I cannot believe I'm writing this, but yes, on a certain level, I feel compelled to defend Miley Cyrus and her twerking self. Let me make a few points clear, first:
- I did not watch the MTV Video Music Awards - because I don't have cable and I don't care about the VMAs.
- I didn't know there was "controversy" until I saw it the next morning on my vanilla Facebook page.
- I tried to watch the "incident" on YouTube, but it was too painful to watch so I stopped about a minute in.
- Whoever advises Miley doesn't appear to have her best interests at heart OR she didn't listen to anyone advising her.
- I don't usually care much about pop culture because of the aforementioned lack of cable.
All that being said, after several days of watching the Miley Cyrus/twerking thing on social media, I've finally had enough and decided to add in my very unwanted, unasked for two cents.
In case you don't know what I'm referring to, Miley Cyrus performed on the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, part of which was a bit of twerking with Robin Thicke. From what little I was able to watch before my eyes started to bleed, Miley didn't exactly perform well (for the record, she's got a great voice - but it was very hard to WATCH the performance). I didn't even know what twerking was until a couple of months ago. Apparently, I'm getting old because the only way I can describe it is "sex." It's a hip movement (and ONLY a hip movement) that looks like a sexual act to me. Whatever, it's not something I'm going to do, but I don't do the twist either (see how I threw that in for the older generations?). And who cares that I don't twerk? Not a fucking soul - it's not exactly aimed at my demographic.
Here's the thing. I'm pretty ambivalent about stuff like this. Stuff like this meaning weird-things-popstars-do-to-get-attention. I don't really care. I might not like it, but I have this great ability to ignore it. I turn off the TV; I change the radio station; I read something else. See how easy that is? Ta-da, done, no longer bothered by something I don't care about. I also don't look at every "shocking" thing someone does as a sign that the society is going to hell in a handbasket.
Now, why am I talking about this in a blog that focuses on BDSM, masturbation, and erotic fiction? Because today, I finally had enough. I read a blog post that hundreds of people applauded (from a blogger I actually like to read) - and it amounted to simple slut-shaming. Since finding my way to a kinky lifestyle - one I can't exactly discuss with the majority of the world without the veil of anonymity - I've become much more relaxed about sex, sexuality, and the things other people do with sex. And I've noticed just how judgmental people are when it comes to sex.
So here's the evolution of this specific blog post...
It started when a professional colleague of mine posted on Facebook about the Miley Cyrus performance and his opinion of what it meant about the younger generations and our culture. I chimed in that it didn't seem much different than when people freaked out about Elvis shaking his hips on national television (who remembers Elvis the pelvis?) or when the Beatles came on the scene with their "long" hair and wild music. Every older generation thinks the younger generation has lost their mind, is ruining the country, or simply enjoys bad entertainment.
I had a few people who agreed with me in the Facebook thread, which made me feel a bit better. Sometimes when you're the only one in a group with a specific opinion, it's a bit like shouting into the wind. Of course, the majority came back with, "Well, you should have seen it. It was bad!"
The performance was bad - because it was performed badly. Painfully bad. Awkwardly bad. Shockingly bad. But at the end of the day, everyone was talking about Miley Cyrus (hello, four days later, and I'm blogging about her), and people were paying attention to her. So how bad could it have been (from her perspective, I mean)?
Let me interrupt myself to say that I think doing something "shocking" or just horrible for the sake of the publicity, while effective, is distasteful. Here's where I seem to differ from most people who are voicing their opinion - I recognize that it's my opinion. I don't feel the need to condemn someone else, especially someone who is legally an adult, for their choices. Would I behave that way? Hell no! Will I attempt to teach my children not to behave that way? Fuck yeah. And, while I still have control over their TV habits, my children aren't allowed to watch things like the MTV VMAs - because they're little children, and that's how I roll as a parent.
This leads me to my next point. The world frothed at the mouth because a former Disney child star was dancing provocatively with someone nearly 20 years older than her. Um, and? I'm a "little" in the Daddy Dom/little girl sexual dynamic - an older man/younger woman duo isn't exactly shocking to me. Of course, sometimes I forget we live in some weird Puritanical society where everyone has sex, but no one wants to admit it, talk about it, or see it in a mainstream setting.
In the blog post that incited my post, she talked about how Miley's actions were the de-evolution of the sexual revolution. I couldn't disagree more. Miley's actions (from my perspective) were that of a 20 year old young woman who wanted attention, wanted to prove she was no longer Hannah Montana, get people talking, and (possibly) show that she is a sexual creature, not a child.
People talk about women being able to own their sexuality, but when they do, they're judged for it. If, and I say IF, her performance was an attempt to show the world that she's a sexual woman and not a little girl, how is she different than any other 20 year old woman on the planet? I'm glad I didn't have to be judged by my insane actions when I was 20. I had the luxury of privacy. She gets to grow up, experiment, try new things, figure herself out, and so much more in the public eye, surrounded by a team of "advisors" most of whom are probably only seeing dollar signs. We all made dumb decisions at her age (hell, I was engaged to the dumbass who would later become my ex-husband) - and many of us manage to survive them.
Society (American society - because that's all I know) spends way too much time worrying about the sexual habits and actions of everyone else around them. We worry if you're gay. We worry if rough sex is abusive. We worry that BDSM is dangerous and possibly a mental condition - and we're only now starting to realize that was wrong. We worry when a 20 year old gyrates against a man older than her on stage. We question the motives. We question what it means for our culture. We question why we let our children watch. We question, question, question - and in the end, we judge.
Bottom line - I wasn't impressed with her performance, and I felt sorry for her. But she does not illustrate what's "wrong" with our culture. She's not setting women back 30 years. She's not a bad example for all young girls everywhere - some may admire her, but others recognize awkward and painful things when they see it. She's a young woman who's trying to figure out her public persona, experimenting with different ideas, and, by the way, laughing all the way to the bank.