A parent recently flagged Miley Cyrus’ newest music video for her song, “We Can’t Stop”. This parent walked in on her twelve-year-old daughter watching the music video; the daughter quickly closed out the screen, but this mom pulled up the history right then and clicked on the video to watch it for herself. She was mortified by what she saw: the video was incredibly sexual, with lots of barely dressed, pretty young actresses, grabbing each other suggestively, grinding up against one another and nearly breaking out in a group make out in multiple pool scenes in rather transparent attire. Miley is licking and shaking and seems to be inviting someone to have sex with her. The mom described the video as “porn-like”.
Just this morning, the music to the video was serving as backup to a segment for the Today Show, and I would be shocked if the song doesn’t score well on the charts. It represents young, sexy, pornified and reckless young Hollywood, and it’s also a mix of content and lyrics that will appeal directly to tweens and teens.
When I was growing up, songs were sexual and music videos were too, but today, the videos are more explicit, more edgy and have more clear ties to pornography. Parents aren’t always monitoring vevo, YouTube, iTunes, MTV.com and the other sites that host music videos like these, but it’s my belief that videos like this are incredibly destructive to young minds and also often serve as an entry-point to pornography. So many of today’s music videos teach girls that their value rests in their ability to be thin, provocative and sexually available. Other “hot” summer songs include lyrics that suggest girls want sex, even when they are saying no, promote treating women like trash to be thrown away, and perpetuate violence and other forms of sexual abuse. Little girls and boys are going to be impacted by the content that they see, and they look up to pop super stars like Riana, Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus; when they see these videos, they want to be like these women, and that often means pushing the limit sexually.
An important action step for parents is to block or closely monitor the video content that your kids have access to. Recognize that today’s music videos are pretty close to yesterday’s pornography. Engage in regular conversations with your kids about their self worth, healthy sexual development and the content that they take in. Don’t leave it up to YouTube, Vevo, MTV, etc. to serve as your child’s sex educator—that’s your role and it’s time to take it back.