I didn’t watch the 2013 VMAs. I stopped watching MTV a long time ago when they became a channel for exploiting teen Moms. However, I did catch wind of the performance by Miley Cyrus and people’s reactions. For the uninitiated Miley performed her song, “We Can’t Stop” as well as a duet of, “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke. During her performance, Miley wore a bra and pantie outfit, danced around with her tongue out and grinded on people (including Robin). It may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but she looked like she was having fun.
Before I continue I want to make it clear that I do believe there were issues with her performance (such as her slapping her black dancer’s ass), but that’s not what this is about. People’s reactions have been, in my opinion, disgusting. People have been commenting all over the internet calling her a, “slut”, “disgusting, and saying, “what would her father think?” The problem (well one of the problems) is that people feel she should still be Hannah Montana. Society has a problem with infantizing females (because we all know a woman passed 25 is just an old hag). She’s not Hannah Montana though, she’s a 20 something girl exploring herself. Only she’s doing it in the public eye.
Then let’s talk about the obvious slut shaming and sexism. Robin Thicke has a video where in the unedited version the women are naked and he is ogling them while basically singing about how they, “want it” and how he hates, “blurred lines” (as in he’s confused by the lines of consent, which is a problem in and of itself). He was even quoted in an interview with GQ as saying, “what a pleasure it is to degrade women.” When Michael Jackson danced around, grabbing his crotch and pelvic thrusting, he was considered, “cool” and “the king of pop.” However Miley Cyrus is a slut.
As far as, “what would her father think.” That is just another way society perpetuates the lie that men control women. A young woman can’t be who she wants unless her father approves, and if he doesn’t then she’s a failure. Miley wasn’t hurting anyone. No one forced her to wear what she did or act like she did during the performance. She did it on her own, and she did it with confidence. Yet, she is shamed for it.
What’s even worse is Miley would probably be victim blamed if something happened. Let’s say, hypothetically, after the show Robin Thicke sexually assaulted Miley Cyrus. I guarantee people would be saying things like, “did you see what she was wearing? She was totally asking for it!” or “Well, maybe if she didn’t send him mixed messages by grinding on him.” What people don’t seem to understand about consent is a, “yes” doesn’t mean a standing yes. If a person is dancing half naked, grinding on someone and making out with them unless they specifically say yes (and not a drunken, I have no idea what’s going on yes) to sex then it’s a no. If two people are in the middle of sex, and one says stop and the other doesn’t it’s still rape. Yet, people are satisfied with excusing it by saying, “well they were already having sex so it’s not really rape.
But, I digress. Miley wasn’t raped or assaulted; she was and is however being slut shamed. Leave the poor girl alone, she’s not harming anyone, and it was a performance! Furthermore, had Robin Thicke come out in a speedo or something people would be saying things like “he’s so hot!” or “he’s so brave to put himself out there like that artistically.” There would be little to no scoffing or, “what would his mother think!” (in fact where’s all the outrage about what his mother would think about him saying it’s ‘a pleasure to degrade women.’?)
Bottom line, Miley isn’t a Disney tween star anymore. She’s a young woman, and she has every right to explore her sexuality. She isn’t in jail, she’s not a drug addict, she’s not going around punching old ladies. So, stop acting like she is. If you don’t like her performance, if you don’t find her attractive, that’s your opinion, but slut shaming the poor girl just shows that sexism is still loud and proud and in our society.