There is a lot of hidden judgment in writing. I have a BA in English and one part of literary analysis is researching the author and trying to see how their life and their culture affected their writing. However, it works the other way too, one can read someone’s work and see a lot about the author and how they feel about things and that’s where the judging really comes through.
I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit it, but I read a lot of fanfiction. The type I read most and am most up front about is Harry Potter fanfiction – all of it Hermione centric, sometimes crossovers with Hermione and Sherlock, Doctor Who, Supernatural etc. The next is slightly more embarrassing: Twilight fanfiction. My typical pairing is Jasper/Bella, but I have been known to read some AU Edward/Bella. The last is the worst because I didn’t even like the TV show that much, but I shamefully admit to reading Glee fanfiction, and I fully support Puckleberry.
The reason I bring this up is because in a lot of stories, authors try to convey the idea that Rachel’s dads aren’t enough for her, that she needs a woman around and that she feels her life is incomplete without a mom. And to be honest, despite the whole Shelby storyline, ( ok, I watched the show a little) I feel like a lot of that is projection. Glee is kind of a joke, there are a shit ton of things wrong with that show, but one thing they did right was exploring homosexuality in an open and accepting manner. These authors aren’t even being blatantly homophobic, so it’s harder to call out. What they are doing is buying into the idea that a family has to fit the 1950’s ideal in order for the kids to grow up feeling normal and fulfilled which is total bullshit. There are kids with no parents who are better adjusted then some people with two straight parents.
I started thinking about this topic when I read an open letter a mom wrote her daughter about how Miley Cyrus was disgusting and she wouldn’t let her daughter grow up like her (it was posted on Right Wing News, obviously – http://rightwingnews.com/celebrities/mom-writes-letter-to-daughter-about-miley-cyrus-now-its-going-awesomely-viral/) and I actually find this letter disgusting. To be honest, I find the entire open letter thing a little disconcerting because the whole point of them is to pretend to approach someone in a polite manner while really just scolding them publicly. The point of this women’s letter is something that she’s condemning Miley for – attention. Why bring Miley into it at all?
Do I know Miley Cyrus? No. I have absolutely no fucking idea what’s she’s like or who she is as a human being. I only know what she shows the world, and I have absolutely no problem with it. I literally grew up watching Miley on TV – I have seen every single episode of Hannah Montana and I used to know almost all of her music. Was it disconcerting when she changed? A little. Was it any of my fucking business? No, not really. The reason this letter sparked so much for me is because it says so much more about this mom than it does about who Miley Cyrus is – just as this post probably says more about who I am than who the mom is.
First of all, “acting like a lady” is ridiculous. Let’s not place girls on pedestals and act like they have certain standards to live up to purely because of their gender. I mean could this lady be more sexist?
Second, lets get real: all Miley Cyrus has done is get a little naked and a little stoned and she has been getting a world of Hatred thrown at her. No one is sitting there and telling her she’s awesome and perfect. The mom is teaching her daughter a lesson at someone else’s expense, teaching her that tearing someone else down is ok, acting like famous people are just objects. What she should be doing is saying look at how that Miley girl acts proud of who she is even though people like me make it hard to be, that’s what I’d be proud for you to emulate from this girl.
Some of what this mom tells her daughter is great, like not basing your self-worth on how many Instagram followers you have, but it’s lost amongst the Miley bashing and ridiculous threats. People online are applauding this woman, saying that Miley is gross and this mom is right to say what she’s saying, but I really don’t think that she is. If my mother ever told me that she would smack any boy that I grinded against and she would put my ass on the floor if I danced a certain way, I wouldn’t feel loved, respected or trusted, I would feel unsafe and a little violated. Telling your kids not to make certain choices is vastly different from telling them to make good choices, because she’s not telling her to be with boys who respect her or to dance in a way that’s fun instead of a way that’s expected of her, she’s telling her not to be with boys at all and to not dance in a certain way because it’s not proper. Instead of saying yes, I see this role that society expects you to play and I want you to believe in yourself and who you are and be who you want to be, she’s saying be who I want you to be.
What I see in this letter is a woman who thinks that other women should be put in their place, that their parents should control them and that they should allow society to dictate who they are and what they should be. That they should be ashamed of their sexuality and that they should grow up being someone their parents would approve of rather than who they want to be. Fuck that.
(This has little to nothing to do with Romance novels, but whatever, no one reads this shit anyway. It’s more so I don’t go getting all dramatic and angsty on Facebook)