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Twerking?

August 28, 2013

I’ve reached the age where I become aware of pop culture terms only after they are all but passé to those who have been using them for ages.  I actually think there ought to be a law that says when a hip cultural word becomes commonly known to the 50+ crowd is officially “over” and can’t be used any more.  In that way I’d be saved from an endless effort of intellectual huffing and puffing to catch up.  I can hear the new hip word, nod politely, and then ignore it, secure in the knowledge that it is now going away.

The latest word to bubble its way up through the cultural soup and pop into my attention is twerking.  It first came to my notice a few months ago but I didn’t think about it much.  This week however it exploded across the media landscape, or at least that part of the media landscape that has commercials hawking Flomax, Cialis and Depends.  It started Monday when Miley Cyrus apparently did a vulgar display of twerking on the MTV music video awards.

Now it appears that the Oxford Dictionary, which seems to be at least as slow on the uptake as I am, has granted the word standing in its online edition.  For the record, and in the probably forlorn hope that there may be one person out there further behind the times than me, they define twerking as “dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.”  In a happy coincidence I’ve reached the age where I couldn’t possibly do that at exactly the time when nobody on the planet would want to see me try.

I suppose as a Christian blogger I need to come up with some moral head shaking over twerking and I must confess I feel the world would probably be a better place without it.  But it is here, is widespread in the culture, and we are unlikely to put that genie back into the bottle.  In fact, I suspect that if all we Christians get together and moralize about twerking it might well be like pouring gasoline on a fire.

My real concern however is for young Christians, particularly young women.  Short of going Amish there is little we can do hide them from this cultural reality.  But, Lord knows, many Christians are trying to do that.  My sympathies entirely lie with parents whose worst nightmare would be to see their child twerking on YouTube.

It seems however that our plan B, which is called the purity culture, while well-meaning, puts enormous pressure on young people precisely at the time when their hormones are raging at full speed.  It is as if we say to them you have two, and only two, choices.  You can follow our porn-driven culture in a sexual race to the gutter of provocative displays.  Or you can sit sweetly on the side, hiding your body lest it cause another to sin, denying the impulses within you as shameful, and accepting that even the slightest stumble is “being unfaithful to your future spouse” who you may never meet.

The odd result of this either/or choice is that we end up with Miley Cyrus strutting her sexual stuff without an ounce of guilt and Christian girls who used to watch Hannah Montana feeling shame because they let a guy kiss them.

This is the point where I am supposed to draw a neat conclusion wrapped in a bow of spiritual wisdom.  Sadly, I don’t have one.  All we can do is love our children and make sure they know it; give them as much guidance as we can on making wise choices; and make it clear that our hearts, and the heart of God, wants what is best for them and will go right on wanting that and loving them even if they stumble.

 

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