Mommy, What’s Twerk Mean?

AMC_8259Read the tweets and Facebook statuses of millions for the last two days if you’re confused by the Blog Title. And to be honest, I have no intention of rehashing the general schools of thought circulating, but I will tell you that they tend to side with shock and embarrassment; wow, you go girl; or same old, same bold.

I find it interesting that Miley Cyrus’ twerking got labeled tasteless by some, because Robin Thicke, the artist performing while Miley did her thang, is a dad and a husband. Last I heard, Miley’s still engaged to Liam Hemsworth. And according to those oh so reliable Hollywood reporters, Paula Patton, Robin’s wife, barely batted an eyelash.

So what’s my point, you might ask? The thing is, Miley is not the first and she won’t be the last. To go viral on YouTube, provide countless hours of talk-show discussion,  or feed stand-up comics with fresh material. I was in middle school when radio stations began playing Madonna’s song “Like a Virgin” every hour, on the hour.

“What’s a virgin?” I whispered to a friend at recess.

“You don’t know what a virgin is?” She said. Loud enough for the whole sixth grade class to hear.

This was back when life education films were shown a tad later than they are nowadays. I seriously did not know what a virgin was. That’s why I asked. Never expected to get the answer the way I did, but learn I did, on the school playground.

Because there are some topics we just didn’t talk about at home. And just returned from Aarohan, a weekend conference put on by Manavi to bring together South Asian Women’s Organizations from all over the country to converse and collaborate on how to end Domestic Violence. So yes, the topics of women and how they’re viewed and healthy relationships are fresh on my mind. Which is why I decided to write my two cents on the whole Miley craze.

Jump on the bandwagon. Have your laughs. Or not. Tweet and retweet as you wish. And decide for yourselves if last night’s VMA performances were appropriate for a national audience. You’re going to anyway.

But if you’re a parent, I highly encourage you to not shy away from such huge social media moments. Your kids, especially the older ones with Social Media accounts, are all aware of what happened on TV last night, even if you didn’t sit down as a family and watch it.

Bottom line: Talk to your kids. Ask questions. Start the conversation. And listen. Because we were all there once. Teens turning the corner into adulthood, trying to find ourselves, our identities, our way. Talk about what defines beauty. What do healthy relationships look like? What’s okay to do when you’re single, engaged, married? And remind your kids that you love them. Really. If they don’t get it at home, they’ll certainly go looking for attention elsewhere.

Truth is, the why in the equation matters less and less to me these days. There could be a number of reasons why Miley chose to do what she did. As a mother, I care more about finding ways to teach my girls how to filter and process through a lens of their own. One that affirms them as soon to be women. And lets them know they’re accepted. Cherished. Beautiful. Loved.

Never thought we’d be talking to our kids about some of this stuff so early, but then again, never thought we’d be teaching them a “code” word in case they’re in a public place and a stranger with a gun shows up. Important thing is we’re talking to our kids.

Talk to yours.



And you? My girls are thirteen and under. I’m sure the conversations are different with older teens and adult children. Throw in your tweet cents. What’s for dinner in your house tonight?




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2 thoughts on “Mommy, What’s Twerk Mean?

  1. To starting the conversation, and keeping it going! Mommy java *clink clink* :) Thanx for popping by, Lindsay! Appreciate your courage and fresh take on the whole thing.

  2. Raj, I couldn’t agree more about being unafraid to talk to our children about these cultural happenings, even if they’re simply “pop cultural” happenings and our first instinct is to shield them from it.

    Right after I posted my blog about Miley being unshocking, I sat down with my two sons and daughter and clued them in on the hullabaloo and what I had to say about it. A bit awkward at first, since they’re not old enough for social media and they’re homeschooled so they’re not hearing about it on the playground, either. But it ended up being an opportunity to talk to my sons about valuing women as more than objects, and talking to my daughter about being a precious child of God and finding her sense of worth in that fact. That conversation spurred me on to address the separate, but linked, issue of Robin Thicke on my blog the following day, highlighting the rather unshocking (but incredibly sad) commodification of women so prevalent in American pop culture. And we think we’re so progressive…

    I wish I didn’t have to have these conversations with my kids. But if I don’t, who will? The answer to that question is frightening enough to push me out of my comfort zone.

    Thanks for the great thoughts!