I know, I know, once again I’m seriously late to the party with this little bit of commentaire. However, having spent the week since that VMA’s performance re-watching the video and delighting in the looks of sheer horror on family Smith’s faces (although I’ve since learnt this photo may have been taken during Lady Gaga’s set, go figure) and reading the many, many vitriolic articles lampooning Miley Cyrus I felt compelled to write a little something. Whatever this post title might suggest, I’m not about to come out and say I thought the whole thing was anything other than appalling. But it wasn’t the raunchiness of it all that got me, let’s face it, we’ve seen worse. There was just something so unbelievably awful about it all. The tongue action, Mileys jolting is-she-or-isn’t-she wasted movements, the fact that the costumes weren’t so much shockingly skimpy as just plain nasty. It was just bad on every level. I don’t particularly take issue the many, many mean but funny buzz feed montages that started circulating five minutes after Miss Cyrus pranced off stage brandishing that poor foam finger and I highly doubt she could care less either. What I do take issue with is the fact that Miley, her performance and her song lyrics are being used as fuel to not only slag off her “turkey butt” and “bratz doll” hair but to basically blame her for a myriad of other, rather more serious things. According to countless articles and comments boards about Miley’s VMA’s performance she has not only “gone off the rails” but is at least partially responsible for everything from furthering the “slutification of America’s young girls” (a direct quote here, I kid you not) to promoting drug use. I’m not saying these people don’t have a bit of a point or arguing that Miley’s exactly a role model but I think it’s hugely unfair to hold her, and female artists in general, to such grossly different standards as their male counterparts. Admittedly there seem to be many people who share this view. Since the initial O-M-G calmed down enough for anyone to go online without simply re-watching the video, Robin Thicke has been criticised for gyrating up against a 20 year old on stage dressed as some sort of creepy 21st century Beetlejuice while performing “rapey” song lyrics although not to nearly the same extent as Miley. But I think the whole thing’s bigger than this particular performance. How is it fair to rip Miley to shreds over a latex stage costume and a lyric that may-or-may-not be a veiled reference to ecstasy (is it “dancing with Miley” or “dancing with Molly”? You decide) and not take her male counterparts to task over the endless violent sex, drugs and guns lines in basically every rap or hip hop song ever? There is of course the arguement that Miley’s fans are young and impressionable but is anyone seriously saying Robin Thicke’s or Snoop Dogg’s are all over 18? Come on, let’s get real. At the same time if we go too far down that road we’re into the muddy waters of censoring lyrics, effectively ending up in a situation where art and pop culture come government sanctioned and everything gets boring beyond belief.
As with every “opinion” piece I’ve written, I wont be bringing my Miley Cyrus’ VMA’s commentary to a neat conclusion. Was she advocating the sexualisation of young girls or merely performing a raunchy (if dubiously executed) number at a global music event? Should we all just appreciate that Miley’s an entertainer, not a politician or primary school teacher, and get the hell over it? Whatever your view, the performance has effectively opened up conversations about sexism, equality and censorship, and what moral responsibility mainstream artists like Cyrus and Thicke should actually bear… not to mention kept us all entertained us for a week. And given the amount of attention Miley’s garnered off the back of it, I suspect she’s pretty pleased with the whole thing too.
What do you think?
Love Ella. X