So Miley Cyrus has a new video out for her song “Wrecking Ball“.

After a bunch of hoopla in the general media, I decided to watch the video myself.

Honestly? I think 98% of the video is absolutely gorgeous. Her staring at the camera, pale face with red lips and that hair? Beautiful, with and without the tears. Her swinging on the wrecking ball? It’s metaphorical, and it’s powerful. 

Yes, I could do without the licking the sledgehammer and some of the more overt sexy moments…..but let’s not forget – she’s 20. She’s at that age when many women want to feel they are sexy and wanted, and want their femininity and sexuality acknowledged.

She is beautiful, and I never really thought that before. Her video reminds me, to some degree, of Gwen Stefani in “Underneath it all”. It also reminds me of the ground-breaking artists before Miley – Britney and Madonna kissing, Madonna’s early career, Shania Twain’s ‘daring’ midriff-baring, Lady Gaga’s….entire public life.

She’s a young woman, testing boundaries and exploring herself. If you aren’t interested, don’t watch. If your kids see it, use it as an opportunity to discuss the differences between artists and real people, media and real life, and your expectations of them.

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Saved by the Bell

My name is 4 letters away from being Kelly Kapowski. This makes me both happy, yet incredibly sad at the same time. I’m still a Kelly, and still an -owski…so close, yet so far away.

Saved by the Bell was a fantastic show. I think it ran a bit too long (the college years were just a disaster), but for kids on the edge of middle school and moving into that realm of puberty and first loves, it hits the spot.

Zach’s love for Kelly was always pure and simple at its core; he got into a lot of selfish schemes and made some risky moves, but he always came back to that love. Kelly, of course, was pure and innocent and a twee naive. She always believed the best of Zach until she couldn’t, she always gave second chances, and she was always happy and smiling.

I like to think I’ve become my own version of Ms. Kapowski – I am always smiley and cheerful, and patient and giving-of-chances with other people. I was a cheerleader (but have never been in a trio singing group prancing in spandex). I was not popular with the boys, but I did have a crush on a boy named Zach. I also did not have feathered bangs or a collection of neon – but I do have an impressive arsenal of neon now, and I have rocked a heavy bang once or twice in college.

I hope there’s still a few DVD sets around when I finally have kids on that cusp of puberty and excessive teen emotion/angst. The simple shows like Saved by the Bell, Wonder Years, Boy Meets World….they provide a really simple, truthful, and optimistic (but still honest) group of lessons about getting older and navigating a harsh world. I don’t know if they will still be relevant in another 18 years or so, since Zach’s amazing cellular phone is already way out of date, but I hope so.

I hope I teach my children…

First, the confession: I am in the midst of a fertility battle. It’s been ongoing. It’s painful. I hope, I fall, I pray, I am sometimes angry. Above all, I am confident my life will unfold exactly as it should. I am not now a mother, but I would love to be.

I grew up with wonderful parents. I never worried about finances, food, shelter, education, etc.

My father was amazing: He was an inspiration of how working hard and sacrificing can create a better life for your family. How being passionate and having jobs you love will make you happy, make you successful, and will pay off in the long run. How we should never, ever, stop learning. And for goodness sake, if you like to write, write!

My mother was amazing: she was a stay-at-home mom, and of course more involved in our day-to-day lives. She is very smart, and she also has wonderful common sense. She approaches things from a point of logic, a point of ‘do it well’, a point of ‘get it done and move on.’ I admire those traits, and as I move forward every day, every year, I appreciate every moment when I think “My gosh, I am my mother!”

No matter how wonderful my parents were, and are, there were still moments/years when I, as a kid, screwed up. And honestly, when I say “screwed up”, I mean I endured and learned. I learned so much.

When my first boyfriend was having emotional affairs with my best friend, I learned how painful love can be, how conflicted we, as humans, can be, and how easily emotions and feelings can be manipulated.

When I realized my best friend was in an emotional affair with my boyfriend, I realized how incredibly horrible deceit and betrayal can be; I also learned not to trust people, to expect the worst from people, and to withhold the sacred parts of my feelings, thoughts, and emotions.

Those two scenarios happened before I was 16, by the way. The after years were even messier, with me dumping him without a single tear, then us coming back together a few months later, trying to figure out what flaws I must have for him to find me “lesser”. For 18 months, I lost a lot of weight. I gained weight back. I slept a lot. I didn’t sleep for days. I became a nail picker/biter. I obsessively manicured my nails. I focused on how I looked, and how boys reacted; I wandered around in baggy pants and shirts.

The point, ultimately, that I am trying to somehow reach, is that kids need space, time, and forgiveness. I fortunately grew up in a Facebook, Twitter less world. We had Geocities webpages, AOL Instant Messenger; we didn’t have Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and blogs.

Let kids rebel, safely. Rein them in. Know what your kids are doing online, but grant them the freedom to make (certain) mistakes. Teach them how to recognize when other kids need help, when other kids are making mistakes, and when online presence crosses the line.

FYI If you’re a teenage girl – rebuttal

A Mrs. Hall recently posted a blog lecturing girls on “inappropriate” photographs. Her blog also featured a number of pictures of her sons, all topless at the beach.  She later chickened out and replaced the photographs with full-covered pictures.

The fact, however, remains: Mrs. Hall is lecturing teenage girls on the dangers of their bodies and their sexuality. It appears girls, and only girls, are responsible for corrupting young men. She blatantly approves judging others based solely on their physical appearances. Mrs. Hall even comments – “it appears that you are not wearing a bra.”

Eye rolls aside, Mrs. Hall exemplifies a sad excuse for a mother. Thank goodness she has only boys. I would be horrified to think what lessons she would instill in daughters

We should teach our children to judge others based on their personalities and behaviours, not on their breasts. 

We should teach our children to accept others, and to realize there are boys and girls in this world who are not guided by loving, caring parents.

Our children should respect every individual’s right to express him or herself, whether that be with a duck-lip awkward selfie, poetry, athletics, or drawing doodles in the margins of math homework.

Mrs. Hall says she likes seeing things through girls’ “unique and colorful lens”, but then asks them to censor, filter, and edit themselves….so as not to tempt her precious sons.

I’d ask Mrs. Hall to censor herself: before passing judgement on young girls, why not teach your own kids to be models of tolerance, virtue, and open-mindedness?

Here is the edited post (she removed the photos of her half-clothed sons) – http://givenbreath.com/2013/09/03/fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/

Here are several other rebuttals:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-cruz/fyi-if-youre-a-condescend_b_3869877.html
http://rationalfaiths.com/wrong-message-a-response-to-fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/