Do We Act Like Miley Cyrus?


miley

Miley Cyrus’ recent performance at the Video Music Awards is modern love in microcosm.

Yes, it’s true. Within the nightmarish teddy bear choreography and foam finger make-out session is the dynamic of today’s romantic relationship.

Let’s get this out of the way: There is little that hasn’t been said about Miley Cyrus’ performance. It was awful, but its awfulness isn’t something worthy of debate. It’s the one thing everyone agrees upon. Virtually no one is willing to try and defend it.

This post isn’t about bashing Miley, I actually feel bad for her. It has been correctly pointed out that Miley was merely following the dictates of the culture. Our culture praises the individual who is not merely comfortable with their sexuality, but so enamored by it that they are compelled to display it whenever possible. And we’d better like it or we’re troglodytes. I get it. No situation is above “sexing up.”

Unfortunately I am not shocked by Miley Cyrus’ behavior, and I’m certainly not threatened by it. This is not another missive on the perils of immodest dress.

It would be easy to say that sexually infused behavior and provocative dress is a cry for attention, and that people become addicted to that behavior. That is true, but there is a little more going on here than that.

Miley Cyrus is in a relationship with her public, and they demand provocative displays or their interest wanes. They’ll move on to a more sexually overt act if she doesn’t keep upping the ante. Witness Lady Gaga being upstaged by Cyrus at the VMA awards. The public always wants new and more provocative spectacles. There are few things sadder than an aging vamp trying to maintain her sex appeal, unless it’s a once-edgy vamp who wants to be taken seriously as an artist.

So, as the hot young thing on the scene, if Miley Cyrus wants to steal and keep that attention she has no choice but to out-edge her last performance. Her music is hardly memorable. To keep the adoration of her public, she must show a little more of herself each time. She must promise a little more with each display.

This is what a relationship is like when it is based on raw emotion. Without a foundation of something more real, it’s only a matter of time before attention wanders and the body follows. Trying to maintain our hold on a partner by stoking sexual feelings (or any kind of feeling) almost inevitably leads to physical expressions that cross the line. After that, premarital sex is probably a given.

It’s tempting to think that premarital sex is not a problem for two people who are deeply in love, but reality does not bear this out. Sex creates a bond and when that bond is reinforced through repeated connection, it clouds the vision. We end up staying with partners who are not good marriage prospects because breaking that bond is painful. Long after we should have parted ways, we find ourselves living together. After that we drift into marriages that are not based on affirmative, deliberate steps. We know we were in love at some point, but since we no longer “feel” in love we are confused. What could have gone so wrong?

I’ve often heard men complain that they pursued a woman that they were nuts over, only to have the whole thing fall apart time and time again. I’m willing to bet that they were not pursuing the hearts of these women. I’m willing to say that they felt an attraction, spent time and money trying to keep her attention, and then when it looked as if it wasn’t going to work out they blamed the woman for “playing games.”

Women will often base their self-worth on the attention they get when they accentuate their sexuality, whether through clothes or actions. Once a relationship has begun, it often leads to sex. Much of the time the relationship does not survive because when the thrill of the sexual chase is gone, the man moves on. The woman is bewildered, and she is hurt because her self-worth has taken a blow.

When we base our self-worth on physical attraction or conquest, it leads to an endless cycle of relationships based on illusion. I was in my forties before I stopped chasing after women based almost solely on how I felt when I was around them. I often felt I was in love, but had no idea what love really was. It’s no mystery why single men in their 40s chase women in their 20s. It’s no mystery why single women in their 40s often dress and act (and talk) the way they did in their 20s. Both scenarios have a whiff of desperation.

So the next time we feel compelled to criticize Miley Cyrus’ desperate attempts at remaining desirable, we should ask ourselves: have I done anything recently that was deliberately provocative? Have I acted in a way that was designed to gain attention, and was my action unchaste? Is my relationship based on mutual respect and the desire to discern whether or not we are moving toward marriage, or is it based on what I am getting in terms of emotional or sexual satisfaction?






15 Comments

  1. Constance-954726 September 1, 2013 Reply

    great article.

  2. Rachel-731570 September 1, 2013 Reply

    Great insight into a common cause of sadness and disappointment in relationships.

  3. Cathy-564420 September 1, 2013 Reply

    Excellent article and so true about the pressures of young artists. It all started with Madonna who thankfully has grown out of provocative and more modesty. There are fabulous pop-star entertainers that don’t have to sell their bodies and self esteem for higher ratings or applause and I truly believe the majority of society have more respect for them, or at least I hope so.

    This was a well-thought article and does relate to how relationships end quickly or if treated with reference and respect have long-lasting, trusting components where true love can be formed.
    Thanks for posting.

  4. Lesley-976668 September 1, 2013 Reply

    This article has profound insight and I like how our weaknesses in relationships were exposed as a reflection of pop culture media.

  5. Lynea-297530 September 1, 2013 Reply

    Look, a woman would be hurt if they were pious and did NOT sin and were tricked into thinking that the man was virtuous. Virtuous woman are not made of steel, they have a body and a soul, they just choose to honor God and the fact that He made them. If a man is after the chase regardless, he will move on even if the woman is virtuous. This is what Pope John Paul II taught in about utilitarianism. BOTH parties have to have virtue. The strength of a relationship depends largely on the virtue of the man. Modesty, chastity, purity on the whole is necessary even just to honor God, let alone discern His holy will. Which makes me wonder, Why was the author watching such a program that had something demonic on it like what he described? Why would even unholy curiosity not be an issue? If one truly wants to be pure, shouldn’t they mind what things like their recreational activities?

  6. Lynea-297530 September 1, 2013 Reply

    Why does any practicing Catholic care about Myle Cirus (whatever her name is) anyway? Why would they have watched such a horrible thing as described?

  7. Phillip-672135 September 2, 2013 Reply

    Outstanding read. Wonderful insight

  8. Geneve-523250 September 2, 2013 Reply

    Great article. It is so true. It always is better to look into ourselves and check our dirty laundry before lashing out at others. Well done!

  9. Charles-211696 September 2, 2013 Reply

    I have a difficult time following your use of the word “we,” when your missive appears to be almost completely directed at women. I would find your argument more compelling had you offered an example of how a famous man engages in such behavior. Yes, you did offer yourself as an example. It is commendable that you identify the error in your own ways, but you are hardly as famous as Ms. Cyrus. Instead, you point out the splinter in your [sister's] eye.

    Interesting questions in your last paragraph. However, there is a far superior set of questions to ask,
    “‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
    When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
    When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’” (Mt 25:37-39)

    I think if _we_ were to focus on these questions, _we_ wouldn’t get so caught up in the lasciviousness of the world around us, and the world would be a better place.

  10. Joe-786218 September 3, 2013 Reply

    Will say this much: this is why chastity still means something: it is because the sexual bonding that takes place should be taking place in marriage. But instead it’s happening outside of marriage, the frequency with which it happens often dilutes the depth and quality of future bonding, and both men and women are affected adversely in this way. Now many of us are fallen in this respect and while we may have confessed that sin to God among others, that does not relieve us from the temporal consequences of having bonded elsewhere which are something to watch out for should we try matrimony again.

  11. Jennifer-369467 September 3, 2013 Reply

    This is so true. Great article. Dating and sex often end up going hand in hand today and it can be difficult to maintain those boundaries.

  12. Dominic-981542 September 4, 2013 Reply

    Erik . .one of the reasons i don’t care to say to much is because there’s always more to be said . . I respect your views & hate to criticize any one person’s effort to share some think . . as I can see you already have been criticized.
    As for “Miley Cyrus” . . she is more of a victim of this worlds way of thinking . . I’m sure if her mind was open to understanding the right & wrongs she would most likely change her ways.
    I think i said this before . . No man should have to Pursue the heart of a woman . . it becomes like there’s rules to win some body over . . then it becomes a competition among men over a female . . And what respect has in it self . . will have no value & count for nothing .

    And I’m speaking from some one who never pursued or chased women for sex my entire life but always had a lot of respect for them including those who have no respect in them selves because they may not have known better or had a chance in there growing up environment .

  13. Ryan-937385 September 5, 2013 Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes it’s really difficult to maintain this point of view while you are surrounded by “worldly views” day in and day out. It was really refreshing to read this. Living God’s way is certainly not always the easy way, but the way that leads us to the truth. The truth will set us free!

  14. Ian-974430 September 8, 2013 Reply

    Great post Erik, you had some great insights into today’s modern world.

  15. Lesley-971639 March 1, 2014 Reply

    You forgot to mention that she made a pact with Satan and is involved in the Satanic rituals of Hollywood elitists. Her family sold her out for fame before she was born and now she is totally controlled by the elitists. I am glad that you brought up this trashy, nasty, whore because as Catholics we wonder why we are single? When whores like this are promoted and glorified and men and women are brainwashed to believe this is acceptable behavior? Keep in mind, she is targeting young adults, teens, and adolescents. Promoting premature sexual promiscuity, child porn, public displays of sexual nature, and Demonic ritual onstage for all to see.

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