Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Oh Miley, Up Yours!

It is traditional for young women who have come up through the Disney machine to slut the fuck out when they come of age as a way to show the world that they are no longer innocent little girls. Cristina did it with her Dirrty video, Britney did it over and over again, Vanessa Hudgens leaked nude photos of herself, and then starred with Selena Gomez in Spring Breakers. But no one has slutted out quite like Miley Cyrus. The former Hannah Montana star first raised eyebrows for her video for "We Can't Stop,"  which showcased her newfound love of molly, black people, and strippers. Then during the MTV self-congratulatory strokefest Music Video Awards Sunday, she danced like a gakked out 19-year-old who just had her first lesbian experience at a strip club in the bad section of Baton Rouge. This has gotten the internet all worked up. Her dad is convinced that she is possessed by the devil, liberals are proclaiming her act as a "cultural appropriation at its worst" (to quote the Guardian), while Fox called her act a cheerleading squad for hookers. 

If Miley wants to do a bunch of drugs and ho the fuck out, that's her business. Go have some threesomes. Dance like a stripper. Slap some asses. Kiss your girlfriends and make out with a dude you just met. Try lesbianism. Go crazy. That's what being 19 is for - to act like an ass and explore your sexuality. Some people have said she's too young to act like that, but I think if she was much older she'd be too OLD to act like that. And let me be clear: as long as people are being safe and respectful of their sex partners, I don't care how many people they sleep with. I think labeling a woman as a slut because she likes sex, or thinking a woman can't have self-respect if she chooses to be sexual is bullshit.  Some of the strongest, most together women I know had phases of major promiscuity. A woman can be sexual and not have self-esteem or daddy issues. She can just like sex. So if Miley wants to sleep with hella people, go for it. That's a perk of being young, beautiful and rich.

And if she wants to appropriate black culture to rebel, whatever. Yeah, it's problematic yar yar yar, but she didn't invent the rules, she's just playing by them. She's not the first white kid to embrace hip-hop as a way to freak her parents out. Hopefully she is genuine with her black friends, but if she's treating them as tokens I'm sure they are smart enough to know whats up and are doing just fine with letting the white girl buy the drugs and booze in exchange for being cool by association. I'm a little concerned that she's such a terrible singer and dancer, given that has been her job for years, but that's nothing new either.

What really bothered me about the event, beyond the fact that everyone was freaking out about something so calculated, is the fact that there you had Miley, in her undies freaking on anything that moved, surrounded by half-naked women, while the three dudes on stage were fully clothed and not sexualized at all. What the fuck is up with that? THAT is what I hate about mainstream pop culture, and especially mainstream hip-hop and R&B. The girls are all in booty shorts gyrating while the guys are in their fucking football jerseys acting like they couldnt' give a shit. I'm not offended by the half-naked women, but let's make the stakes even, for crissakes. Robin Thicke coulda taken his shirt off, at least, or did some Magic Mike stripper moves with Miley. THAT woulda been amazing.

What's ironic is that before the VMAs MTV released a video of Grimes and Kathleen Hannah talking about what it means to be a feminist musician. Grimes had a wonderful point in which she said that she never considered herself a  feminist when she was starting out in her insular scene because her gender didn't matter. It was only when she got out of her liberal, supportive bubble into the terrible world and all of a sudden her gender was the ONLY thing that mattered that she started getting pissed off about how unequally she was being treated, and got into feminism. How rad would it be if Miley's next move was quoting bell hooks and doing a duet with Peaches?

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