Why I Think Miley Cyrus Needs to Snap Out of It.
Okay, so unless you’ve been buried under a rock for the past few weeks, chances are you’ve heard about Miley and her “twerking” or whatever it’s called at the VMAs. Of course, it sparked a huge debate about sexualism in the music industry; amongst other things. Everyone has been divided- feminists who are up in arms about how she’s exploiting herself for mens’ entertainment; Mums who are saying she should be a more suitable role model for their tweenage daughters; deadbeat bimbo’s on instagram saying she is “like, totally hot, and why the F%$ not?” and men everywhere just high-fiving each other over the fact that she’s very…very legal.
Here’s the thing. She’s in entertainment- we shouldn’t have been surprised. I mean, can you honestly name one celeb teenager that didn’t go off the rails at some point? I guess it’s usually drugs, or alcohol, or a 36 hour Vegas wedding that we see when they hit that awkward age, trying to convince the world they’re adults by doing the most irresponsible and immature things they can. So, if this has all been done before, why has Miley’s little act been so confronting?
Timing, for one thing. Miley picked the worst possible time to “act out”. 2013 has been a year where sexual violence, like rape and domestic abuse, has become widespread concern. The Indian gangrape case sparked a worldwide debate about the real issue behind rape culture, and how it was abundantly clear that women the world over were still seen as “the lesser sex” and how exploitation in media has really done nothing in favour of women, anywhere.
People stepped forward, voicing out against abuse; and protests, demonstrations and social media highlighted the fact that people have had enough. The idea that media made money off of women being portrayed as idiotic sex objects was condemned, and women fought hard to have prefered icons in the lime light, that could hold a positive and more uplifting example of the fairer sex: See Tina Fey, Katniss Everdeen, Amy Poehler as a few fine examples. Then Miley, the girl with a beautiful voice and a billion- strong following of 12 year olds, pranced on stage wearing next to nothing, sticking her tongue out, and doing all sorts of nasty things with a foam glove. a billion-strong 12 year olds’ parents jumped to find a remote to turn the TV off, in shock that they’d let their little ones stay up to see such filth (you laugh, but would you want your 12 year old “twerking”, I don’t even have kids but the idea scares me…) and a million feminists overboiled with rage.
Now, I’m no feminist. I’m not all about hating men, and whatnot. I think it’s perfectly fine to use our provocative nature to get ahead. You can hide behind androgony and lambast those of us who do take pride in our appearance, but the facts are obvious: it’s no longer survival of the fittest out there. It’s survival of the fittest, prettiest, smartest and most cunning. You can complain to no end about how men are nicer to you if you wear red lipstick, or you can use that to your advantage. There is a difference between using your charm and your curves to influence and score admiration (think Samantha, SATC), and blatantly exploiting yourself to win over someone’s idea of ”sexy” (Think heavy make up wearing tart on Instagram). Accepting the drink from the man at the bar because he thought you were pretty- take it as a compliment. Putting out because that man at the bar bought you a drink- not empowering, at all. OBVIOUSLY. (I’m not refering to date rape, which is NEVER your fault, btw)
But Miley didn’t come across as provocative. She didn’t even come across as sexy. What I saw when I saw her walk out in that strange strange outfit was only one thing: desperation. I didn’t think, “wow, what an empowering and sexy young woman she turned out to be” I thought “Who knew you could use a foam glove as a dildo like that?”. I didn’t think “She’s really being provocative and sultry”, I thought “Why is her tongue sticking out like that? Is she on something? How long is her tongue, holy moly!”
There needs to a shift in what the media and society thinks of as “sexy”. Women need to be empowered in their own skin whilst still being comfortable and having the option to be conservative, and not have to exploit themselves at such barbaric levels just to keep us entertained. We need to stop looking for the Shock! factor in an increasingly shallow industry, and try and remember what it’s meant to all be about in the first place…
… the music. and nothing else should matter.