and other tales from our 20s.
(Make sure you scroll to the bottom to see more fantastic photos of me… being me…)
I have stuck my tongue out in a lot of photos. This is the only one where I’m not trying to “sexy lick” someone’s face…if there is such a thing as “sexy lick”… and I figured it wasn’t fair to include my friends in my confessionals without their permission.
I’m shocked by the amount of people who are shocked by anything Miley Cyrus does or says. Maybe no one remembers when Christina Aguilera went from
It seems like it took the girl 10 years to find the bottom half of her shirt. And with abs like that, why should she bother? Getting naked (or semi-naked) is nothing new.
Neither is overt experimentation with sexuality.
Maybe we have collective cultural amnesia when it comes to our starlets, and ourselves, growing up. But each time it happens someone cries “Outrage!” and accuses them of seeking attention.
Of course they are seeking attention. A) A lot of them became stars for just that reason. AND B) DO YOU REMEMBER BEING 20? The fact that you were changing into a woman was of the utmost importance and obviously (to no one but themselves) the only thing around anyone should pay any attention. If they couldn’t see all of the ways in which you had transformed, you were going to make sure they did. What screams, “I’m grown up,” more than a few tattoos or a leather bustier? Most of us were just as narcissistic.
It is often painful to watch. Those of us past the early 20s can shake our heads, knowing that in a few years these stars just might look at that video of them half-clothed grinding on a chair and wonder what the hell they were thinking. Even the most intelligent of us has inspired a friend to think, sometimes out loud, a big “AWKWARD”.
Not every celebrity follows the crowd. One exception I found during my search for the “I’m going to take off all my clothes and kiss everything that moves” formula for breaking out of child stardom was Janet Jackson (who no doubt has some sexy photos, they just happened more towards her 30s, which might be because celebrities didn’t really double as models until the 90s). However, the album she put out in her 20th year was full of songs with statements on sexuality. “Nasty” and “The Pleasure Principle” were included on the album, aptly named, Control. Because that’s what the reinvention is all about, gaining control of ourselves as an autonomous human being.
Redefining yourself is an intrinsic part of the late teens early twenties. Though some people start the transformation much younger due to their own maturity level or environmental factors, for most of us 18-22 is the time we begin to build our future. As a newly enrolled college student I looked forward to it. Some people go out and start a job or a family. You step out of high school and suddenly the people you grew up with are not around everyday to monitor your every move. You can be anyone you want to be.
Part of that reinvention inevitably revolves around sex and sexuality. In college, I had my own “place” (if you want to use that word very liberally to describe the tiny box I shared with another female), no curfew, very little rules and boys and girls were living in the same building (Coming out of an all girls school, I did not even know how to speak to a boy so most of this was wasted on me…). You might even see one standing next to you in the bathroom stall. It’s a heady time. Mix in alcohol and life just can’t seem to get any better.
If someone made a video of me dancing or flirting in college it would probably look a lot like Miley’s performance at the VMAs. My moves haven’t changed much from then to now. The difference is that now I fully occupy my body. I no longer execute spectacular mathematical routines made-up to solve the mystery of men. I seemed to honestly think that if I added the right amount of exposed midriff to the perfect lip part and threw in just enough sexy laugh that would equal boys falling at my feet. This real-time self-analysis is what made Miley look like she was trying to hard. Because she was. She was trying really hard.
I remember when Christina Aguilera left behind the dreads and came out all blonde-bombshell pin-up girl. That was her coming out, as a woman. She no longer had anything to prove to anyone. She occupied her body, clothed or not. The pictures that pop up in the search for Back to Basics tell a completely different story than Stripped. But she, and every other woman, had to get there on her own terms, even if the results do make us cringe.
It makes me extremely grateful that most of my experiments are but a memory. I am blessed that my first attempts at expressing my sexuality were not caught on film. My coming-of-age is not the subject of public ridicule. I never had to explain my terrible choices, I just had to live with them until I learned better. Even now, I’m gonna get a lil bit crazy when “Pour Some Sugar On Me” comes on.
This is not a discussion of whether these images are ok for our children or whether they should look up to these people as role models. That is for each parent to mull over and make an informed decision that I should have no say in. This is also not an apology or excuse and the other stars coming-of-age in the public eye, it may not be fair that they are so ruthlessly scrutinized, but that is part of the job-description. It is not a discussion of talent, accountability or appropriateness. It is simply stating something I, and many others, have noticed among our peers, VIP, IP or just a “lonely little P” (10 pts for anyone who catches the reference). Twenty-somethings sometimes act the fool.
Miley is nothing new. She’s not even special (don’t tell her mom). She is a 20 year old woman trying to figure out what being a woman in America today means. People have criticized her team, her parents, her PR. That all may factor in, but it is Miley making the ultimate decisions. It’s her party, she can do what she wants. And we all have the option of turning the power off.
Just for fun here are some pictures of me in my 20s…(they are hard to come by as a) I hate posing for pictures and b) I often prefer having fun over posing for pictures)