You have probably heard about Miley Cyrus performing at the VMA’s today. It has been somewhat controversial to say the least. If you haven’t, you may choose to watch this.
Watching this I found myself embarrassed for her. I don’t think she has been talked into this by someone else – she is 20 years old, 21 in November this year. She is an adult and can make her own choices. I think Robin Thicke is a bit creepy but I did anyway. I am curious why Miley chose this way to express herself but first I think we need to talk about why this performance is problematic.
Karen Healy’s tumblr deals with some of the issues here with links to writers on why Miley’s ‘We can’t stop’ video tries to appropriate ‘blackness’. So it is problematic because it is cultural appropriation and actual black women in the clip are just there as dancers around the main white character (something also pointed out in Miley’s Can’t Stop clip).
I am definitely not an expert on this but I think it is also problematic in the way it defines the black culture it is appropriating as hyper sexualised.
I think it is problematic in the way the woman with the amazing bottom in the striped tights is treated with the focus being entirely on her bottom, which is spanked by Miley after she seems to stick her face a bit too close, then that woman in the stripy tights leaves the stage entirely once that little show is over. We never see her face.
The whole crotch grabbing thing has been done better by Michael Jackson and just quietly I think has had it’s day. But that may be just me. (Get those kids off my lawn).
But I wonder if it is a reaction to being shoe-horned into the good girl Disney princess mould for too long? Is this the one way to rid yourself of that image forever?
If she wants to cavort around like a teenager wearing not much at all more power to her. But the whole thing seemed to be more ‘trying to embarrass Mum and Dad’ rather than showing her raw adult woman sexuality. Miley is apparently good friends with Rihanna, who could give her some pointers in being a strong sexy woman (IMHO), as could any number of other performers. I was left wondering what it is all about. Maybe I am just too old to appreciate this?