Last Sunday, at the MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus simulated masturbation with a giant foam finger, grabbed her crotch, rubbed herself against a man old enough to be her father, pretended the man was performing anal sex on her, and walked around in a nude latex bikini. Her mother loved it. So did her manager. Millions of young girls and guys loved it as well.
Next month, the Miss World pageant will be held in Indonesia. Some Muslims are urging the government to cancel the event. According to the leader, Riziek Shihab, “The Miss World pageant is only an excuse to exhibit women’s body parts.”
Who are the real feminists? Miley’s fans? Or the Muslims? If debasing women is the yardstick, the Muslims win.
A perusal of the websites of the National Organization for Women and The Feminist Majority yields nothing about Miley, nor even a word about sexploitation. However, there is a great deal of commentary on abortion and lesbianism.
In this regard, the Catholic position is instructive.
Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, was a clarion call to men and women: today’s culture allows men to sexually exploit women, cheapening relations between them. Pope John Paul II spoke eloquently about the commodification of sexuality, offering us a “Theology of the Body.”
We don’t have to agree with those who want to ban beauty pageants to know that their concerns are not trivial, especially in a day and age when Miley (and her dutiful mother) may be lurking right around the corner.