We Can’t Stop…the Double Standards: Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance

Miley-Cyrus---VMA-Promos-and-Behind-The-Scenes-(2013)-06-560x400Arguably the song of the summer (okay, maybe tied with “Blurred Lines”), I’ve been (secretly) somewhat obsessed with Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop.” My sister and I play it allll the time during our sporadic dance parties (although we don’t twerk–if I’m ever seen twerking, I’m probably actually dying of a stroke & get me to the ER stat.) What makes this song so catchy? I still don’t know…Maybe it’s the shock value of a former Disney star openly singing about cocaine, perhaps it’s the wildly disturbing music video, or possibly(? maybe?) the song itself, but I’d be lying if I didn’t sing along every time it comes on the radio.

But can we just talk about last night’s VMA performance? If you had the displeasure of seeing Miley’s tribute to “We Can’t Stop” or if you’ve just heard the aftermath hype about it online, one thing’s clear: everyone and their brother thought it was WEIRD as all get out.  (I’d link to a clip, but it was honestly so lewd and disgusting that you DON’T want to watch, trust me.  Just check out this article on the 15 Weirdest and Craziest Moments from her performance to get a feel for it.)

As “scandalous” as Miley’s performance was, I couldn’t help but see the total irony in the situation. Through both her music video and VMA performance, Miley is sending a very blatant message (through sexual imagery & winking at illegal activities like…I don’t know…hard drugs) to tell the world she’s not a Disney darling anymore. It all seems to desperately scream “Take me seriously–I have worth!” to me.

Why does Miley (and let’s face it, the majority of women portrayed in pop culture/maybe everywhere?) feel like dressing and acting provocatively leads to worth & acceptance? Could Miley Cyrus have achieved her message through other means & without ruining so many giant bears in the process? Maybe.

Unfortunately, the cultural formula  of “sex sells” seems to be the working paradigm. Just look at Katy Perry, one of the other big VMA performers of the night: she made it big with “I Kissed a Girl” and was known for having random stuff shooting out of her wonderbras all the time. Yeah, she’s taken a bit more seriously now, but would she be where she is today  without her “scandalous” beginning?


Oh Katy…

Ready for the irony? Though Miley followed the current paradigm of using her sexuality to find worth, she went too far on the spectrum of what is “societally allowed” and  her attempt was met with disgust and negativity–NOT her desired goal of acceptance as a “new Miley.”  So basically if a one to ten scale, we’re comfortable with like up to a six (eight if you watch Game of Thrones, duh) and Miley totally brought a ten to play.

BUT. Society shouldn’t accept that paradigm at all anyway! No matter how gross her performance was, we are at fault for allowing sexuality to be cultural currency for value in the first place!! Not to go all feminist (God forbid that– right, conservative friends? ;) ), but if women and girls did not have to operate by this paradigm, I’d like to think these travesties of human worth wouldn’t happen.

Let’s be clear: as cultural consumers, there’s no such thing as media victimization. American audiences are only as “bullied” by cultural stigmas and stereotypes  presented by the media as we allow. When we complain that the media is to blame for our distorted views on gender, discrimination, sexuality, religion, etc, etc., we’re setting an extremely illogical & hypocritical victim mentality for ourselves because WE enabled the media. WE gave them the voice (and money, which is in many cases THE main voice) & ultimately, permission to tell us what’s what (even if it’s untrue or we disagree).

If you don’t like the message, change the conversation. In this case with the over-sexualization and objectification of women & girls (and thinking that’s OKAY), we need to start a new message altogether, one of inherent value and equality.

Outing my First Tattoo

Hello world, I have a tattoo.

I got it a month ago in Cambridge’s best tattoo parlor (is that still a thing–tattoo parlors? It sounds infinitely 1874), Tattoos by Fabio. Yes, the shop is called that. No, sadly, Fabio was not the guy who made my tattoo. I was just as disappointed as you probably are.

"Step into my parlor...tattoo parlor!"

“Step into the parlor…my tattoo parlor, that is!”

When I’m super nervous, I talk…and talk…and talk. I don’t shut up, honestly. As Johnny, my lackluster named tattoo artist (tattoo guy? I really don’t know the lingo, obviously), took me to a back little room, I kept asking him pretty much everything I could think of in an effort to calm down. What’s the best tattoo he’s done? What’s the weirdest? Where are his tattoos, as he didn’t seem to have any?…And then he took off his shirt…The answer was pretty clear after that. (His tattoo was GIANT and covered his entire torso, which is extra insane because he did it himself!) I even suggested Johnny & I getting matching tattoos (kiddingly, Mom), because we were basically best friends by this point.

And then just as quickly as the process began, it was over! As much as I’d love to share a picture, because it’s on my ribs, it’s kind of hard to take a picture without it looking like I’m half-heartedly sexting somebody. (It’s also hard to show it off in public without practically undressing.)


Fun fact: the font was contrived from Jane Austen’s handwriting! But that’s obviously not why I chose the font, as that would take being a fan of someone to a weird level…

So, what is it? Pretty simple: see above! I really have always struggled with working to be smart/funny/pretty/skinny/cool/whatever enough to prove I’m worth it. But you know what? The idea of becoming “enough” is an unachievable mirage that leaves you dying of thirst for affirmation in a desert of insecurity. (Whew, I just surpassed my metaphor quota for the month!)

Isaiah 41:9 has always been a comfort to me, as God tells us “For I have chosen you and will not throw you away.” The struggle with being enough is slowly losing power in my life, as I’m realizing daily that I am enough, right here & now. “Enough” is not to be achieved, but to be understood. So, I like having the visual reminder.

Skeptics of tattoos, to answer your questions: yes, it’s meaningful to me (see above, y’all); yes, I’ve been thinking about it for a year and a half; the stigma behind tattoos is changing; nobody is going to care when I’m old; it’s covered up for my future job, unless I work at a place that requires crop tops, in which case, I’m doomed.

Well, I can mark this off the job search list.

Well, I can mark this off the job search list. Bummer.

And I love it! I don’t regret it at all and am kind of already planning on a second tattoo for the near future. But more on that another time!

5 Types of Girls in LeeU Greek Clubs

Don’t kill me, ghosts of TKO members past, but this is literally one of the first images that popped up when I searched “Lee University Greek Clubs.”

If you are or ever were a Lee University student, two words can either inspire fond memories or your gag reflex: Greek Clubs. Love them or hate them, they exist (and are actually fantastic when properly run) & will probably die off on the same day Lee installs an on-campus Starbucks or parking garage (So, never.)

A year ago, when I joined mine, I had no earthly clue about any of the Greek subculture; I didn’t even know about inductions. (Yeah. I was that out of it. Imagine a Disney character going into a coal mine. …Okay, weird metaphor.) However, the more & more acquainted I became with the system, the more I realized that, hey, there’s a big pattern in all of this.

The pattern is this: Everyone is the SAME. Yes, there are a few types of personalities that will always & have always been involved in Greek Clubs. No matter when or what club, my theory is that these people are current members:

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental.

Continue reading


Last I heard, they’re accepting applications to be a Duggar now.

True Confessions: The greater part of my lower education was enacted through forms of homeschooling (It was a strange hybrid school that was part homeschool, part private school. Now current students have a hilarious sarcastic Twitter account @VeritasProbz, if you want to see what I had to deal with. Of course, you won’t get the jokes, you public schooler, you.)

I’m sure you’re shocked & have a million questions running through your head like: Did you/do you have friends? (Yes/yes)  How can someone as socially and culturally relevant have been homeschooled? (I’m just lucky, I guess!) Was I in a cult? (Nope, but I did go to a  Southern Baptist  megachurch.)  Did I buy into the I Kissed Dating Goodbye cult fad? (I can’t talk about it unless we’re courting.) And the classic: Did I do school in my pajamas? (No way: my mom/the principle ruled with an iron fist. I wasn’t even allowed to do homework while sitting on the couch or my bed. It was either do schoolwork like a pioneer or go to public school/hell.)

However, I learned in my 7 years of homeschooling that there are two distinct types of people:

  2. the HomeSCHOOLED. Continue reading

The infamous Beyonce essay.

As many know, Beyonce Knowles is super cool. (Maybe I adhere to the motto WWBD (What Would Beyonce Do), maybe you’ll never know for sure.) Well, for an application prompt, I was asked to write about a personal and public figure I would consider to be my hero. Beyonce was (of course) the first public figure to come to mind and now that I actually got the internship that said application was for, all the world can now read why.

Thomas Carlyle, Scottish historian, once aptly summed up the heroes to me: “No pressure, no diamonds.” One person I look up to is my grandmother, Harriet Black. She has eighty-five years of life experience to her name but is just as fiery and free-spirited as her young grandchildren. Her life has been the complete antithesis of the American Dream, having been orphaned at a young age, shuffled through the foster care system, and eventually forced to be completely autonomous as a young teenager. Grandma Black married a man who was unfaithful, raised six kids in relative poverty, but despite the odds, eventually rose to success in multiple independent business ventures. Her stubborn tenacity and drive inspire me everyday to rise above whatever current situation I face and strive for excellence above all else. She is truly a diamond in the rough, refined by her strength and perseverance through life’s hardships.

As for a public figure I admire, Beyoncé Knowles is the first to come to my mind for several reasons. Although she may seem like a nontraditional role model, I would beg to differ. I admire Ms. Knowles’ ability to brand herself well and maintain a positive image to women despite barrages of criticism. As a successful, confident, independent woman unafraid to express her beliefs on faith and life, all career-seeking women could learn a lesson from her.