***Update, August 1: In response to the thousands of people who, after reading this entire post, decided to harp on one single phrase (“I’m no feminist”), I wrote this. If you want to know how I can say all the things I say here, yet still reject “feminism,” click the link and I’ll explain. Otherwise, carry on. Thanks for stopping by.
Our country dangles on the precipice of starting a third World War. We are on the verge of a completely unnecessary conflict where the United States will fight along side Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. This, in another day and age, might earn the crown as the Most Controversial Story of the Week. But we’re in the year 2013, and this is America, so a young pop star’s dance moves on an MTV awards show have predictably overshadowed the prospect of global chaos and bloodshed. I wrote about Cyrusgate myself, simply making the rather obvious point that pornographic sexual degradation and confusion are interwoven into virtually every facet of our society, so it’s a bit absurd to randomly erupt with shock and outrage at one comparatively minor manifestation of our collective cultural rot.
Yet the backlash continues, with most of the commentary — including my own — about, or directed at, Miley Cyrus. But she was joined on stage that fateful evening by another pop star: a grown man by the name of Robin Thicke. While Cyrus twerked against his crotch, he sang his hit song “Blurred Lines.” This little ditty — along with being vapid, stupid, and incredibly grating — is an anthem to fornication and objectification. Check out a few of the poetic lines from this classy number:
OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal, baby, it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch in this place
I feel so lucky
Hey, hey, hey
You wanna hug me
Seriously, only morons listen to garbage like this. Really.
In any case, this gives you an idea of the full scene: A 36 year old married man and father, grinding against an intoxicated 20 year old while singing about how she’s an “animal” and the “hottest bitch in this place.” And what happens the next day? We’re all boycotting the 20 year old. The grown man gets a pass.
Now I’m beginning to understand why that judge in Montana gave a teacher a 30 day jail sentence after he was convicted of raping a 14 year old girl, who later killed herself because of the psychological trauma caused by being sexually victimized by a 50 year old man. The esteemed judge actually justified giving a child rapist a punishment usually handed down to serial parking ticket violators, by saying the young child was “older than her chronological age,” and it wasn’t so bad because it wasn’t “forcible beat-up rape.”
This guy must be a Robin Thicke fan.
I’m no feminist. Miley Cyrus is an adult and should be held responsible for her actions. But where are the men in all of this? Have we so completely given up on chivalry that we don’t even see what’s troubling about a GROWN ASS MARRIED DUDE singing a song about sexual domination while dry humping a young woman on national TV? Men in this culture need to stand up and be leaders. I don’t want to talk about the Miley Cyruses of the world. Enough is said about them. I want to talk about the legions of cowardly, amoral adult men who graduate college and still carry on like frat boys well into their 60’s. The girls that behave like Miley Cyrus do so because they want to attract men. And it works.
A few days ago a mom blogger wrote a letter to her daughter entitled “Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you.” Well, I have a daughter, and I echo this woman’s sentiments. But I also have a son, and I don’t want the boys to get off the hook here. My little man isn’t old enough to read yet, but one day he will be, and one day I’ll give him this letter. I don’t know if he’ll get the Robin Thicke reference at that point, but the message, I suspect, will still be urgent and relevant:
Don’t let Robin Thicke be a lesson to you.
Don’t let any of these pigs and perverts you see on TV be a lesson to you. They treat women like garbage; they possess no chivalry, no self control; they are disloyal and dishonest; they spend all day pursuing pleasure at the expense of others, and they encourage you to do the same. You might be tempted to follow suit. In fact, you WILL be tempted. These male pop stars and celebrities, look at them, you’ll think. They take advantage of emotionally broken, self loathing, confused young women, and they are rewarded handsomely for it. Look at their nice clothes and their nice cars. Look how they are admired and loved. Look, they treat women like trash and other women fawn all over them because of it. This must be how real men behave, you’ll think.
And you’ll be wrong. You’ll be wrong about a lot of things in life — this is what it means to be human — but never will you be more wrong than when you feel the temptation to buy the lies that pop culture sells about the nature of true masculinity. Son, there is nothing glamorous or fun about being a man of low character and no integrity. What you see on TV is a facade. It’s a sales pitch. It’s poison. You see the bright lights and the sexy women, but you don’t see what happens when the cameras are off and these pop culture gods return to their lives as mere mortals. You don’t see them in their big, empty, lonely houses. You don’t see the emptiness in the pit of their souls. You don’t see all the alcohol and drugs they have to use to dull the pain of living a life devoid of real, committed relationships. You don’t see the hatred they have for themselves and for humanity. You don’t see the jealousy they have towards normal, decent men.
Your dad is no celebrity. He’s just an average, boring guy. But he’s got something that every famous and non-famous womanizer envies: He’s got the love and commitment of ONE beautiful, smart, faithful woman. He’s got your mom, and he’ll only have your mom until the day he dies. He ought to be waking up every day shouting praises to the Lord because of that.
Listen, son, don’t let the world tell you how to be a man. They don’t know anything about the subject.
Men are loyal. Men are honest. Men respect and honor women. A man goes out and finds one woman, and he vows to protect and love her for the rest of his life. A man would never betray that vow. Even the weakest and most cowardly man — if he is a man at all — would die for the woman he loves. Your dad is no hero, but let someone try to hurt your mom and watch him suddenly turn into Superman (or Batman, whichever you prefer).
See, son, you don’t have to be big and strong to be a man, although I think you will be one day. You don’t have to be “cool” or athletic. You don’t have to play guitar or fix cars. These are all fine things, but they don’t define a man. A man is defined by how he treats women, by how he keeps his promises, and by how he protects and serves the ones he loves. That’s what makes a man a man. My dad taught me that, he taught it by example. I pray I can do the same for you.
Oh, and by the way, if I ever catch you disrespecting women, I will sit you down and talk to you about it. But first I’ll kick your butt up and down the street. That’s a promise.
Your old man