I know. Everyone is sick of Miley Cyrus. Like Bald Britney and High Lindsay Lohan, Miley has captivated our national dialogue with her painfully wedged boy-shorts and hypnotically horrible twerking. I joked with a classmate that maybe it was all a misunderstanding. Miley’s manager said, “you need to really work on your stage act” and Miley was like “twerk on stage? Got it.”
Hahahaha. (Gotta laugh through the tears, man.)
So why am I blogging about this over-wrought issue? Well, first, there’s this: Miley is not the first girl to twerk, or even twerk to the point of nausea. This is nothing new. Nameless, faceless booties twerk in dance videos all the time and there is no uproar about how it is destroying society. It seems like the only time twerking is so horribly wrong is when it’s Miley doing it on stage at the VMAs. Even the songs she twerked to, songs that glorified drunken sexuality and whoring (although not *quite* in so many words) are not new songs, so why the uproar now?
Because it’s Miley, of course. She’s supposed to be sweet and innocent. Her face has been plastered all over children’s clothing lines, trapper keepers and backpacks and posters on wall. She, as an image, is supposed to MEAN something. Now that meaning is threatened, and all the little girls that idolize her see something else. And they wonder what it means and why. So I can understand being just as upset as people where about Mary Kate and Ashley Olson’s drug use or Lindsay Lohan’s whatever-the-heck-that-was. I do, I understand.
Only women have twerked before in the public eye, and sexual songs have been sung. I’m sorry, but as a society we need to accept that those messages are out there, and while it may feel more egregious when it’s Miley Cyrus sending them it’s not. When there’s a public outcry over Miley Cyrus twerking what it sends isn’t a resounding message that such behavior is harmful; it sends a double standard.
After all, men have been twerked on before.
Let me back up a minute: Miley wasn’t the only one on stage. But the guy she was twerking all over is rarely being called out for his part in the performance. There are very few voices condemning Robin Thicke for allowing Miley Cyrus to make such a spectacle of herself all over him. We can’t point our finger at Miley and say, “grotesque! Objectification!” but HELLO, let’s point our finger at Thicke and say, “Objectifying! Shameful!”
As with every other video where a woman, a complete being with thoughts and needs and desires, is boiled down to a scantily clad twerking ass.
Because otherwise, we’re saying it’s fine for women, their glorious bodies, and their complex selves to be made as nothing more than a tool for men’s desire, unless it’s Miley Cyrus at the VMAs.
We’re saying it’s okay for men to want this and glorify this and to pay some women to do this, but not Miley Cyrus.
And why is it not okay for Miley?
And for all of the men that get off on it, what do we say about them?
It’s okay, as long as it’s a woman who is nameless and faceless.
I realize I may be beating a dead horse, but it really bothers me.
It’s okay to objectify women as long as we never are reminded of who they are and who we wish they could be. It’s okay for women to be made into sexual objects as long as we are not reminded of the childhood and innocence they lose in order to do so. It’s okay for women to make spectacles of themselves for men’s pleasure as long as we don’t have other goals for them.
And our daughters get the message that it’s okay for men to want to make them objects. It’s good, it’s desirable for a man to want you to make yourself a sexual object for him. But you shouldn’t, because people will be ashamed of you.
Which, to a rebellious teen, sounds like a challenge.
It sounds like a dare.