This "thing" will pass, but the comments our daughters hear us making about it will stick.
When my daughter was a sophomore, she came home one day and told me that there were some freshman girls going into the woods by the high school "getting on their knees" for senior boys. Some of the other girls at school were calling them names and saying they were "nasty sluts." Obviously this disturbed me and I was concerned. I was proud of my daughter and the relationship we have and I knew that my reaction to this was of paramount importance.
I chose my words wisely.
What I did not say to my daughter was "Those girls are attention seeking whores. Stay out of the woods or I'll judge you too." I talked to her, not at her. I did not write an open letter to her on my blog threatening to "duct tape [her] mouth shut" or push her down "for forgetting how a lady acts in public" if she ever acted that way. (The gross popularity of such a blog post might just be exactly where we're going wrong though...just saying.)
I asked my daughter instead why she thought those girls were doing that and then some more questions. I was proud when she told me about the stifling pressure she remembered feeling as a freshman. She recalled the worry that she wouldn't fit in with the "right crowd" to ensure a great four years without being tortured by bullies or outcasted by "the popular" crowd. She was able to identify with the feelings of girls in the woods and understand that although she chose to deal with them in different ways, she could understand the pain and motivation behind such behavior. This was not to say that she agreed with or condoned what they were doing, but could look at them with compassion rather than judgment. She could also decide whether or not she would join her friends in mocking these girls OR offer them friendship at no cost.
When I asked her what she thought about "this Miley Cyrus thing," she responded with this same compassion that she did that day. She said that while she did not personally appreciate the performance, it is sex that makes the money. When I asked her who decides what sells, she said, "We do."
Our daughters are not stupid. If we teach them how to have more compassion when observing others, perhaps they will judge themselves less harshly too.
Before we go judging girls like Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, or the next Disney star gone wild, let us keep in mind that every time we point a finger, there are three pointing back at us.
Are you part of the problem or the solution?