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Thoughts On Miley Cyrus and Teaching Our Daughters About Body Image

Thoughts On Miley Cyrus and Teaching Our Daughters About Body Image

Photo by Coeur de La Photography

I am going to preface this post by letting you know that it’s not going to be all about Miley Cyrus, because I’m sure you’re totally sick of hearing about her and her VMA shenanigans by now, but I wanted to share how it got me thinking about my own daughter.

While I tend to agree that Miley’s performance wasn’t sexy, it was just kind of sad, I still can’t help but think this points to a bigger issue of how women view themselves and their bodies and how we as parents need to address this.

In my opinion, Miley’s performance wasn’t terrible in the fact that it was super sexual (although it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea, that is neither here nor there), but more so in the fact that she was using her body and sex to get attention and as a pawn. It is one thing to be a woman who is in control of her sexuality, but it is quite another to parade your sexuality around in public as a way to garner attention. And I’m not just singling out Miley – there are so many other women (even just regular non-show business women) who have used sex as a pawn. Ummm…Madonna anyone? Or pretty much all of the girls on “The Real World”… I think this is a problem and one that we need to talk about with our own daughters.

My daughter may still be a toddler, but lately my husband and I have been talking a lot about intentional parenting. We’ve discussed that good kids don’t just happen, they are (at least in part) a result of effort and thoughtfulness in parenting, so we have to start thinking about things before they come up and talking about how we will address them. I’m not saying that our daughter will never disappoint us or that we are going to be perfect parents, but I think being proactive about parenting and thinking about the discussions we want to have and the things we want to instill is the first step to success.

So when she is old enough to understand it, I want my daughter to know that she is more than just her body. I want her to know that she is worthwhile for so many other reasons. I want her to love and appreciate her body and to feel like she is beautiful, but I also want her to know that this is such a small part of the picture. I want her to know that sometimes when you put your sexuality on display so overtly, it can make it hard for people to look beyond it and see the other parts of you (One look at all the hoopla and name-calling surrounding Miley Cyrus is enough to prove this point). I want to tell her that she does not have to use sex as a pawn. Yes, it will get her attention, but it probably isn’t the kind of attention she will want in the long-term. I want us to have discussions about sex and sexuality. I don’t want her to think that it’s this terrible, dirty thing or that she has to be a Puritan with collars buttoned to her chin, but I do want her to know, that it is not something to be shared with the world or to be put out there like a show pony. A woman’s sexuality is just that: her own. And a body does not get it’s value based on the sexual attention it receives from other people.

To all the daughters out there: (my own daughter, your daughter and even Miley) I would love to say that you are so much more than just a body. You are a brain and you are talents and you are so capable. You are a sense of style and a sense of humor and a personality all your own. Don’t use your sexuality as a pawn when you have so many other things going for you.

{Lead photo by Coeur de La Photography}

 

Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on TwitterFacebookPinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble. More from Lauren:

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