Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Miley Cyrus and the VMAS: The Reaction and What It Says About Our Society

Miley Cyrus, Robin ThickeIt was the performance that shook America by storm: Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. She shook her ass to the camera, tried to look as nude as public television would allow and grinded up against Robin Thicke. She also stuck her tongue out more times than I could count. Big whoop. Now in many social media circles, she's Public Enemy Number One. According to the mainstream public, she's a whore and a slut and Billy Rae should be ashamed of her. Others are simply concerned.

Let's think for a second. Has she disrespected anyone? Sent screaming phone calls to them or punched them in the nose or peed in the mop bucket? No. Is she getting away with multiple DUIs and other crimes? No. Is she burning bonfires in driveways? No. All she did was strip her clothes and be sexy. She could have done this in a more tasteful manner, yes, but at the end of the day, it's her body and her life not mine. She took ownership of her sexuality by using it (for other reasons than her own gratification probably but still). She's a grown woman and she consented to doing this. She's hurting no one besides herself possibly. There's no reason to be ashamed of her, disgusted by her or concerned for her quite yet. She doesn't owe anything to anyone besides herself. I may not particularly care for her music or her style but that's just me.

Yet people still make a variety of assumptions about her. They assume she's promiscuous or in need of psychiatric help. Just because she got sexual.

Does anyone make these statements about Robin Thicke, the man she was dancing with? After all, he grinded against Miley Cyrus and even danced around a variety of naked women in his music video. Is anyone making these statements about him? No. And he's a married man at that.

Perhaps the mass objectification of women in comparison to men is a problem in this country is a problem. But you know what else is a problem? The mass slut-shaming of women in this country. Men are allowed to empower themselves and seek gratification however he wants but a woman? No, they're supposed to be meek and submissive and act in a certain way. And when they don't, they're punished. Often by other women too!

I think a large part of why Miley is being seen in this way is because she hasn't been sexy in the "right way". Miley doesn't act demure and submissive when she's sexual. She's the pursuer in her music videos and she's very in-your-face about it. Basically, shes not acting like an object. And on a subconscious level, people are outraged because she's not in her proper place. Granted, she is probably doing this to get attention and it's certainly working. But still, the point stands.

The most depressing part of this issue is that women are oppressing other women most of the time. We're hurting ourselves.

Clearly, it's a problem when anyone male or female alike uses sex in a way to achieve something else: social approval, self esteem, distraction, whatever. Or when one person manipulates a person for sex. But there's no problem with seeking pleasure in whatever way you choose (as long as it's safe and consensual) with however many people you want no matter what gender you are.

This slut-shaming needs to stop. Why are we doing this? I say live and let live.

1 comment:

  1. I don't believe in slut shaming and I was 15 when Madonna hit American Bandstand. I had my share of art modeling gigs, flirtations with burlesque and posed for retro cheesecake photos. That being said, now that I am a mother, I feel it is my responsibility to explain something like this to my daughter to put in perspective and not let it just go by unexplained. My daughter is only 16 months old, but speaking of future displays that "shake" things up. I say this because in my feminism classes in college there was always a huge divide in the class of 30, mostly women ages 20-25 and some in their early thirties who had opposing viewpoints regarding topics like Playboy, stripping, victim sexual object vs sexual object as empowered. I feel that if women, who are pursuing education, living on their own in the world, cannot agree on what a nude woman, spread eagle on the pages of Hustler or Playboy means and carry on for fifty minutes arguing the meaning and repercussions of stripping... that there is indeed much to be said and not something I will leave to my future teen daughter to ponder on her own. My own experiences led me down some dark roads. I do feel the US is too uptight. Female meteorologist and anchor women in Mexico bare three inch cleavage and sport six inch heels and look as sexy as any pin-up, still, no scandal. My physician was born and raised in Italy and is a beautiful woman who works in short, silky dresses, heels so high I'd get a nose bleed and lets her long hair and cleavage remind you that she is HOTT as well as a super intelligent, awesome specialist! Female sexuality is a "social issue" some would say "social ill" in the US and because it is, and I live here and raise my daughter here, it is something I will guide her through and hopefully have an open dialogue about. If I ever have a son, it will be the same. It is a drag that this country is set on making sexuality so unnatural. Perhaps if we were more like Mexico or Europe, socially, Miley would have expressed herself differently or we would have all watched something a bit more profound. I feel the confusion our country has about women, sex and sexuality is all right there in her performance and how it was taken. I would say though, a male wearing skin colored shorts and grinding on stage would have also solicited a scandalous response...different maybe but questioning his sexuality, wondering who he was dancing for etc....This is the country that slut shamed Elvis and Marilyn. What doesn't help are bad ideas for reality shows and their showcasing of bad decisions and bad taste. They keep double standards going.