Miley Cyrus has shocked a planet ravaged by war, uprisings, economic upheaval, environmental degradation and loss of freedoms by using a giant foam finger mitt in a suggestive way. Why??
So, a few days after up to a 1000 people were gassed in the Syrian civil war, something far more sinister and horrible happened: Miley Cyrus’ performed at the Video Music Awards. The way people have been going on and on about it, the Apocolypse occurred. Oh the uproar, oh the fury. I didn’t watch the awards myself so had to search the internet the following day to see what heinous, disgusting, terrible thing Ms. Cyrus did. Viacom did a pretty decent job of ridding any evidence of the event from YouTube. But, finally, a version did pop up and I got to see it. Wow, what a performance. That was utterly not worth the outrage that it has received.
I don’t know why, but I appear to be the only one not outraged by this. To me, this seemed rather current. In the past year or so, we have seen the rise and fall of ‘Harlem Shakes’ videos, which often saw people get down in dirty in pretty hilarious ways not unlike how Miley was acting. We have also seen the unfortunate rise of twerking from the underground to more mainstream acceptance. I still loath the dance moves. So, as far as I am concerned, Cyrus’ performance was merely an art reflecting life, though I use the term art rather loosely. But, man, have people ripped her apart for her use of a giant foam finger mitt. I don’t understand what she did that is much different than Madonna used to do, with the exception of the fact that I never saw Madonna wear a giant foam finger. So, it makes little sense to me that Miley Cyrus would be raked over the coals for this.
What I don’t get is the fact that she was joined on stage by Robin Thicke who was doing some pretty good bumping and grinding with Miley, and yet no one has said a word about that. Of course not, why would anyone. He is male. No one cares. It’s only women that are judged in such a way. And, on comment sections the internet over, people have rushed to call her a slut, skank and whore while saying she has no morals and low self-esteem. Bah. Ridiculous.
To me, it seems that anyone shocked by this has not been paying attention to modern pop culture in the past few years. And, despite the fact that I felt the song Cyrus sung was a terrible song, and she has a very weak voice, I found her performance to be a bit refreshing. The truth is, she really cut loose, with hair flying, improved dance moves and Gene Simmons-esque tongue work. Compare that to the disgustingly sachrine sweet, overly polished good little all American girl manufactured image being put forth by Taylor Swift. Oh dear lord, I think her image is far more insulting to women: The cute, submissive, gentle prim and proper 50’s housewife girly character that Taylor Swift embodies is antiquated.
Furthermore, I believe that, in the vein of art imitating life, we do appear to be in a post-AIDS, post-Safe Sex era, fueled by pornography on the internet and a fight against the sexual oppression of the past 30 years. Miley Cyrus reflected this perfectly, and as such could be seen as a modern face of sexuality and sexual expression. In the meantime, everyone will continue to be outraged until next year, when something even more shocking will happen at the VMA’s, or until someone notices that people are being slaughtered in Syria by a brutal regime.
Words by Chris Hearn. More writing by Chris on Louder Than War can be found here.