Miley’s warped logic

Unless you live under a rock you will know by now that Miley Cyrus danced half naked on the stage of the VMAs, twerked all over the place, motorboated a black woman’s rear end and rubbed her own rear end on creepy rapist-eyes Robin Thicke’s crotch.

It is practically a ritual to have pop stars who are ‘all grown up’ perform provocatively in the VMAs. Britney did it, Christina did it, Rihanna did it. It’s really no surprise that Miley wanted to do it now that she is free from Disney’s claws. But she got it all wrong and ended up endorsing a culture of expectations and oppression women have to live with every day.

Many feminist bloggers hurried to defend Miley’s performance as an onslaught of slut-shaming was coming her way. It is wrong to shame a woman for being sexual and having control of her own body, but this isn’t what Miley was doing at all. As opposed to taking control, empowering her body, it looked as though she was giving her body away to the patriarchy.

“But the moment you use a man, who is fully dressed, as something to pole dance on… you are making him the focus of attention. You are there to please HIM. If she wanted to do something really radical, she would have demanded Robin Thicke also wear latex pants, and he could drop it to the floor once or twice for her perhaps… That’s fair. It’s a little close to porn, but it’s fair. But that would never happen would it? Why? Because Robin Thicke doesn’t feel the need to. The greatest performance of the night went to Justin Timberlake, who wore a hat and scarf over a full suit. A man who is a bonifide sex symbol, without ever having to demonstrate his “oral” skills. I’m yet to see Jay Z, Snoop Dogg or Kanye slut drop in a gold thong, shaking their testes against Katy Perry, Rihanna or Ellie Goulding… though, believe me, it would make my bloody day. The mere idea of it is preposterous, because we are a world unaccustomed to men selling sex to be noticed, quite the way women traditionally are known to. And who’s to say women wouldn’t do the same were the tables turned?” – Sexpression, by Jameela Jamil.

Another issue has been that the backlash has only focused on Miley when Robin Thicke was also onstage as the dominating male, singing a song that he admitted was written for the purpose of demeaning women. Let’s not forget that Thicke should feel ashamed of this and that Miley’s behaviour onstage was a direct, clear response to his song. The song that perpetuates rape culture, the song that implies ‘I know you want it’ is a good excuse for rape.

In a society where ‘Blurred Lines’ is the song of the summer it is unsurprising that Miley thinks she is expected to be sexual to get rid of her Disney kid reputation, that she is expected to give away her body and sexuality to the public. Her performance wasn’t shocking because she was half-naked, it was shocking because she doesn’t seem to understand what sexual empowerment is and is making a poor example of it to millions of young girls who admire her.

“Everything about Cyrus’ performance was as try-hard as a 14-year-old in the mall with tissues in her bra, rouge on her cheeks, and lipstick on her teeth,” – In Defence of Miley Cyrus, by Rich Juzwiak from Gawker.

Yes, this might be mean but it is true; and she is pretty much passing on the idea that you need to do this kind of thing to be taken seriously by society.

Another huge issue with Miley’s performance and music of late is her misappropriation of black culture. As The Belle Jar pointed out white feminists rushed to defend Miley’s right to be sexual but completely ignored the fact that she has a warped, stereotypical idea of what being a woman of colour actually means.

“Miley is doing her best to promote herself as a part of rachet culture, which Jody Rosen describes as “the potent sexual symbolism of black female bodies,” while simultaneously treating the black women in her videos and performances as props. She is taking elements of black culture and using them to give her the patina of street cred that she wants so badly. She is playing at being black without even trying to understand what the lived experience of being black really is. She is appropriating cultural elements without taking any time to reflect on her position of privilege and how her use of the term “ratchet” or her twerking are contributing to the oppression of black people.” – On Miley Cyrus and Racism, The Belle Jar.

I wrote about the idea that women of colour should be sexual yesterday. I can’t speak for them but if I was one of them I would be offended by the fact that Miley has appropriated black culture to give her more sexual credibility – enforcing the idea that women of colour should be sexual and that white women should be pure. And if you want to see how angry women of colour are I suggest you read the following quoted post.

“Here’s the thing: historically, black women have had very little agency over their bodies. From being raped by white slave masters to the ever-enduring stereotype that black women can’t be raped, black women have been told over and over and over again, that their bodies are not their own. By bringing these “homegirls with the big butts” out onto the stage with her and engaging in a one-sided interaction with her ass, (not even her actual person!) Miley has contributed to that rhetoric. She made that woman’s body a literal spectacle to be enjoyed by her legions of loyal fans.” – Solidarity is for Miley, Face Down Asgard Up.

Miley Cyrus’s attempt to show that she is a grown, sexually mature woman has failed in so many ways. Her understanding of black culture, sexuality, being a woman, rape culture, objectification, empowerment and emancipation is all wrong. Going back to Gawker’s mean words about her attitude on stage it is clear that she is still immature, with a poor understanding of the world around her. And that’s not her fault.

#MileyPuns just to lighten the tone


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2 thoughts on “Miley’s warped logic”

  1. Miley is 20. Had she not been an entertainer she would be, what, a college Junior? Or she’d be in the working world for maybe two years? She’s old enough for sex, technically old enough to marry but even if she was a regular woman she wouldn’t be quite grown. But she’s not a regular woman. As seems to be common with child stars socially she’s immature. So I definitely agree that she’s behaving more like a 14 year old who has no boundaries and wants to show everyone that she’s not a little girl. Not to malign 14 year olds, because most wouldn’t do this, but many, if they had riches and no one to embarrass or to say “no” to her would do a lot of stupid things. This is why there are rules and laws to protect kids, boys and girls, from themselves and the people who would expolit them. I kinda want to say to her, “Honey, that’s not what sex is all about. Most people are having it and enjoying it, it’s not new. And honey, you are not cool because you surround yourself with black female dancers and popular male performers who will let you fondle them in public.”

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