I can't say I would do the same things, but I might have metaphorically speaking. Miley Cyrus is today's most recent modern day metaphor for the historic struggle for women to be recognized for intelligence and their voice.
If a man were to ride a wrecking ball shirtless (we would not say topless), we would not object. In fact, we would probably admire the vision as long as it was well defined. Or we would laugh.
Sinead O'Connor recently weighed in on this topic because she said she was being repeatedly asked for a statement by the media.
"I wasn't going to write this letter, but today I've been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon you having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares . . . So this is what I need to say . . And this is being said in the spirit of motherliness and with love." sinead-o-connor-open-letter-miley-cyrus
The gist of her message is that she not prostitute herself for the pop music industry and to care for herself. I love the final line where she says "Kindly fire any mother##@%#$# who hasn't expressed alarm, because they don't care about you."
As I read Ms. O' Connor's dissertation to Ms. Cyrus, I was thinking the message not only applies to the pop industry. It applies to every part of life where women tread. I also believe that women have the balance of power. We must, or we would not be at risk.
There is a history as old as time and story telling that confirms my suspicion. From Shakespeare to the corporate pond to the music industry, women are the motivators, the creators, the innovators and the life givers. Women are also judged, punished and measured in a way that men are not.
Years ago, I studied Shakespeare. I observed that his women characters were the teachers of the truths that were imbedded in the plots, brought to life as heroines, instigators, witches and victims. There was the daughters of King Lear, two of whom conspired against their father, while the third who conspired for goodness. The witches of MacBeth reflect the turmoil of McBeth's soul, and the murdering soul of his mother, Lady MacBeth. Juliet of the Romeo and Juliet was the victim of her own romantic notion that led her to take her own life. Othello's Desdemona represented good and innocence in an otherwise nasty plot that I can't help but notice resembles the business world. Ironically, during the time of Shakespeare, women were not allowed in the theatre, and their parts were played by men.
As I have said to my daughters many times over, as women we carry the balance of power, and we need to know that and understand how to use it for good. I used to joke that there was a little bit of witch in all of us, because my mother had the uncanny ability to know everything.
Does that mean we should shave our heads and ride a wrecking ball in the nude. Maybe if it serves a noble intention. First, I can only imagine how cold that would have been, but possibly liberating for her. Is it possible that Miley Cyrus is expressing herself intentionally and artistically and not being swayed by her industry? It's interesting that the wrecking ball is swaying, and she is controlling its path. Are we taking away her voice by telling her what to say and to say it?
I believe that we each need to be aware of who we serve in our actions and that we own our voice. As a woman in the business world, I can attest to the fact that we are measured differently than our counterparts. We are powerful and awesome and that makes us dangerous to some, and therefore at risk. That seems harsh to say, but it is true, especially if the person on the other side of the table is threatened by a woman.
My wish for all women of all ages is that we take the time to understand our greater purpose and intention with the view of being kind to oneself, allowing for imperfections and seeing imperfections as distinctions and not blemishes, learning to say the word "no", expecting to be valued for the work and talent and to expect unabashedly to be paid accordingly.
And if after that, should the strategy of straddling a wrecking ball, physically or metaphorically be appropriate, then go for it, and own the moment of breaking through, and be the wrecking ball.