m not defending RT’s actions either on stage or anything else he does for the mere fact that he’s married, but really “on stage with a girl who could’ve been his daughter”, what kind of pandering is this? Be honest, how many middle to upper class 36yr old men, have 20yr old daughters? This author lost serious credibility with that stupid remark. Secondly, the article then turns to power, sex, domestic violence, and rape…please tell me how RT has done any of that at the MTV VMA’s? Who is this author pandering to? Thirdly, we need to look at how things have changed over the last 20yrs or so…have men changed? How? , no seriously, how? I can’t think of how men have changed either. How have women changed? To sum it up they’ve become less lady like, they used to be the one’s bringing civility to sex, to being the controller of sex between them and their male counter parts, and yes I’m talking about consensual sex, not going doing the rabbit hole of the extremes right now b/c Miley Cyrus’ performance was not about rape, or violence, or non-consensual anything. What we need to talk to our boys about and what we men need to start doing is changing the way we think about women, this the author and I do agree about. We need to teach them how it used to be, that women use to act in a way that was respectable, and it was much easier to treat a women/girl like a lady when they acted like one. We seem to think it’s ok to tell black teenagers that if they dress and act like thugs, they’ll be treated like thugs, even the black leaders in this country have stated that…well in the absence of women looking and acting like well adjusted women, men need to not encourage that type of behavior, expect more from girls/women, and ignore them when they want to look and act like trash. No, mens view on sexuality hasn’t changed overtime but the view and actions of women certainly have and this author would like men to change based on women’s changing. And although the logic of “blaming” men as this author is trying to do is misguided at best, men need to take charge of their sexuality in ways they’ve never been more expected to in history b/c women have failed at this. Guys used to count on women to be the law when it came to sexual boundaries, to be ladies, or princesses, or respected forms of the female gender, this isn’t the case anymore. Men need to step up and not encourage this type of lewdness, this type of unladylike behavior…tell black male teenagers to stop looking and acting like thugs and they won’t be looked at or treated like thugs and that’s accepted but to tell a girl/woman to stop dressing acting like a ho/slut/cheap trick or you’ll be treated like one is sexist. This author is laughable and an opportunist with bad aim.

  160. Thanks for this article. Not exactly the same topic of VMAs but along the lines of male sexuality given attention and women’s sexuality ignored or condemned, I found this article in Huffington Post about “Cliteracy” fascinating. The female pleasure organ, the Cliterous was only discovered in 1998, and it is apparently larger unerect than the male unerect penis.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/28/cliteracy_n_3823983.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

  161. Just tellng it how it is says:

    Think of how powerful the message would’ve been to women everywhere if this man, this married man, RT, would’ve given MC a look of disgust and turned away from her as she was backing it up on him…Men need to teach their sons and each other that this type of behavior is not ladylike, is not appreciated, and is not the type of behavior they want in a woman. Want to talk about creating change gentlemen, this is how it’s done. Change needs to happen on both ends and as men, this is how we can help facilitate change. This of course goes hand in hand with teaching their sons about respecting women and your power comes from having strong values and demanding respectful behavior of girls who want your attention and not in the strength you may or may not have over them (ever been to a crossfit gym?)

  162. Anthony brings up a good point. I don’t disagree that to a great extent the Internet angst over Miley’s performace is focusing on the side show, not the center ring. I applaud you for what you’re trying to do but you’re going to find it very difficult to overcome the “teachable moments” that young women are going to be giving your sons every day. Somebody somewhere made this anthem to feral female sexuality a hit song, and it wasn’t just men. Go to a club sometime when this song is played and you’ll see the girls on the dance florring ‘twerking’ like Miley to “I know you want it” and screaming along with “You’re the hottest b**** in this place”. All parents are gonig to face an uphill battle to raise sexually responsible adults of both sexes until we start addressing the life plan that popular culture is presenting as the way for girls to grow up.

  163. As a teacher of teenagers, and the mother of a young son, this is an issue I’ve done some thinking about. I frequently hear from the parents of my students that they worry about their daughters in a way that they don’t have to worry about their sons. That attitude seems to ignore the fact that the way we talk to (or fail to talk to) boys not only encourages them to harm or ignore harm being done to women, it also harms them. We do boys a great disservice when we act as though they are aggressive, powerless to resist in the face of sex and that they want everything that happens to them. Boys need role models to talk to them about loving and respectful relationships, romantic and otherwise. Thanks for the reeminder.

  164. Reblogged this on My Random Ruminations. and commented:
    This…

  165. Amen, brother. I quit listening or paying attention to American pop probably before sixth grade, so I’ve been a little out of the loop (believe it or not, I heard about the Egypt/Syria crisis a solid 12 hours before the Miley/Thicke controversy). All this culture does is condone the oppression of women to the point where they lose their self worth and men value them even less. We’re all equal and need to act and treat each other as such.

  166. myrtlebeachgirl1975 says:

    I love that parents and decent people are speaking to the root of the problem of objectified sexuality. It DOES start at home. Unfortunately, young men either get a bad example from their fathers (like Robin Thicke is giving to HIS children), or they hear nothing at all about treating women with respect. It takes actually being intentional about it with our sons, not just hoping they pick it up somewhere. When it comes to coincidentally growing to view women as respectable human beings, Hollywood has assured the odds are definitely not in their favor! Anyhow, thank you for speaking to this. Here is another excellent blog post along the lines of yours (since you have not seen too many others.)

    http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/08/28/dear-son-dont-let-robin-thicke-be-a-lesson-to-you/

  167. This is so good. Thank you SO MUCH for saying this.

  168. Thicke is in a long line of male artists that do the same stuff. Nothing new that Christian parents should have to know to tell or warn their kids about. I laughed at the title of the article because its cheesy.

  169. Thanks for pointing out another point of view. However, (and I need to point out that I am a woman, formally married to an misogynist, and a mother to two boys 21, and 25) I think that the biggest focus is on Miley because frankly she looked like she was having a great time, while Robin looked horribly uncomfortable, as if what was going on was not what he expected, and he was trying to keep up the performance while trying to be ready for whatever she was going to pull next. Did anyone else notice that the poor guy had to put his hand in his pocket after she made physical contact with him? Thats unfair. People bodies are programed to work a certain way even if their mind disagrees. As a mother, I worked very hard to make sure my boys were not like their father. And their not. Unfortunately, I believe that mothers of my generation, who had girls instead of boys, made sure that their daughters were not like them, and not so dependent on men. My boys, both very good looking, smart, and educated,,,(girls “hit on them” all the time) have had a hard time dating seriously. Most girls are overly sexualized, equate feminism and independence to bed hopping, lack of self respect, partying, and lack of commitment.. I also find it interesting that many of the lines in Robins song are ignored, for the more Headline Attention grabbing ones… what about lines like “I always wanted a good girll”, “your far from plastic”, and in the third verse, he swears hes a nice guy but she wont “pick him”. And thats the point of the song, hes a player, but shes tempting him to be good. And instead of having a Madonna Complex, hes all confused and tied up in knots because he wants to sleep with a “good girl” .Good girls are a dying breed, and are more attractive to even a pick up artist like that character hes portraying in the song, that has had plenty of women. Shes lightly flirting with him but he cant get anywhere with her, so shes going to “win” and probably domesticate him.

    • Halleluiah….someone that actually listened to the words. The very idea that THIS song and aritist would be turned into a poster boy for all that s wrong in the world is utterly ridiculous. It’s content is that of a Bible verse in comparison to the everyday degradation of woman and racial hatred that is perpetrated, condoned and profited from by so many others in the “entertainment” industry. As far as MC, she’s just a perfect example of our Kardashian society. Sadly, she and all the other women like her will prevent any hope we have of eradicating the glass ceiling. WOMEN are doing it to
      themselves:( One is only demeaned or defined by another if they allow it.Thats why its called SELF respect.

  170. You put into words what I’ve been trying to explain to people for a few days now! Thank you so much for this! I agree that we focus too much on women and their sexuality and we need to be looking at this issue from both sides, not just the one. Otherwise it is just such a double standard! Thanks again!

  171. My father served in WWII. He came to his marriage bed a virgin,even though prostitutes were readily available and most men did not. My mother did too, which was expected. They did this because of the respect they had for each other.

  172. You must be whipped like a little dog, whipped directly into shape. Good boy.

  173. It’s not just men. It is women, also. I call myself a feminist and want to see women treated respectfully and kindly. But even as I do so, my first knee jerk reaction was, “Can’t these women stop having sex on stage? They can be so much more than that!” and yet, it IS the responsibility of men as well to learn and teach others to treat women respectfully. Women are as much at fault in spreading the erroneous attitude of “men will be men” and “women and girls are always to be trashed.”

    We are all responsible for making or breaking our societal habits, norms, and morals. We all need to pony up on the respectful outlook.

  174. Stephanie Lund says:

    Thank you for this, Eric!

  175. Thank you for this article, Eric. I will definitely share it on my Facebook page. I was totally disgusted by Thicke’s and Cyrus’ performance, but to be honest I was focusing on her since I don’t know him that much. But truly, our males need to be educated in how to respect themselves first and then others. Our culture really allows men to get away with some things that women are cussed out for, and that’s not right.

  176. Thank you.

  177. Reblogged this on OzMumSpeak and commented:
    Great Post – raising the question – Isn’t it time we started talking to our sons about this too? Change starts here…

  178. Maddy Mud says:

    I didn’t know Pastor’s could say “bullshit” in public. I have to update my Pastor etiquette book. I thought only war chaplains could mutter this under their breath.

  179. It’s a song. It was a performance at a award show for music. If you don’t want your children to be affected – don’t let them watch it. if they’re old enough to watch it themselves – then it’s too late to give them guidance on how to interpret it.

    what shocks me – is the never ending ability for people to be shocked. this has been going on since the beginning of time. (or at least since the 60’s). Who care’s if you’re offended? Being offended doesn’t do anyone any harm. it doesn’t reflect on women, and men – it reflects on the performers. they are both adults and they chose willingly to perform – and you chose willingly to watch. Miley Cyrus isn’t some abused, exploited woman – she’s an award winning multi millionaire. Same goes for Robin Thicke.

    A greater majority of men at some point, or on an ongoing basis look at pornography. does it mean that the majority of men mistreat, abuse or objectify women – no, of course not. that is ridiculous. grow up you puritans, sexual attraction is a normal human emotion. acting it out in a performance on stage is not a new concept and has no dark and devious implications.

  180. ….this article takes too little into account to make it’s point. for example “Girls who dress to be ogled are hoes”, yet the smiling fat guy in a thong at the beach is “creepy”

    Men… do the picking up. they’re expected too. In most cases, a “Housewife” Male is considered a lesser citizen.

    or then there’s the age-old phrase “Don’t hit girls”.

    …Many people talk about It being the “Woman’s right” to not keep a child. This removes men and their opinions from the equation entirely.

    then of course there’s Men requesting Alimony after divorce, or walking away with the house, the kids, etc. Gotta be really rich to shut women out then.

    …the problem of teaching people how to act goes way beyond Miley’s performance. Take most romantic comedies where the lead female ends the relationship because the guy has one habit remaining from his childhood, yet the female has stuffed animals and the color pink all over the place “specifically to irritate her love”.

    Or then, there’s every Ben Stiller movie ever made.

    ..sexism is everywhere. When preaching Men should respect women more, Don’t forget to preach that women should respect men more as well, for there’s areas where men are limited as well.

  181. Ken Conrad says:

    People are being desensitized to the intimate nature of sex and the sanctity of marriage. There is an ever-increasing trend to focus on and pervert of the sexual act, which is destructive to mind and body and detracts from a meaningful, respectful, and compassionate relationship.

    Christ words “to love one another” couldn’t be more relevant at this time. We all need to keep cool heads, reflect on our “raisons d’être”, and come to grips with a number of obscuring popular illusions that mislead and deceive. History does not speak kindly of societies that embraced a relaxed moral attitude toward sexual perversion.

    Ken

  182. Great article! So much about this culture irritates me, particularly the context behind what men believe “blurred lines” to be. The way I see it, yes maybe a girl does technically want a guy right in that moment, but the blurred line isn’t that she’s trying to be a “good girl” so to speak. It’s that she has the foresight to know she’s going to feel like crap about it later when she realizes that she actually meant nothing and the guy that thought she was so sexy two nights ago could care less about her now. The crash is never worth the high and even drunk in a club, most of us can process that. Is the guy going to be the one feeling empty and used? Doubtful. Because the culture tells them that what they are doing is not just OK, it’s expected.

    It’s sad that in our culture a guy cheats or uses women and it’s “well boys will be boys”. Well when are “boys” going to realize that maybe accepting themselves as animalistic isn’t setting the bar very high? Shouldn’t “boys will be boys” mean something more along the lines of boys will be respectful and for that matter, respectable? Shouldn’t we be working to make this the norm instead?

    And to touch on a point you made briefly, Eric, all of the attention is on Miley. What about the people who choreographed it? Who set the lights? Who staged the sound systems? Who pushed the “OK” button on this? Did none of them have any responsibility to say “Wow, this is disgusting?” Of course not, because MTV is doing what MTV does best. Encouraging a society where shock value has a way higher premium than provoking human decency.

  183. I appreciate this article, I did go watch the performance after all of the hoopla, and it crossed my mind that Miley was certainly not alone up there. As a mom of sons, and daughters, my spouse and I always made sure to give them the same messages about love and respect, and personal responsibility, because you are right. Society at large “winks” at men/boys sexual antics, and judges girls/women. At times we were very unpopular as a result of our morals, and the expectations we had, but they are all grown up, raising families and generally contributing in a positive way to the world around them.

    Thanks for speaking out!

    • You’re very welcome! And thank you for setting a good example. Parents are easily the best teachers. Thanks for stepping up to that plate.

  184. I’m a little concerned that we always speak of the disrespect that men show to women, as if it were a foregone conclusion either that women treat men rightly or that it is at any rate a non-concern. This one-sidedness seems to be characteristic of traditional culture as well as feminist culture. In some, though not all, respects I think it is actually considered generally more acceptable for a woman to mistreat a man than vice-versa. In the way feminism addresses this part of the equation I think it takes its view more from patriarchy than from new ground it has discovered on its own. Anyhow, given that there are cultural problems in the way that men treat women, particularly where some disturbing views vis-a-vis sexuality come into play, I’m glad the author addresses these issues, and I particularly liked his speaking of the foundation we use for self-valuation. I think this is an important point so I have one quibble here: if one’s self-worth is founded on the love and respect that others show him or her, and the love and respect she or he shows others… what is one to do when he is not loved or respected by others, or she is not able for various reasons to show that love or respect herself, perhaps due to her background? This is an inherently insecure basis for one’s sense of value because it is contingent on circumstance; it is value only to those favored by fortune. I think a challenge of our post-Christian age is finding secure, reliable ground on which to base our sense of value. Yet I can certainly agree the other has pointed out a better grounding than domination (which incidentally also implies a responsibility on the part of others not to evaluate a man based on his dominance). Finally, I personally was much more critical of Robin Thicke than Miley Cyrus. The latter I saw as young, misguided, under tremendous pressure especially for her age, and therefore more to be pitied than judged; the former I saw as an adult man experienced in the industry who really should have known better. It was really gross to see him grinding against Miley’s rear end. I do hope this raunch culture finds its way out the door some time soon.

  185. Reblogged this on songs of courage and commented:
    “There’s nothing blurry about Robin Thicke’s role in the VMA debacle. Even though he’s come out and defended his song, going so far as to call it a “feminist movement,” it’s pretty plain to see that’s far from the case.”

  186. (Second comment — sorry — the first one didn’t go through and it had typographical errors anyway. This is the corrected copy. Can the author delete the first? — Thanks.) I’m a little concerned that we always speak of the disrespect that men show to women, as if it were a foregone conclusion either that women treat men rightly or that it is at any rate a non-concern. This one-sidedness seems to be characteristic of traditional culture as well as feminist culture. In some, though not all, respects I think it is actually considered generally more acceptable for a woman to mistreat a man than vice-versa. In the way feminism addresses this part of the equation I think it takes its view more from patriarchy than from new ground it has discovered on its own. Anyhow, given that there are cultural problems in the way that men treat women, particularly where some disturbing views vis-a-vis sexuality come into play, I’m glad the author addresses these issues, and I particularly liked his speaking of the foundation we use for self-valuation. I think this is an important point so I have one quibble here: if one’s self-worth is founded on the love and respect that others show him or her, and the love and respect she or he shows others… what is one to do when he is not loved or respected by others, or she is not able for various reasons to show that love or respect herself, perhaps due to her background? This is an inherently insecure basis for one’s sense of value because it is contingent on circumstance; it comes to the aid only to those favored by fortune. I think a challenge of our post-Christian age is finding a secure, reliable ground on which to base our sense of value. Yet I can certainly agree the author has pointed out a better grounding than domination (which incidentally also implies a responsibility on the part of others not to evaluate a man based on his dominance). Finally, I personally was much more critical of Robin Thicke than Miley Cyrus. The latter I saw as young, misguided, under tremendous pressure especially for her age, and therefore more to be pitied than judged; the former I saw as an adult man experienced in the industry who really should have known better. It was really gross to see him grinding against Miley’s rear end. I do hope this raunch culture finds its way out the door some time soon.

  187. I had a problem with Blurred Lines from the first time I heard the song on the radio. The strange thing here is, Robin Thicke’s father, Alan, starred in a show called Growing Pains in the 80s/90s. There was an episode where his TV son defended his sister’s honor against a boy whose message was that she was a GOOD GIRL who had crossed a BLURRED LINE behind closed doors with him. Alan’s character’s response to his son was “congratulations and thank you for standing up for your sister against such a punk”. Now, it turns out, Alan’s REAL son is the punk.

  188. Reblogged this on The Musings of a Grad Student and commented:
    Thank you, sir.

  189. This is about the dumbest thing I have read. It’s so ridiculous that its comical. If there was a point to this article it was lost by referring to Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus! Seriously it’s the VMAs.

  190. If I were Robin Thicke, I have to be honest, I would sue you into the poorhouse. Say the song and video are degrading, say they objectify women, those are defensible and probably true. But “trivializes consent?” Way too far. People are not going to take “rape education” seriously when something like “Blurred Lines” gets lumped in with actual rape. That makes it really easy for someone to dismiss you as someone who thinks all heterosexual sex is rape. You’re doing more harm than good.

    • What would you define as “actual” rape? I’m curious.

      Because to me, lyrics telling the female subject that a male speaker knows more about what she’s willing to consent to than SHE does herself? That contributes to rape culture much more than you might be willing to notice.

      Yes, Robin Thicke is not directly advocating that men go out and physically assault women, but I can easily see a man using that same train of logic to ignore a woman who’s rejecting his advances, all because he’s seeing what he wants to see and has decided that she must be playing coy. I’ve been on the other side of that and let me tell you, it’s not fun.

      • Well, the woman in question is apparently “talking about getting blasted” and “grabbing” the narrator in a way we can assume is more than friendly. So it seem the narrator is getting, at best, mixed signals. Or perhaps I’m analyzing the lyrics of a pop song that was recorded in about an hour too deeply.

  191. parents of sons do need to have “the talk.” as a single mother who raised THREE SONS alone without any male mentors around, it was my job to have the talk with them about respecting women. my father had passed away but he is the bar that i measure men on and i wanted my sons to be the type of man that their grandfather was.
    our “talk” was initiated when i heard one of my sons commenting to his brother about some girl. so i responded with, “you know, some man said that about me.” my sons became furious! “WHAT!!! you’re our mom! no guy should talk to you like that! who was he?” i smiled at how incensed they were and said, “well, that girl is someone’s daughter and maybe someone’s sister. so what do you think about that?”
    i agree that this is every parent’s responsibility to have open dialogue about these topics whether you have sons or daughters. i have three very respectful young adult men to prove it

  192. In Robin Thicke’s defense. In the days following the awards he and his crew expressed how upsetting the performance was to him and how uncomfortable he was…..he said what Miley did live is not what they had practiced beforehand and when I watched the performance I saw him just standing and singing in order to get through the song. He showed very little interest in interacting with Miley while she behaved with such vulgarity.

  193. Eric, thank you for writing your post. It about time that we start looking at the whole situation and making everyone accountable for their actions. Thank you, thank you for starting a great conversation!

  194. Eric, a friend sent your post this morning after my heated rant about how nobody was talking about Robin Thicke’s part in the situation or how people seem to look over the fact that they had taken an innocent, comfort thing for children (the teddy bears) and sexualized it. I currently work with girls who have been sexually exploited or trafficked, so this definitely provoked a lot of discussion in group and brought to the surface some of their distorted views of how men view women. I look forward to sharing you post with them this week, as well as sharing it with the women I work with. Thank you!

  195. Reblogged this on Thompson's Top Tips and commented:
    People who were outraged about Mylie conveniently forgot to be as offended when the original video was released. We can’t pick and choose just because it’s a catchy tune.
    Mr Clapp makes a very good point, that we all have to be respectful. Women shouldn’t have to follow strict rules that are imposed whilst men do nothing to change their own behaviour.

  196. Thank you for this! I agree and feel very saddened about the whole situation.

  197. absolutely must include our sons as we explain to our girls how they should “expect” to be treated…with dignity and respect.

  198. Jim Bumgarner says:

    I am 67 years of age. When I was a young kid, my dad sat me down one day and taught me the value of respect for women. “Your mom came as close to death as anyone ever has when she gave birth to you, and all women deserve the same respect she does for it, for that is something sacred. Men should always love women, and hold them dear. If you do, then it will be returned to you many times over.” He was right.

  199. Thank you Eric for addressing this side of this delicate debate. No doubt we as a society need to stop focusing on how to ‘prepare’ our girls/women for sexual violence/harassment/judgement and shift our priority to educating our young boys on the difference between acceptable and inappropriate behavior on THEIR PART. It is absolutely infuriating to me that the myth is consistently perpetuated that a woman is at fault in these matters and that the young men of this society have no expectation of accountability. THIS HAS TO STOP!

  200. Bill Cravens says:

    Yes, the current state of the situation is tragic. I have three daughters, and I pray daily that the Lord will keep them safe. But there are (as is so often the case) two ways of approaching this problem.

    One is to try to make the situation “fair” by extending to women and girls the same ‘freedom’ to act irresponsibly that we seem so willing to extend to boys and young men. (For that matter, a lot of old men seem to get a pass for their behavior, even though they add to their sins the additional perversion of not acting their age.) The trouble with this is that it clearly, obviously, makes the overall situation worse, not better.

    The other approach would be to try to call boys and men to right conduct. The (overwhelming, all-but-insurmountable) problem with this is that it would amount to call the nation to “repentance” and a return to traditional Christian values. To even suggest or imply this, let alone openly recommend it, would bring howls of rage and indignation from the secular / liberal / Left.

    This is the characteristic of the “modern difficulty” for which there seems to be no solution. We all seem to want to keep certain cherished bits, pieces and fragments of the traditional Christian outlook (respect for others, compassion toward the poor and disadvantaged, men showing respect toward women, people caring about the well-being of children, etc, etc. But that traditional Judeo-Christian and American worldview always told us something else that we didn’t want to hear. That sex should be saved for marriage. That wives should submit to their husband’s leadership of the family. That divorce is an abomination in the sight of God. That those who are able-bodied should work for their living, so that public assistance (“welfare”) can be reserved for the genuinely needy.

    Try to promote this, and the media and Hollywood and the political Left will denounce you in every public forum in the nation. Even many conservatives will condemn you, rather than accept what they too would view as “religious fanaticism”. What is happening will continue, because the only way to stop it would require a real repentance and revival throughout the nation. God can, of course, do anything but, in this case, only if we let Him. And we seem very disinclined to do so.

  201. An audience’s reaction to an actor–good or bad–is like gasoline to a fire. Squeaky wheeled public rants fan the flames of interest, pushing ratings and advertising dollars up, keeping networks interested in bringing the next Hollywood “scandal” into your home. Our arguments equivant to “aw…he said a bad word…” and going public with it share some responsibility in ensuring the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake and Madonna/Brittney Spears “scandals” continue. I don’t believe taking away a woman’s right to dance how she wants will likely increase the respect given to her. Playing the part of the moral police isn’t cool when it attempts Hollywood stars’ American freedom and right to look like idiots. If we want them to feel embarassment and shame for their actions, then let us ignore it completely and oass it off as rubbish. Networks don’t invest in shows ignored by the public. Actors seeking attention will change their strategy if we don’t give them the attention–good or bad–that they are craving.

  202. An audience’s reaction to an actor–good or bad–is like gasoline to a fire. Squeaky wheeled public rants fan the flames of interest, pushing ratings and advertising dollars up, keeping networks interested in bringing the next Hollywood “scandal” into your home. Our arguments equivant to “aw…he said a bad word…” and going public with it share some responsibility in ensuring the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake and Madonna/Brittney Spears “scandals” continue. I don’t believe taking away a woman’s right to dance how she wants will likely increase the respect given to her. Playing the part of the moral police isn’t cool when it attacks Hollywood stars’ American freedom and right to look like idiots. If we want them to feel embarassment and shame for their actions, then let us ignore it completely and pass it off as rubbish. Networks don’t invest in shows ignored by the public. Actors seeking attention will change their strategy if we don’t give them the attention–good or bad–that they are craving.

  203. Baby Magz says:

    Thank you so much for writing this piece, Eric. As a 16-year-old female, this is all the talk among my peers. Sadly, none of them stopped to look at both sides of the VMA performance. Even the girls were quick to attack Miley without throwing a second thought to Robin Thicke’s part in it. Like you said, it’s a definitely a fault in our culture. Anyways, I really appreciate you speaking your opinion on this matter!

  204. Great article, Eric. I’m truly impressed with your attitude, very insightful, keep it up, you keep my faith in men restored!

  205. Thicke’s song isn’t good, and the video to it is horrible. Who in their right mind thinks “Oh, I love and respect women so much, so I’m going to make a video with every demeaning and degrading thing I can think of happening to women in it”? It’s like saying how much you love animals and then making a video of you slitting a puppy’s throat.

  206. I’m one of the lucky ones, I haven’t seen or heard the performance, and have no desire to do so. But your points stand well on their own, even absent such televised trash. Well done sir.

  207. rachel kelly says:

    THANK YOU!!! I am so sick of hearing denouncement of improper formal behavior while everyone laughs or looks the other way when a guy does something inexcusable! Unacceptable behavior is unacceptable behavior. Deal with it accordingly! I hate double standards…girls are strictly governed while boys will be boys….that’s a huge problem that is still present today. It needs to be fixed.

  208. notoverthinkingit says:

    Good to know that this complete nonevent of an issue is being turned into a weapon for both women’s and men’s rights activists, instead of being taken for what it actually is: nothing at all.
    Before chastising either party involved, please take into account both of their positions and realize that this was done for nothing more than money. Whatever sells, right? Unless anyone here personally knows Robin, Miley, or any of their respective cohorts, I would say guessing motives and focusing blame is rather masturbatory. I’m not defending any of the parties involved, just willing to take a step back to see how little this matters in the larger scheme of things.

    Sincerely,
    That guy

  209. Thanks for owning that society distinguishes between male and female sexuality (often licensing men and restricting/shaming women).
    While a lot of folks have been “tired of this issue,” it’s apparently worth discussing – NOT because we should be focused on celebrities, but because (as art often does), this performance acted as a mirror for our values, tendencies, and assumptions. To shove them under the rug under the pretense of being above pop-culture triviality would be a loss. So – Thank you.

    I’ve also been troubled by the dehumanizing effect of assuming that Miley Cyrus is “lost,” “degraded,” or “a poor thing who needs self esteem” – based on the fact that she was so overtly sexual.
    Here’s to combatting our condescension: “Dear Parents. Stop Saying Miley Was Degrading Herself.” — http://tashagolden.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/dear-parents-stop-saying-miley-was-degrading-herself/

  210. Thank you for this. Even though I don’t have sons (or daughters), this will help me when speaking to my students. The negative emphasis placed on Miley as opposed to Robin takes me back to the Jackson / Timberlake Super Bowl half-time show. Even if what happened was 100% premeditated, the lasting image is of a (White) dude ripping the top of a (Black) woman exposing her breast and it is she who has to go on national TV and apologize for it happening to HER. Progress is slow.

  211. That is part of the conversation I had with my 14 year old daughter yesterday. Thanks for saying it so eloquently.

  212. Jake Rabas says:

    Guess I’m just not sure what all the hullabaloo is about. I didn’t really see Cyrus’s performance as her objectifying herself. See seemed pretty in control of what was happening on stage. The whole thing was less sexual than it was just disturbing and weird, clearly designed to provoke. I don’t think I would talk TO my daughter (or son if I had one) about the performance at all. I would ask questions and see what their evaluation of the performance was. If they said something like, “It was awesome!” then I would ask why and try to explain why I thought it was bad and if s/he had thought of the ideas I would bring up. If my son demonstrated good values and a well-thought out response, then great. These “teach your sons about respecting women” ideas are great, but parents are not just pedagogues, they are (should be) living examples of the values we want to impart in our children. It seems that having a conversation about this without respecting the agency of a son/daughter strike me as contrived and sort of “blaming” them for something they did not create. The idea that we need to beat boys over the head with gender guilt seems well-meaning but ultimately wrong-headed.

  213. Thank you, very much, for your candid and balanced blog post! A friend posted it on Facebook, and I have reposted. I have 2 daughters and a son, and it is disconcerting for me to see people they have watched, growing up, turn into less than good role models. I hold out hope, each time we see a youngster in a movie or show we like, that that person will grow up to hold some sort of moral values. It’s so rare that they do. :(

  214. MBrewster says:

    eric, I am going to be a critical voice here. Critical, but respectful.

    First; you have written a shallow blog entry. I’m sorry; but it is.

    It could have been written forty years ago.

    Whether you mean to or not, you quickly leave the blame on the shoulders of many men who would never think to harm any woman in their life. To solve this problem, you and the women who rightfully applaud your entry, need to discover a lot more about the whole problem than just its moral component: Violence is bad. Love is good.

    The problem is a whole lot more complicated than you seem to think it is. Men are not cartoon monsters any more than women are cartoon barbie dolls. Any short blog entry that reduces us to these stereotypes is doomed to fail, and fail harmfully.

    Where does the problem start? I’d be willing to bet that not one woman in this thread or in your Church, has any idea of how the men in their lives were raised as boys. Most of us were abused, almost casually, and in ways that no modern parent would ever allow their daughters to be treated. Physical and emotional abuse of boys in our homes, neighborhoods and schools is rampant, unchecked, and institutionalized.

    Medical studies show the price we pay personally as men, and as a culture: Boys who are physically abused grow up behaving like they were abused. They are defensive, easy to anger and very frustrated, and it doesn’t go away. Up until the age of 12 or 13; a sizable fraction of all molestation cases are MALE (some sources say half of all sexual molestation cases), and nobody in the secular press talks about it. Is there help for those boys?

    This culturally-accepted male abuse matters, because in my opinion, this is where most cases of sexual abuse and rape come from. Frustrated, defensive, rattled men can do terrible things to each other without thinking. They can also do terrible things to the women in their lives, too. As a start; let’s remove the physical and emotional abuse that boys suffer.

    When you stop treating over half your male children and teenagers like hoodlums, you’ll see a lot more sane relationships develop between young men and women — and your sexual abuse statistics will first become manageable; then will shrink to nothing. This won’t happen if you just mean well and attract a group of people who love you because you mean well. It will only happen if you understand the whole problem precisely and in detail, and then DO SOMETHING about it.

  215. Reading through these comments, I understand that clearly, I am not as intelligent as your other readers. I just couldn’t get past the line where you write that Robin Thicke could be the father of Miley Cyrus. He’s 37 and she’s 20…so technically, sure, I guess, if he was having sex at 16 or early at 17…like I wrote, I just couldn’t get past that…where do you even live that it would cross your mind that that’s a normal generational age difference?

    • Martha, my father is 17 years older than I am. My mother (who was 18 when I was born) got pregnant at age 17 when they both were in high school. There are many teen girls who are pregnant by their teenage boyfriends in high school even in this day and age, and I live in California. According to the CDC, over 60 of every 1,000 infants born in the United States in 2011 were born to mothers aged 15 to 19 — and most of the fathers are within a one year age difference from the mothers. It is estimated that one out of every fifteen American males will father a child while in his teens. If the idea of Robin Thicke being old enough to be Miley Cyrus’s father is a concept you can’t imagine, look at it this way — he was the same age as most seniors in high school when she was a newborn. When she was 10 years old, he was 27. Any way you look at it, Thicke is much older and presumably much wiser than Cyrus,

      • Martha french says:

        Apparently, I am not the only person reading this who thought the same thing. From earlier posts: “You mention him gyrating with a woman “young enough to be his daughter”. She’s 20. He’s 36. He’s been with his wife since the year of Miley’s birth. I thought the article was about misogyny so not sure how the 16 year age gap is relevant since they’re both adults.” and “I would also like to point out that Robin Thicke is 36, and Miley Cyrus is 20. She is not “young enough to be his daughter”, although he is technically old enough to be her father, though maybe not at an appropriate age. That kind of wording, infantalizing Miley instead of aging Robin, is one of the reasons for so much unbalanced public outcry against her. She has just recently aged out of the Disney club, but she’s been contracted to convince the world that she’s a 13-year-old for years. The public is unable to see her as an adult, and it looks to them like she “grew up” overnight because she’s spent the last six or seven years wrapping her breasts and pretending to be frozen in middle school. The discomfort of everyone is not based on her dress, her “twerking”, or her new image, or her references to partying and drug use…if it were Katy Perry or some other established adult performer, nobody would have been upset. But since it was “Hannah Montana”, and we can no longer control how she presents herself to our daughters, and we still think she’s a preteen, we panic.

        and “Glad I’m not the only one who caught that! It’s a stretch, at best, to say that Miley is young enough to be Robin’s daughter. And very good point abot her being infantalised in the eyes of the collective media.”

        AND “Alyssa, great comments. The culture’s desire for this kind of power over our pre-teen celebrities as they turn into adult woman is a very subtle type of misogyny. The sex-negative shaming really turns my stomach. More than any “raunchy” dance moves.”

  216. This is interesting. I have a 12 year old son and 9 year old daughter. My son said he thinks Robin Thicke is stupid and disgusting. :)

  217. “We need to call bullshit on attempts to end domestic violence and misogyny towards women by only talking to our daughters. ”

    We also need to call bullshit on attempts to end domestic violence and sexism by acting like it only happens to women. As such, we should talk to our boys and girls about how they can not just be the cause, but that they can also be the victims.

  218. Reblogged this on The Social Intern and commented:
    Thank you for putting into words what I have struggled with explaining myself.

  219. Nope, disagree.

  220. Boys need to be held accountable. I volunteer at a local high school, in a class for girls who are pregnant or already mothers. They chatter about their baby daddys — and many of them SHARE the same baby daddy. The daddies are out in the population, doing their thing, while the girls end up, one by one, in the “mommy” classroom, in the mommy life.

  221. Thank you for writing this article. I’ve heard through Facebook the talk about Ms. Cyrus but quite honestly hadn’t seen it until now. And I actually had to look up the word twerking, as I had no idea what it even meant. (I have not been living under a rock) I just monitor what I expose myself to I suppose! I agree that boys need to be taught from a very early age that women / girls are not an object. As a mother of 4, (2 boys & 2 girls) our children were all taught that we respect one another.
    I have to say that I’m very proud that all 4 have turned into wonderful loving adults. When my youngest son was in high school a girlfriend broke up with him due to the fact that he wanted to save sex for marriage. He was laughed at, but he knew he was doing the right thing, it was his choice. This has to go both ways, young girls who flaunt themselves as in the video need to learn this is not okay.
    Our society still seems to tell boys “to score” when they go out on a date, but tells the girls to be good girls. It’s crazy and mixed up. Bottom line is this, it starts in the home when they are young, they learn from conversations and what they view on TV, media. Let them see it and let them know why it’s wrong. Just my humble opinion…

  222. Certainly the lyrics (uncut) to this song are obscene. I wish I hadn’t fallen in love with the catchy beat before I looked up the words. As a mother of only boys, I’ve already discussed this with one boy; the song is fun to listen to, the words are not nice.
    In all fairness to Robin Thicke; while he performed with Cyrus at the VMA, he pretty much stood still as she did her thing. Why do you describe him as thrusting his hips? Why he may have culpability here, his own physical actions on stage were not the inappropriate ones. Did he know exactly what would transpire? That is for another discussion.

  223. I love this post so much. I have to admit, I watched the performance and I was so wrapped up in what Miley Cyrus was doing that I somehow managed to completely block out the fact that Robin Thicke was also a part of this.
    Thank you for writing this, simply because what you said was true. Aside from teaching young ladies about their sexuality, we also have to focus on the young gentlemen.
    I’ll make sure to talk to my son as well as my daughter about this (should I be blessed with having a child in the not so near future!)

    • Miley simulates masturbation on stage and rubs her parts against Thicke. I just don’t see why anybody would focus on Thickes stage performance other than the lyrics. The whole song is about the blurred lines of treating one as an individual and if they are good girl or a bad girl. We always tailor are treatment of others to how we perceive they wish to be treated. No matter what anybody says about how we treat women this will be an issue because not all women wish to be treated the same. People seem to focus on the conduct of men as one avenue of sociological change but people also seem to be missing that there is a commensurate attempt to change what women expect and want in the way of how they are treated. This is both good and bad. Yet, interacting with people is not a one size fits all endeavor. Just as there is weed at the end of the song to loosen the lady up and make the line less blurred I’ve had women give me drinks to loosen me up. Nobody would ever care about that but with this song everybody looses their mind.

  224. Seriously, men are naturally made to notice nice curves, just as much as women ogle a mans big arms or ripped chest. Im tired of seeing this feminist bullsh!t demonizing all men, because some sh!tty song maker has some sh!tty song on some show you shouldnt give two fucks about. You are all ignoring the big things going on in this world today. You are all hypnotized by that mind rotting box, watching whatever dribble spews out. Listening to the 6 companies that own all the media in the USA, acting like this is normal mens fault while Viacom pushes this sh!t onto your tvs.

  225. This by far is the most thought provoking and informative articles that I have read all year.
    Additionally the address to maintain accountability for fathers interaction with their sons sexual perceptions is overlooked and you tackle it directly.
    -A spot on delivery.
    There is a program that is ran at various schools in Pennsylvania called “Founding Fatherz” and the mentors actually hold conversations with young males that have missing fathers that address issues that you discussed.
    Job well done. Below is an actual session where students talkabout females of the R. Thicke acceptance..

  226. Until recently, I had no idea who Cyrus or Thicke were, but thanks (?) to social networking, even my willfully aggressive avoidance of corpo-pop-culture rubbish fails to protect me from exposure. I only read this article because of the subject – talking to sons – and want to say thanks for raising it. As you say, we don’t talk about this side of our mysogynistic cultural dysfunctions with anything near enough to reasonable frequency.

    Just one flaw – that (presumably stock) picture you chose to accompany the article is terrible. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one is saying all the wrong words, and in my view, visually contradicting the spirit of the piece. Mom in background with arms crossed, suggesting that she’s forcing dad into this talk ; son looking forlorn, as if he’s being shamed and punished for scratching the car; dad looking like he’d rather be golfing than dealing with this and counting out his son’s sins on his fingers in a shaming manner. The whole image, I think, sends a message that talking to your son will be an shame-producing, exceptional ritual that will leave the whole family awkward and in need of re-grouping afterward. Rather, we would be better promoting the idea that speaking to sons about everything important is something about which we should feel good about doing, and that the son should feel empowered by having experienced, not shamed into hiding or repressing displays of bad behaviour. This image doesn’t do that for me.

    Otherwise, thanks again for the piece on this important and under-addressed subject.

    E.

  227. Both Miley and Robin are old enough to know better– both know they are “role models”- just wish they would desire becoming better at being a role model. As mom of 3 sons, yes, we have always talked about role of being a godly guy– thanks for sharing. We have some books at our website Love-Wise about parenting–mostly “proactive, positive, train them to be leaders” ideas– but we also have info on how to handle prodigals (in case anyone feels they are raising a “Miley” or a “Robin”) (All info is in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make) and your advice on talking to kids– using culture to springboard into conversation– is right on!

  228. Jon Dick Pope says:

    This article is as un-american as the idiotic pro life Americans who want to limit the peoples rights. Miley has the right as an American to do what ever the fuck she wants to on that stage (freedom of speech). And MTV has the right to broadcast it in American homes ( freedom of press). The problem is the ignorant religious right who want to limit the peoples rights cause they do not want freedom. They want to control what one can say. If you dont like miley dancing on that stage dont watch it. But dont be an idiot and act like she shouldnt do it.

  229. I was mostly unaware about the video; however I agree on content here. I have written concerning Christian context modesty which has the same though admittedly less graphic underlying thought processes you express well here.

    I have ten children and my oldest son is 20. He respects all women, and one thing I am encouraging him in is loving himself as his neighbor be that a male neighbor or female one. My husband and I are done teaching him, but he has appreciated some thoughtful conversation along those lines. And my daughters do as well. I feel if the younger generation can understand the concept of loving themselves then they may have a better chance of valuing others and refusing to use others. We have a epidemic love deficit in America. It breaks my mother heart, so I pray to God.

  230. Thank you for this interesting and well delivered piece.

    I have pinned it and actually wished that I used Facebook so that I could share it further.

    Adding you to my feeds now too.

  231. Thank you Eric! This is an issue close to my own heart. Here is my take on the situation and how parents can help.

    http://lauragreenpsychology.com/2013/06/24/the-sex-selfie-what-you-should-be-doing-as-a-parent/

  232. Reblogged this on lauragreenpsychology's blog & resources and commented:
    This is a good follow up to my post The Sex Selfie, we need to be talking to our boys about sexuality not just our girls. http://lauragreenpsychology.com/2013/06/24/the-sex-selfie-what-you-should-be-doing-as-a-parent/

  233. Being the totally disconnected-from-US-pop-culture being that I am I watched *The Video* the other day and thought Miley Cyrus was the guy who sneaked up behind that woman in the flesh-colored bikini, and that what they referred to by ‘twerking’ was what he pretended to do with her wiggling behind. I only realized a few days later that twerking means dancing with a butt wiggle, and that Miley Cyrus was, in fact, the woman who wiggled. I still can’t believe that everyone is all up in arms about her, but nobody, except you now, is even mentioning *his* behavior, which I find way more questionable than hers. Thanks for this article. It’s important.

    • What exactly did Robin Thicke do. If you actually did watch it you would realize he mostly stood in the same spot. Rarely moved and never thrusted against Miley. She ran all over the stage and no other artists did that. Nobody even mentioned that her sexual movements were directed only to Thicke, who did not really do much of anything except stand there and let her grind or simulate whatever against him.

      • Ram+ you ask: “What exactly did Robin Thicke do. If you actually did watch it you would realize he mostly stood in the same spot.” and I just have to say, if you think Robin Thicke’s “pimp” attitude (and outfit) were not part of the act then you are deluded. He was portraying a guy “so cool” that he could literally *just stand there* and have a half naked girl dance for him/rub on him (if you haven’t seen his video for this song — the unrated one in which there are topless women in nude g-strings walking around and interacting with him while he’s in a suit — then you wouldn’t realize that was what Miley was obviously riffing/expanding on for the VMA’s). This was all a performance and he was just as much a part of the planning and execution as Miley was. And he was perfectly comfortable with having a girl who could be his daughter do all those things in latex underwear to him for all the world to see while he “sang his song.”

        So why is that a problem? Because as Eric points out it turns women into objects for men to watch/enjoy while the men do their thing. If you got to this point in the article he says: “There are certain things that Robin Thicke and “Blurred Lines” re-inforce in our culture.
        For instance… Studies have shown that viewing images of objectified women gives men “greater tolerance for sexual harassment and greater rape myth acceptance,” and helps them view women as “less competent” and “less human“. Certainly singing about “blurred lines” will at the very least reinforce a culture that already trivializes the importance of consent.*”

        Because this was a planned performance he WAS one of the “primary agents or actors” (as you denied in a comment below) and your joke about “how to talk to your sons about women dry humping you” is again, deluded. That is not to say that women can’t be the aggressors and sexually assault them, but that’s not what was happening in this staged performance.

      • Donia – well stated, well written, AMEN!
        Why are we talking about the VMA’s? Not because we want to, or want this to be true, but the sad truth is that media defines morality in our culture, rather than God or the Bible. So, we need to address the seeds that are being planted in our sons and daughters, and we need to know what to say and how to say it, so that our children take their cues from the right places. This is our responsibility as parents who have our children for such a short time, and only have limited opportunities to teach them how to make decisions about what to consume when it comes to media and literature. One day they will decide on their own, and it’s our role to help them know how to make wise decisions that do not include the promotion of objectifying other human beings. The end result of objectifying women and children {whether directly or indirectly} is abuse and human trafficking. That’s why it matters, and that’s why we talk, write, blog, and have conversations with our sons and daughters about Robin and Miley.

      • Also, her “sexual movements” were NOT “directed only to Thicke” — on a whole separate topic mentioned in the comments above, she specifically directs some to the large back-up dancer’s bum (and her “sexual movements” were not just the aggressive smacking of it…).

  234. http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/08/28/dear-son-dont-let-robin-thicke-be-a-lesson-to-you/

    I don’t think I see this link above, but here is another man, saying something similar to what you’re saying.

  235. Loved this article! Just found your blog. I do disagree with you about the source of human value. You said: “Our value comes from being respected and being loved as we respect and love the people who matter to us.” I don’t think our value comes from anything that we or others do. I think it is intrinsic, given to us by a loving God who created us in His image & with a purpose. Many blessings to you & your wife.

  236. slimreturns says:

    When you have this discussion with your sons, don’t forget to mention that Robin Thicke has been happily married for 8 years to a woman he’s dated since he was 16. He is also a father of a 3 year old boy.Don’t forget to mention that nothing in popular media (pop culture, news, or otherwise) is what it seems. That nothing is real and everything you see in visual media has been orchestrated to elicit a certain response derived from years of market research and statistical analysis. When you have this discussion with your sons, How about explaining to them that the vast majority of entertainment, information, and opinion extracted from the media, in all its forms (even blogs like this one) is self-serving, poisonous on a personal level, and cancerous to society as a whole. How about explaining to them that treating people the way you want to be treated and avoiding any conclusions not derived from educated analytical thought backed by research of credible information is the only way to live a productive and healthy life.

  237. Pon33villin says:

    PLEASE! lol People have been trying to repress sex for ages and ages. Where has it gotten them? Are we going to wrongfully label sexual honesty ‘sexism’, to make it seem less honest and more reproachable? Miley Cyrus is 20 years old and we’re talking about the God-d***ed VMA awards, not your Texas megachurch service.

    Get a freaking life.

  238. Thicke barely moved. He did not thrust or place himself on Miley at all. Did the author even watch the VMA segment? What people need to realize is he stood there, sang his song, and Miley did all the work placing her parts against him. This is why there was little commentary on Thicke. He was not the primary agent or actor that evening. I think many people have an opinion and have not actually watched the whole performance. There should at least be a corollary post on the internet. “How to talk to your sons about women dry humping you.”

  239. Tsk..tsk.. how did this curve from Miley Cyrus jerking at lamp pole (the guy might as well be one in this situation) to domestic violence?
    Miley wanted to break ties with her Disney persona. She’s not a puppet.
    The Robin Thicke guy was obviously surprised, but I guess he should have just turned around and storm out of the building with his nose turned up. Or he should have gently pushed away Miley. Or he should have cried out something like “WTF!”
    None of these reaction would have done any good for Miley. In fact he would be lynched by now.

    I also need to mention that our sons are well trained, so they won’t hit a woman even if she beats him half dead. There are exceptions ofc, but please don’t petend it’s the majority.

    • First of all Banditae, Robin Thicke *was not* surprised — this was a planned performance! If you don’t believe that, I suggest you watch his video for Blurred Lines — the unrated one in which there are topless women in nude g-strings walking around and interacting with him while he’s in a suit — and you will realize that was what Miley was obviously riffing/expanding on for the VMA’s. (Not to mention this is a giant broadcast with everything orchestrated/choreographed for maximum effect). See my comment above to RAM+ for more on this issue.

      More importantly, however, is your strange (yet probably common) assumption that the “domestic violence” referred to in Eric’s article is hitting a woman. That is of course a huge problem, but not what this performance was reinforcing. I will copy from a comment I made way above in this thread since I’m guessing you didn’t see it because I think it’s very important:

      To put an even finer point on it (since “Blurred Lines” seems to want to keep things nice and blurry) ***Boys should be taught not to rape — even more than girls are taught to avoid being raped! (I know some people won’t get that statement because they think “only evil men are rapists” …when in fact most women who are raped in America aren’t done so in the “strange man / over-the-top-brutally-violent” way portrayed in movies… It’s done by guys they know, who are often known to the family and community as a “nice guy” …and if the girl happened to dress or behave even *remotely* provocatively (and it’s truly heartbreaking to see what some communities will justify as “provocative”) then that guy *continues* to be seen as a “nice guy” and the girl is labeled and shamed. All because the community won’t acknowledge what rape actually is, or how to teach their sons not to do it. It’s so simple: only a YES means yes, and a manner of DRESS is not a yes!! In fact, even Miley’s behavior was not a “yes” because every woman has the right to say “Stop.”

      • @donia…Guys may need to be taught not to rape (in some cases), but more importantly they need to know a code of conduct. you’re comment doesn’t make any sense. Ugh don’t be so black and white. I don’t want to jump down your throat, but don’t be that extreme! Why would you suggest “nice guys” are usually the ones who rape girls/women? Geez! there are PLENTY of rape cases in which a stranger is the culprit. Think before you write/talk please. Thanks.

      • Excuse me, Mark, but I was not being black and white. Black and white is thinking that rape is done by strange men who “drag someone into the bushes” (I’ve seen that comment/idea of rape repeated many places). I didn’t say *only* “nice guys” rape and my point isn’t that nice guys rape — they’re in quotes because they’re *not* nice guys, but that’s how the public views them because the girl dressed a certain way, acted a certain way, etc, and thus she was the “bad guy” in the scenario…. And I never said that there aren’t plenty of cases where a stranger is the culprit. HOWEVER, the public doesn’t need to be educated on that type of rape — that’s the kind they already get upset about. (And statistics show that most sexual assault/abuse is perpetrated by someone the victim knows!)

        Your first sentence of “Guys may need to be taught not to rape (in some cases), but more importantly they need to know a code of conduct” is the point I was making without the “may” and “in some cases” — Our society as a whole doesn’t recognize rape as rape in most cases: that’s why a girl who gets raped by a guy at a frat party that she was flirting with all night is labeled and shamed and the guy gets a one day suspension or something similarly and ridiculously lax (see Yale’s current policy on sexual assault!). That’s why a drunk girl can be sexually assaulted in front of a whole party of people and NONE of them realize that what’s happening is RAPE, so none of them make an effort to stop it or contact the authorities so they can stop it (see Steubenville’s fiasco, and their cover up of their “nice athletes”). That’s why a 14 year old girl can be raped by her 49 year old teacher, commit suicide because of it, and the teacher is only given 30 days because the judge deemed the 14 year old victim “older than her chronological years” (!) (see Montana judge fiasco) — and that’s just stuff that’s happened this year that I’m aware of off the top of my head. That doesn’t include all of the cases that don’t get media coverage, and all of the girls and women who don’t report because they know either nothing will be done or they will be publicly shamed and blamed for their own rape because *they* should have known better than to: dress that way; go to that place; behave that way; drink too much, etc, etc.

        Girls are taught in many subtle and direct ways from a very young age how to avoid being raped. When are boys taught in any subtle or direct ways what constitutes consent? Other than “you shouldn’t hit a woman or forcibly drag someone into the bushes to have sex with them” what are boys taught about rape and sexual assault?

        So I’m not being black and white. I’m actually wanting people to open their eyes up to the many ugly shades of rape – not just the black and white versions that galvanize our courthouses and media. We need to educate ALL BOYS (not just educating “in some cases,” or boys they think are at risk, or however you think you would determine who to teach not to rape — guys who already have???) in a code of conduct, as you say, that includes what rape actually is, and how to avoid it as I outline in the last line of my previous post:

        It’s so simple: only a YES means yes, and a manner of DRESS is not a yes!! In fact, even Miley’s behavior was not a “yes” because every woman has the right to say “Stop.”

      • Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti propose changing the wording of the law to require an “enthusiastic” yes as consent. Because if a “yes” is shamed, coerced, or threatened out of a woman it’s still not consent. I appreciate and value your comments, donia. Thank you.

  240. Thank you for this!!! I had blinders on to the other half of the population when I got irked by Miley’s Scarlet H for hoe. You are so right. It sends a lousy message to boys too. But it’s like Elvis, we often fear the pelvis because our animal instinct wants us to know to whom each baby belongs. Mother Nature made both sexes horny for a reason. Safer sex! Free birth control for all!!

  241. Hold enough to be his daughter? The guy is 36 and she is 20. Sixteen and pregnant has got in your head.

  242. great work indeed. is anyone boycotting or just typing still?

  243. I was hoping you actually HAD any suggestion beyond “we need to talk to our sons”. How? By feeding them the same tripe about “respecting women”? That’s been step one for decades so either A) it’s not working or B) we need to move on to step 2. What is step 2? According to your article there isn’t one, just respect “harder”. If you’re going to write an article about “talking to your son” you should probably write an article about….talking to your son, NOT regurgitating tripe in soundbite form.

  244. Dazed & Confused says:

    Really, so we need better parenting models.

    I agree, the sooner we wake up and stop letting kids rule the roost and allow parents to parent the better.

  245. Thank you so very very much for writing this article, I appreciate it’s existence.

  246. mikeymomomo says:

    Kids listen to nothing we say and imitate everything we do.

  247. This is awesome. Thank you for posting and for saying what needed to be said!

  248. I disagree with this post to some degree Eric. Are you suggesting that sexual relations at Miley’s age is wrong? I certainly don’t think so…however the respect factor is huge. Robin Thicke is dirty, and being that he’s older than Miley, he shouldn’t be encouraging Miley’s onstage antics. However, Miley has a head of her own and so do all women. If a man isn’t respecting their partner, then that person has every right to leave that man. It doesn’t excuse that man’s behavior, its just a smart decision on the partner’s part. This goes for gay men as well, because honestly, it doesn’t matter in this case what gender you are. Respect is respect.

  249. William Morgan says:

    As a father of two daughters, one 14, the other 7, I have learned in the last 6 years that if there is anything at all I would want my daughters to learn from me, I absolutely have to prove it first in myself. This means, if I want them to learn self-control, they absolutely must see it in me first. If I want them to practice self-discipline, they absolutely must see it in me first. Every single day.

    It is the simplest thing to assume “talking to a child” will get them to do the right thing. It never will until we first show them every single day why it is good, doing what is right; and it is worthwhile, despite so much saying it is not. All the talking in the world only makes us complete hypocrites, if we refuse to show our children that it can be done, choosing to do what is right all the time.

  250. Good article, good discussion. Has anyone seen Auckland University Law Review’s parody of “Blurred Lines”? http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/video/video-blurred-lines-parody-2sep2013

  251. Worth pointing out: “Blurred Lines” is about how no matter how big a game men talk, it’s the women who have the power in the relationship. Some of the lyrics:

    “That man is not your maker” – you’re your own person
    “You’re far from plastic” – you’re unique, not cut from a mould
    “Let me be the one you back that a** into” – I’m not trying to control you, I want YOU to pick ME
    “I feel so lucky, you want to hug me” – You’re giving me affection, and I’m happy to have it

  252. Reblogged this on Reflections of a Pastor Couple and commented:
    Friend of mine Eric Clapp’s take on the Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke kerfuffle. It’s been getting a lot of play thought I’d share, it’s good.

  253. Hi Eric,

    I really enjoyed reading your article and the issues it raised and answered. In fact, I was so engrossed in following the comments by others who added their ideas, that I jumped in with a hasty line about a video I had seen in response to the original. A video that is quite intriguing in terms of what it represents.

    I would be so interested to hear your opinion and those of anyone else who would be good enough to watch it as it adds a further dimension to the discussion:

    http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/video/video-blurred-lines-parody-2sep2013

    Thanks!

  254. Thank you for your article. Men do need to be held accountable for their actions and it does need to start in the home. Teaching the sons how to treat women, their mom and sisters with respect.

  255. So in other words: men and boys are responsible for their conduct towards women even where it doesn’t affect them directly–and are therefore by proxy responsible for abuse and rape–while women and girls are only responsible for their conduct towards themselves? And this is a conversation we ‘need to have’ even though you are one among many voices speaking about how men and boys need to be involved in such a conversation? Hasn’t that been happening for decades? I can get you a bunch of links if you like.

    As one of many men who is a survivor of FEMALE abuse, I find this unacceptable. If I do a search on ‘male abuse of women’ I can easily get many hits. Try female abuse of males? A lot harder. There has been absolute no general feminist discussion of this. How is this equality?

    I can anticipate that. So few males abused by women versus so many females by men. Is that biblical? Even if it’s true, is it? Did Jesus say “You know, if there’s a storm and you have a hundred sheep and one goes missing, you gotta worry about the sheep you already have”? So no, that does matter.

    Or there’s this one–what men do to women is still not as bad collectively as what men do to women collectively. Again, not good enough. If one person stabs with a knife and the other just slaps with the hand–neither are good. One might be worse, but neither are good. The Bible does not teach that sins are not sins merely because they appear to be less than others do.

    It needs to be understood that Thicke and Cyrus were both wrong–equally wrong–towards one another. Your article did not even the balance; it made it more lopsided.

    • Well stated and thank you for speaking up to our side of the story. Truly a voice in the wilderness. Unfortunately it will go unheeded; wrong though it is, we are stuck with it.

      I also was abused by women and by my own observations women are far more abusive to men than vice-versa precisely because it is considered so acceptable and is not in fact recognized as the abuse that it is.

      Your first paragraph is excellent. There are many here who ought to read it slowly several times over until it sinks in, because clearly no one here is getting it. This society is run by total space cadets who can’t see the forest for the trees.

      Thanks again.

    • Dear sojournerscribe and Dave – I am so sorry to read about your abuse. Abuse is difficult enough to deal with, but add the societal stigma surrounding female-on-male abuse and I would imagine it could become unbearable. Please know, however that you are not alone — neither in your experience nor in the support *so many* people extend toward you and ANY survivors of abuse. There are definitely not as many, nor is it as vocalized as male-on-female or even male-on-male abuse (though the latter holds unique problems as well), but MANY people recognize female-on-male abuse as a serious problem and absolutely an inequality.

      If you read about the current (huge) problem with rape in the military, the people fighting for justice and transparency *absolutely* recognize the fact that men are victims as well as women and that men are even more stigmatized because of their victimization. I know that is slightly different than what you are talking about because in most cases the men are being victimized by other men, but I think the common “uncomfortable” (for society) denominator here is not necessarily who is the abuser, but who is the victim: our society has a much easier time accepting women as victims than men.

      Men are “supposed” to be strong, self-sufficient protectors. Women are “supposed” to be weak, dependent nurturers. And I think it’s those assigned roles and perceptions that cause so many human-relations problems in our society – with women in business, homosexuality, male abuse victims, female-on-male abuse, etc, etc… And victim-blaming, which IS such a problem in our society, is a *huge* factor when it comes to female-on-male abuse.

      If you think about it, it’s when people step out of (or are forced via abuse out of) those assigned gender roles that society attacks the most viciously: Woman drinking too much? coming on too strong? coming on to women? Those are in the “male domain”! She can’t do that! She has to be taught a lesson! (That thinking is a sad justification I have seen over and over – and is at the core of the “she was asking for it” defense/diminishment of rape). So on the male side, the vitriol revolves around the “weak” quality that’s supposed to be in the “female domain”: why didn’t he defend himself? why would he allow that to happen to him? Or, the incorrect labeling of men who are victims of male-on-male abuse as homosexuals. And that’s such a hurtful stigma and “insult” because again, men falling into the “female domain” is the worst thing imaginable in our society.

      There are all types of people in the world and even in groups called “feminists” – who are supposed to be fighting for equality – there are people who are really just fighting for power. Power over other people. Power to make up for the lack of power they feel or have felt in their lives. Which can, of course, lead to the abuse of other people. But that doesn’t mean *everyone* in any given group is like that – just like you can’t say “all white people are…” or “all gay people are…” etc…

      So bringing this all back around to the original topic of Cyrus/Thicke: IF this wasn’t a planned performance that was rehearsed ahead of time (as Thicke’s own wife confirmed), then this would absolutely be an example of female-on-male sexual harassment and possibly assault (and I actually mention that in a previous comment but I’m guessing neither of you saw it because you both think “clearly no one here is getting it”). But you’re right that it’s a form of abuse that’s considered acceptable and ignored: sadly, society would just expect him to stand there and “take it” while she does her thing because “he’s a man” and of course all men think about is sex, so why wouldn’t he want a “hot girl” rubbing up against him? (that’s sarcasm for those who couldn’t tell).

      I think the lesson here is that EVERYONE deserves to be treated with respect, consideration, and equality. And people need to think about the meaning of those words rather than gloss over them since they’re so over-used. NO ONE IS EXEMPT, under any circumstances, from the right to be treated with respect, consideration, and equality.

      People in positions of power (from parents to prison guards) should remember that their “charges” are not “less than” they are (I know many parents justify their child abuse in this way – their children are viewed as their property to do with as they see fit). Just because you wield power over someone for whatever reason, doesn’t give you the right to abuse that person.

      It is this strange human (animal?) inclination to designate certain people as “less than” that enables things to happen like slavery; ethnic cleansing; sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse of children, the mentally or physically disabled, men, women, the elderly.

      Imagine what the world would be like if no one viewed anyone else as “less than” them? Imagine what it would be like to live in a world where EVERYONE followed the Golden Rule with NO EXCEPTIONS?

      • Thank you to donia and Dave for your kind comments. I can’t help but notice I made a few cringe worthy grammatical errors, I probably should edit things in Word first. But in spite of that I appreciate the support and thoughtfulness.

        And I think you’re right, donia about how our society prefers to see women as victims. So in fact what is really missing from what Pastor Eric wants to talk about, to me, is how boys and young men are taught to see themselves. Women can be a key factor in this. Just as it is important for girls and young women to see men who treat them decently and with respect, boys and young men need the same from women.

        As a Christian, I feel that we need to challenge our society’s attitudes about sex, which are encouraged by both men and women, because they are profitable and therefore tempting. More than that–the prospect of not going along with it is often loneliness, often isolation. It is worse when you’ve been harmed by people and your self of self worth has been attacked, and this happens to both boys and girls, and at the hands of their own sex and the opposite.

  256. came here from another blog, it was in their weekend links. I have no idea what you are referring to. I’m one of those delightfully ignorant people you refer to in your first paragraph. Ignorance is bliss…

  257. Men who dominate and abuse women demonstrate how weak and putrid they are in spirit. Men are intended by our Creator as protectors and defenders.

  258. chengboiser says:

    I really hate that trashy song, the kind of “music ( if you can call it as music ) artist releases these days just fan that fire that women can be objectified.

  259. Reblogged this on Girls In Real Life and commented:
    LOVE this article! “Blurred Lines” has so far only been discussed in a female point of view, but how should men interpret the song and video? The conversation goes both ways.

  260. She was raised by a very respected artist, and if she wants to make a new image for herself, that’s her thing!!! Peeps need to get up off her!!!!

  261. Thank you! This is a much needed conversation!!!

  262. Thank you. Just thank you.

  263. Reblogged this on Raising Boyz To Men and commented:
    Since, well, I feel the obligation to tell my sons

  264. I hope this reaches many many people. It is how we treat the situation that speaks so greatly to those young impressible eyes. Thank you for writing this piece!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] need to be have serious discussions with their sons about what the programs watch or the kind of music the listen to every bit as much […]

  2. […]  How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke […]

  3. […] another blogger wrote a posting about Robin Thicke and what we as parents and adults should be saying to our sons and young […]

  4. […] I quote another blogger, Eric Clapp 3.0 (whose blog post can be found here): […]

  5. […] of articles circulating the web on how to talk to your daughters about Miley Cyrus or how to talk to your sons about Robin Thicke after their audience-shocking performance of Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” at […]

  6. […] Here is a man blogs about the need for fathers to sons about Robin Thicke (the man with Miley Cyrus). […]

  7. […] Miley went a bit cray cray at the VMAs this year, but she wasn’t alone on stage during that performance. What do you think about how sexualized Miley has become and why do […]

  8. […] conversations about how Cyrus’ performance can be a teaching tool (and so can Robin Thicke’s performance) for parents to educate their children about these things, […]

  9. […] How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke – Eric Clapp 3.0. […]

  10. […] kind of isn’t the point and is actively against women’s interests in general. Individual women often receive the blame with all its vitriol for behaving in line with the expectations of a patriarchal society while the […]

  11. […] …Because Clearly The Internet Hasn’t Finished with Miley Cyrus Yet […]

  12. […] you're a parent, no doubt you've seen this great article written by Eric Clapp. He puts owning the Miley "performance" on males, […]

  13. […] READ MORE AT: How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke – Eric Clapp 3.0. […]

  14. […] Performance artist attacked and groped during piece about sexual violence towards women. How to talk to your son about Robin […]

  15. […] There are next to no commentaries, articles, or blog posts that talk about how Robin Thicke was on stage with a woman young enough to be his daughter while thrusting his pelvis and repeating the line “I know you want it” while T.I. non-chalantly raps about much more graphic stuff… [CONTINUE READING] […]

  16. […] No on’e discussing Mr. Thicke’s role… […]

  17. […] thing, it has prompted some good public discussion, most notably on the question of why the hyper-sexualization of young women is treated as though it has nothing to do with men. The web is awash in headlines like ‘Don’t grow up to be like Miley’ and […]

  18. […] Read this about the double standards post-VMA’s. Thanks, […]

  19. […] Well, here you go. I know, this is the second time “Blurred Lines” and Robin Thicke get a mention in one round-up, but I think you will all appreciate what Eric Clapp has to say on the subject. […]

  20. […] to Talk To Your Daughter About Miley Cyrus.”  But the Blog Eric Clapp 3.0 writes in How to Talk To Your Sons About Robin Thicke, that our culture is ignoring a very important piece of the conversation; the fact that the men […]

  21. […] has been written about the VMA performance. But I want to draw your attention to this blog posting by a Lutheran pastor. He rightly points out that  blaming the female performer is an […]

  22. […] No one’s talking about Mr. Thicke’s role… […]

  23. […] Article! How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke – Eric Clapp 3.0 __________________ To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or […]

  24. […] Here is a man blogs about the need for fathers to sons about Robin Thicke (the man with Miley Cyrus). […]

  25. […] who will grow up to be gentlemen who see that junk for what it is…silly & sad.  I think this guy gets it pretty dead […]

  26. […] “How To Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke” […]

  27. […] How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke – Eric Clapp 3.0. […]

  28. […] all the Miley Cyrus slut-shaming, I greatly appreciated this thought-provoking piece, “How to Talk to Your Son About Robin Thicke,” by blogger and Lutheran pastor Eric Clapp.  Yes, I get that the whole act was far from […]

  29. […] How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke – Eric Clapp 3.0 […]

  30. […]  (There will be cursing.  You have been warned.)  Before you read this entry, however, go read this one.  It’s much better written, and a lot more calm, and involves way less […]

  31. […] parents…).  I also read, “Let’s not let Robin Thicke off the Hook“, “How to talk to your Son’s about Robin Thicke” and “The problem with Miley Cyrus is Robin […]

  32. […] And her sex life is nobody’s business. I don’t care about Miley Cyrus’s sex life; do you? So why should she be subject to name-calling because of people’s speculations regarding her sex life. Why isn’t anyone calling Robin Thicke a “slut”? He didn’t seem to be complaining. […]

  33. […] should talk to our boys about Miley […]

  34. […] Miley Cyrus was getting a lot of attention last week, but what about how to talk to your son about Robin Thicke? […]

  35. […] this article about How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke has been making the rounds a bit. Now, there are several messages in this article that are […]

  36. […] bouncing around in my head for a couple of days now. It all started when my friend Casey posted this article by Eric Clapp on Facebook, which basically calls men to “make some very intentional […]

  37. […] than the fantastic reflection i read about a father talking to his sons about Robin […]

  38. […] actually kind of questionable for grinding his bits on a girl who could be his daughter… was another dude. Even we in our own circular firing squad of feminism didn’t manage to catch that one, as we were […]

  39. […] even more relieved to see men speaking out on this issue.  First Eric Clapp spoke out about how we need to be talking to our sons about this incident, not just our daughters.  And this morning I was thrilled to see another man, Nate Pyle, share how […]

  40. […] and not think “How do you explain this song to a surviver of sexual violence?” or how about explaining it to your sons or the next generations. I wish I could listen to “We Won’t Stop” and not think […]

  41. […] new spin on the whole Miley/VMA debacle and how we (we meaning a society) need to talk with our sons about the other side of that performance (ahm Mr. Thicke I am talking to you).  (I know I am […]

  42. […] Talking about the other half of the Miley Cyrus VMA performance, Robin Thicke and his rape culture performance and song – http://ericclapp.org/2013/08/28/how-to-talk-with-your-sons-about-robin-thicke/ […]

  43. […] How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke (Eric Clapp 3.0) […]

  44. […] Moments after making the comment, “”What a pleasure it is to degrade women,” Robin Thicke even tried to argue that the song is feministic. And that is all the air time I will give to that one. But definitely check out this father’s write-up of “How To Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke” by Eric Clapp. […]

  45. […] * How to talk to your sons about Robin Thicke. This news came from Eric Clapp 3.0. […]

  46. […] – The male-female double standard continues. As blogger Eric Clapp points out, the conversation has focused entirely on Miley’s performance and little on the male […]

  47. […] is actually kind of questionable for grinding his bits on a girl who could be his daughter… was another dude. Even we in our own circular firing squad of feminism didn’t manage to catch that one, as we were […]

  48. […] How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke…Eric Clapp 3.0It Gets Easier…Things I Can’t Say […]

  49. […] There have been many blogs and posts about Cyrus’ performance on various parenting sites yet one which caught my eye provided excellent advice for parents of both teenage girls and boys alike was Eric Clapp’s post. […]

  50. […] A student brought up the open letter about how to talk to young men about Robin Thicke. […]

  51. […] of these messages and images effect how we view women in society. As writer Eric Clapp points […]

  52. […] 7. How to Talk With your Sons About Robin Thicke. […]

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