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Miley Cyrus 

A couple of weeks ago, the whole world seemed to go gaga when Disney-darling Miley Cyrus, now 20-years-old, performed rather provocatively at the MTV Video Music Awards. She writhed against Robin Thicke’s crotch, rubbed a foam finger over herself suggestively, and ‘twerked’ – a word which until this happened no one had heard of, but is now an internet sensation.

The outpouring of pure hate Miley has received since this performance is something to marvel. She’s been criticised for being a bad role model for children and stealing ‘black culture’ (what ‘black culture’ even means, I have no idea).  The YouTube video of this performance is saturated with criticism, with Miley being called “cheap”, “stinking”, and one particularly charming comment – “WHERES MY DICK GONE?!? Oh it’s okay, it’s just retracted into my stomach”. Nice.

Now, I admit I commented on two aspects of the show. 1) Miley’s tongue. You’re not a lizard, please put it away. And 2) the God-awful song. But, as the comments above prove, people have mainly been criticising Miley herself for being “too sexual”. It seems unfair that Miley has been singled out for this “crime”; at the 2007 VMAs Britney Spears performed ‘Gimme More’ in only a bra and knickers. In 2003, Madonna kissed both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera on stage. And it’s not just at the VMAs, female stars everywhere perform in varying degrees of sexualised outfits, and it goes unnoticed and unremarked upon. It’s now the norm for this to happen – Lady Gaga barely ever performs in clothes (unless its clothes made of meat, of course).

Miley has been noticed because she was a child star. She used to be on the Disney channel; the epitome of innocence as Hannah Montana. We know her Dad, her family, we’ve watched her grow up. And, somehow, that makes it wrong. Everyone reports how she’s ill, she’s losing her mind, she’s on drugs. Like it’s an incredible, unthinkable event that someone might use sex to sell music. Everyone’s doing it, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Maybe the media are just using it as an excuse to create another breakdown story. Afterall, we do love a celebrity meltdown, especially a female one. I suspect the main thought is ‘think of the money!’ and off they go, calling Miley a slut and fabricating stories about drug abuse.

Can we also just spare a thought here for Robin Thicke. “Who?”, you may ask, baffled. Robin Thicke is the guy singing with Miley, who has been mysteriously ignored in this whole thing. He’s just been the object Miley is writhing against. I’m sure he had something to do with the performance himself: he didn’t just show up and oh! Miley Cyrus is twerking on my crotch! Given the video for Blurred Lines, where all sorts of naked women are writhing around all over him, I suspect he had rather a lot to do with the planning stages. A 36-year-old man is prowling around the stage, as a 20-year-old girl rubs herself all over him. How is he ignored in this?

Essentially, all Miley did in this performance was do what pretty much every other female popstar does. Dress in provocative clothing, and dance sexily around a stage, in the name of getting a number one hit. And it’s the criticism of this that is only encouraging slut-shaming behaviour in the media. They’ve labeled her as out-of-control simply because she’s been sexual, and that legitimates the policing of  ‘correct’ boundaries for women to adhere to. They regulate and control women, but yet happily objectify them when they want to. “Miley Cyrus shouldn’t be doing that, it’s wrong! But you go right ahead, Rihanna…”

The double standard shown here between Miley and Robin sums up the general atmosphere between men and women when it comes to sex. Whilst men are blameless, women are at fault. By wearing a revealing outfit, Miley has apparently opened herself up to a perfectly legitimised onslaught of criticism and insults. By wearing those clothes she has waived her rights. How is that not an issue?

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4 thoughts on “Miley Cyrus, Twerking and Slut-Shaming

  1. Pingback: To be or not to be a role model? | I'm just a could've been, would've been, should've been, never was and never ever will be.

  2. Pingback: News: Miley Cyrus – are we just “slut-shaming”? (New Statesman) | Female Report!

  3. Pingback: FWSA Blog » ‘5×3’: the process of nicknaming and slut-shaming for celebrity mothers

  4. Pingback: ‘5×3’: the process of nicknaming and slut-shaming for celebrity mothers | Cynical Scribbles

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