There’s so much to say about the fact that a phallic crotch grab can basically derail the universe. And I’m sort of stewing a bit in processing the swirling of intersecting notions in my head. But I’ll try to break it down a bit.
I think first and foremost Miley at the VMAs was a performance and I’m pretty sure that Miley and MTV are laughing and champagne cheersing all the way to the bank over the hub-bub of basically a regurgitation of every other MTV Video Music Awards “scandalous” show ever.
If you listen to words they will basically tell you all you need to know:
“It’s our party we can do what we want to.”
Here’s what Miley tweeted not that long ago:
So to them it’s a win.
Miley Cyrus belongs to the YOLO generation. Do what you want when you want and don’t GAF about the consequences. You Only Live Once.
So that’s part of it.
The other part is some of the world finds that offensive. and raunchy. and weird. And then there’s this crossover of- is Miley not acting her proper gender or race with her crotch grabs and her twerking and gold teeth and the leaning back and the tongue waggling and sexually aggressive attitude and hints at drug use. Oh, and then there’s the slashing and burning of the caricature of who you thought was Hannah Montana, childhood star.
Miley hasn’t been Hannah for years. Let’s move on.
It’s a bit of the old feminist critique that raunchy can’t be empowering and on the other side being criticized by the propers that she’s too sexy and too suggestive to be a lady. And of course this must be the final straw that sends the next generation to hell in a hand basket. *sarcastic face* And then there’s this double standard that many men- mainly male rappers/performers and even the women around them do the same or worse.
And if you think about it- does one little dance really deserve this much uproar?
There’s this part of me that shudders at the notion that we are tearing her down for being sexy or quirky or not feminine and proper enough. Tearing a young woman to shreds for a costume choice. For performing an act, or a dance on stage that was probably choreographed by whoever and styled by whoever.
It’s also that we feel the need to knock down liberated free or powerful women a notch or two and say that they can’t possibly like being sexy or like acting raunchy; that they are a product of a failed society. Madonna, Salt-N-Pepa, Britney, Gwen Stefani, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, TLC, Rihanna, Lil’ Kim, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Christina Aguilera, Kei$ha, Josephine Baker, and yes Miley Cyrus. (I’m forgetting some, I’m sure of it). By the way, I’ll insert here that twerking is not a new phenomenon. You just hadn’t heard about it until now. Black hip-hop culture has been doing it for at least 20 years. African dancers have been doing it for much longer. I also think Miley and many performers are borrowing things from a whole handful of performers of the past. I think things are just too conglomerated right now in entertainment to accuse her of stealing things or stealing cultural acts.
We’ve seen this all before, criticizing women entertainers that is. And every time we have this same conversation.
Many of the feminists (as well as the general public) that are/ will be criticizing Miley say that raunchy women have basically been tricked by society into thinking overtly sexy is powerful. On the other hand, “Lipstick feminists” think that things like stripping and crotch grabbing are empowering. So there’s a disagreement on whether she really did anything wrong.
I lean towards the notion that women deciding who they want to be trumps the criticism that they must’ve been tricked into society to be that way. I also think in part her performance isn’t worth going gaga for days about. This sort of entertainment isn’t for every one. Neither is it geared towards the very young or the very old, so there’s a lot of the wrong demographic criticizing things they were never meant to enjoy. That all being said, I don’t want my daughter acting this way; but then again I don’t let my children watch MTV. Yet. As a parent you set boundaries when needed, so I’m not interested in “this isn’t appropriate for TV” argument, because put your kids to bed and it’s fine.
Sometimes I’m surprised by the continuation of us being shocked by entertainers that are trying to one-up whatever or whoever was talked the most about last. You’d think we’d be used to it by now.
You’d think that after Madonna kissed Britney or Janet showed her boob or Beyoncé gyrated a little too much we’d be over it. But apparently not. Meh.