Miley Cyrus Wrecks Your Idea of Herself


So, I recently watched Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” video, and I gotta say … I know everyone’s still pissed about her VMA performance, and I have some feelings about that too, but this video on its own is actually really fucking good.

People have been saying it’s disturbing or cheap or trashy, and I disagree. Women wear skimpy clothing and dance provocatively in videos for male artists all the time. Every day, we see women in the media used as props to make the men around them look better. A woman’s beauty and sexuality are used as a marketing tool for cars, beer, web hosting, you name it. What people can’t stand is that in this video, Miley absolutely works her stuff in way that benefits herself instead of someone else. She’s getting naked to sing a song and sell some records. She’s making money. Yes, it’s shameless. It should be. If a man had *ahem* assets like that, you bet he’d be working it to sell some records. Why shouldn’t Miley?

I’m not saying I agree with everything the girl does. I think her VMA performance (along with her video for “We Can’t Stop”) was a disaster because it treated black women’s bodies as a joke. I wasn’t fond of the dancing with Robin Thicke because his whole damn song is about date rape. And I don’t approve of twerking not because it’s too sexual but because the mere thought of doing it makes my back hurt. Yeah, so what, I’m old.

Anyway, I’m not some die-hard Miley defender. I’m not really a fan of her music. I think she needs more sane adults in her life. But as for her music videos, I think the strong reactions people have to her are more indicative of our own hangups than something wrong with her. If it freaks you out that much to see a woman acting sexy without a man around, maybe you’ve got some shit to work through. If you’re afraid she’s sending the wrong message to young women, maybe think about what message you’d like your daughter to receive and then have an honest conversation about that. And of course, if you simply don’t like what you’re seeing, you have options. You could go make something better.


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I Love Cindy Gallop

Cindy Gallop phptographed by Kevin Abosch

“Because it is uncomfortable to work with women, because we are different from you. Women ask tough questions, they ask them in life and they ask them in business. /…/ Greatness comes out of discomfort. Hire women, champion women, promote women, spend time with women. It is not as comfortable as hanging out with the guys, but it’s going to be more productive.”
Cindy Gallop on why you need to hire women

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How the Fuck Do You Promote Yourself?

Photo by Jacek Tylicki

This is a problem I’m having. I thought maybe I could figure it out by writing about it because that’s how most things work for me. I’m thinking of Amanda Palmer and her TED talk on asking for support. Essentially, this is a “What Would Amanda Palmer Do?” post so … I don’t promise great results, as I’m still thinking this through.

As far as I can tell, AFP believes in making eye contact with people, offering them the human connection they need, and doing it in a way that people will be willing to pay you for, which is to say, artistically. I’m pretty sure that concept can be applied to any line of work. So what would Amanda Palmer do if she were a yoga teacher?

She would look you in the eye and say “Namaste,” no kidding, without a smirk of self-consciousness. She would listen to you with her heart, and she would write the absolute best and most beautiful stuff she could muster, and share as much as she could for free, and she would ask you to be part of it all.

Guys, what I’m saying is, I fucking love what I do, and yet I’m finding it hard to learn to promote myself. I get anxious about almost every post. When I tweet more than once a day about my blog, I wonder if I’m irritating everyone with my narcissism. Every time I post a poem, a terrified little part of me is on the verge of tears.

In other words, I would really like your help. I know I have a smallish contingency of consistent readers, and with the internet being as flooded with content as it is, it’s hard to get your voice heard without shouting. Frankly, I don’t like shouting, but if you believe like I do that this work has the potential to do real good, I think your help will make a difference. If you’re enjoying the posts here, please share them with your friends. If you’ve been curious about trying yoga, give the online class a try or come out to one of the studio classes.

And yes, there is donating. I’m not a charity, so I feel funny about that word, but that’s what Paypal calls it when you don’t put a price on your work.

Here’s the truth, though: I will do this work whether you pay me or not because I love it. My work means everything to me, and your engagement makes a difference. If you come to class, I’m that much more motivated to keep teaching, to create classes you will love, and to add more class options for those who want to try it. If you help me spread the word, I’m able to reach more people. And if you donate, I get to turn to my husband and say, “Thank you for supporting me. Here’s what I can give back.” Yes, I am in the extremely fortunate position of having a partner who believes in my work and pulls more than his fair share of the weight, but I would like to lighten his burden.

So, that’s where my heart is right now. All I want to do is this work. I would really love to have your support in whatever way you care to give it. I promise to keep teaching and writing my heart out and doing the best damn job I can. Thanks for being you and for being part of the journey.


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What Makes You Glow?

Ideas por doquier

“It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether our work fulfills us. If I offered you a choice between being an architect for $75,000 a year and working in a tollbooth every day for the rest of your life for $100,000 a year, which would you take? I’m guessing the former, because there is complexity, autonomy, and a relationship between effort and reward in doing creative work, and that’s worth more to most of us than money.”

-Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers

Malcolm Gladwell’s books are changing the way I view success. This quote in particular reaffirms something I have known to be true for some time now. Work that is easy and pays well but is meaningless creates misery. That’s why I’m so willing to work my tail off as a yoga teacher and a writer — these things are meaningful to me.

When I finish teaching a yoga class, the students look calm, happy, sometimes even radiant. They say “thank you,” and they mean it. It’s truly rewarding.

When I finish writing a poem or essay, my brain feels a sort of happy exhaustion not too different from a post-orgasmic glow.

For a long time, I thought that working hard should be enough. I always heard that hard work could be satisfying, and in some ways it was. I was proud to say I’d been handed a series of seemingly impossible tasks and completed them with flying colors. But I still didn’t feel fulfilled by the work. Choosing to do the work that is meaningful to me was a major turning point.

My wish for you as we begin 2013 together is that you find meaning, joy, challenge, and inspiration. That you will do the work of your dreams and be radiant.

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