There‘s a lot I don’t like about Miley Cyrus. Mainly her music, her terrible- bad-no-good-awful acting, her show-parents, her stupid granny panties.
However, unlike all the shocked, moms, (pretend) shocked news reporting and Will Smith’s family; I found myself respecting her for her Video Music Awards performance.
To reiterate, the music was shite. But the way in which Miley subverted the VMA’s was delicious.
First off let’s talk Teddy Bears.
The furry love was front and center and beyond making a statement about current trends and what’s hip, the inclusion of these well loved childhood cuddle dolls shouted, I don’t need toys to play with anymore. Or rather, I need toys to play with but like everyone else my age, I need to hump them. Humping my teddy bear is fun and exciting and nasty. It shocks you right? Good. Because my teddy bear does not give one shit how you feel. He/she digs the shit out of me rubbing myself against it. So do I.
Whether you want to talk about it or not if you are a female (and I imagine for a good deal of males too) you have made out with your stuffed animal, you have used it as a surrogate in yourself discovery. You don’t have to admit it to me, but know that this thing you are getting all gleebed out over is your own projection of unresolved issues.
Speaking of Tongues.
Miley made excellent use of her tongue posing. And by excellent I mean ridiculous. She very obviously used her tongue as a caricature of sexuality. Nobody in real life flashes their tongues like that.
Except this guy:
And it made him infamous. He has that tongue insured, it’s putting his kids through college and paying for all the dumb business ideas he has.
But why is it Gene Simmons- Knights In Satan’s Service can flash his supercilious tongue and get nothing but swooning female groupies but Miley Cyrus somehow has to apologies? It wasn’t a disgusting tongue; it was for all intents and purposes a fairly a-okay tongue. So why does a man get a pass on suggestive tongue wagging and a young woman not?
I think this has everything to do with homophobia. People are left uncomfortable and slightly turned on by young Miley and wondering what her tongue purpose is. Do men need women to be that versatile with tongue? (A: yes, it helps) or is she getting her tongue fit for the ladies?
Every time we take a step forward in the human sexuality front, whether that’s the woman’s right to be sexy or GLBT issues, we are met with resistance. People find a subconscious reason to be upset. Plus, you know, Disney princesses aren’t supposed to behave that way…right?
Which brings us to Disney.
Miley Cyrus like so many young pop stars owes a lot of her recognition and exposure to Disney. So many parents and people in general see Disney as a wholesome place. They produce movies and television that parents feel okay to plant their kids in front of without supervision because, you know, it’s Disney!
The truth is Disney is more interested in making money than making family friendly programming. Their programming on their channels hasn’t been clean and pure for a long time, if it ever was.
But that isn’t all. Disney almost always chooses to animate stories that are grossly sexualized, masochistic and all around bad for girls and the boys who will grow up to love them. Snow White was all about killing your rival in order to be the prettiest. Cinderella taught us that you could live happily ever after if only you defy your parents, steal some sweet duds and lie about who you are. Even the animal stories are sexualized. How many animals were distracted from their mission by some fancy tail?
“It’s a Black Thing, You wouldn’t understand”
People of colour. It’s a hard thing to address, but everyone wants more equality as long as the equality is slanted in their favor. Spike Lee is famous for this. He wants his films to be revered but God help anyone white who makes a film about black people because there just isn’t room for that in Spike Lee’s world. Even though he grossly misrepresents Italians in one of his most watchable movies ‘Do The Right Thing.’
Miley automatically was compared to Rhianna and a slew of other Black musicians. But this is unfair. It’s doesn’t seem to be her purpose. Sure, she said some stuff about wanting a “black sound.” But what musician hasn’t? Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Justin Timberlake…we could go on and on. Are you seeing that they are all men? Let me throw someone else in there then, Joss Stone who belted out excellent blues, completely white the whole time and got nothing but kudos. Let’s remember, she’s not the one calling herself a “white Rhianna”
Here’s some silly statements I came across while thinking about this Black thing:
“The whole thing feels like a blatant example of gross cultural appropriation, akin to the Pat Boones and Elvis’ of yesteryear.” (Source: vice)
“Given her statements about wanting to achieve a “black sound” during the production of the record—and considering the drug-referencing, butt-bouncing, gold-teeth-laden final project—it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that Miley has a problematic view of what “black” is. Although whites appropriating parts of blackness to create something that borders on mockery is nothing new in American pop culture, Miley’s situation seems to be a bit different.”- Wilbert L. Cooper (source: vice)
“Professor Akil Houston: It doesn’t appear to be either. It continues a long tradition of what bell hooks might refer to as “eating the other.” Hooks noted that within commodity culture, ethnicity becomes like spice seasoning. It is used to liven up the dull dish that is mainstream/white culture. The distinction is important, as I think authentic images and references affirm, acknowledge, and embrace a particular culture. For example, consider the Beastie Boys and hip-hop. They were a lot more authentic and representative of true hip-hop culture than what passes for it these days”
The good professor goes on to compare Miley’s act to Amos and Andy, for real. Somehow Miley Cyrus has achieved in this “Hip-Hop scholar’s mind the level of buffoonery of Amos and Andy: Steppin’ and Fetchin’ her way through her musical performance. But strangely enough she doesn’t seem to be making fun. Nor is she denigrating Black people, just herself. His statement to Wilbert L.Cooper that “. It says something about a society that cannot face the real thing but enjoys the pleasure of spectacle involved in mockery, even if it’s assumed to be in jest.” This just doesn’t fit in this instance. The intention to “mock” anyone other than herself and her generation just isn’t there.
These are things young people are doing across the board and herein is where we meet the intersection of “I’m young and hip.” And “These Kid’s today!” The people providing outraged commentary are not of the generation that is consuming this. They are like unto the elders of yesteryear complaining about the Beatles and their “long hair.”
The professor goes on to state that white people basically never get a pass on “black music.” What an unfortunate viewpoint. I had always considered the ultimate goal of integration to actually INTEGRATE. You know; be who you want, like what you want, behave like an asshole if you want without race coming into the argument. The problem I see here is this dog in the manger attitude that nobody can do something I think is mine or belongs to my culture even if I am not doing it. Even if it wasn’t really intended to be related at all.
Wrapping it all up is the suggestion that Miley “Could stand to take some black history courses.” This is just mean spirited and insulting really. Everyone could stand to take some black history courses. Black people could also stand to take some Eastern European history courses, so what? We need to be encouraging, not insulting.
A Japanese teen wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of a big American company is not the same as Madonna sporting a bindi as part of her latest reinvention. The difference is history and power. Colonization has made Western Anglo culture supreme–powerful and coveted. It is understood in its diversity and nuance as other cultures can only hope to be. Ignorance of culture that is a burden to Asians, African and indigenous peoples, is unknown to most European descendants or at least lacks the same negative impact.
“It matters who is doing the appropriating. If a dominant culture fancies some random element (a mode of dress, a manner of speaking, a style of music) of my culture interesting or exotic, but otherwise disdains my being and seeks to marginalize me, it is surely an insult.
Others go on to say: “Think of Derelicte, or of dressing kids up as “homeless” for Halloween. Inappropriate. Wearing a gold chain isn’t blackface, just like buying a turquoise ring in Arizona is not offensive like calling your panties ”Navajo” or modeling lingerie in a Native American headdress. But it’s important to understand that Miley is very privileged to be able to play dress up and adorn herself with the trappings of an oppressed/minority culture. She can play at blackness without being burdened by the reality of it.”
Okay, but when are the “others” going to let the “white power” thing go? What/how much needs to be done before white people can appreciate and enjoy what is being created by other races?
“Miley and her ilk need to be reminded that the stuff they think is cool, the accoutrements they’re borrowing, have been birthed in an environment where people are underprivileged, undereducated, oppressed, underrepresented, disenfranchised, systemically discriminated against and struggling in a system set up to insure that they fail.” –Dodai Stewart
Really? With all the very real race problems we are going to worry about Miley Cyrus putting on the “accoutrements” of Twerking? Is that really what Black people want to hold onto as a cultural treasure? And did Twerking really arise from being birthed in an underprivileged, oppressed, discriminating environment? Good Gods! I had no idea being Black and undereducated caused Twerking! Let’s get on that right away.
Miley’s style is more like Zef anyway, which has had its own problems because American Blacks don’t understand South Africa.
What happens when Punk Rock isn’t Punk anymore? When those voices like Green Day have gone commercial or disappeared a la Johnny Rotten? When everything has become homogenous what is Punk?
I think it might be Miley. She’s not doing this shtick for a cause, to call awareness to anything. I don’t think she’s doing it just to shock and upset people’s parents. She’s doing it because she wants to and she can. (I really can’t see any other reason to wear plastic granny panties) And what is more punk rock than just doing what you want?
In addition, she doesn’t seem to be fucking up just for the sake of fucking up, like say Courtney Love or Amanda Bynes. Indeed she doesn’t seem to be fucking up at all, unless you count the unfortunate riding up of those granny panties.
She’s doing the things all young people do at her age experiencing her sexuality, challenging people who put her in a Disney/princess/example to all young girls box. It isn’t okay to think that the mass production of Disney fabricated personalities are never going to grow up. It’s this very thought that makes so many young people freak the hell out and overdo it on their acting out.
I’m not saying that Miley is doing great-good things. What I’m saying is she isn’t doing anything necessarily “bad”. She’s doing exactly what most people do when they reach 20 and go to college or college parties at least. (It might be worth noting when I went to Google her age, all I wrote was “how old is….” Before Miley Cyrus popped up in first place followed by The Earth, so you know…people are interested =excellent marketing)
She seems in most other settings to be a well spoken, business savvy young woman. I went back and checked the red-carpet coverage before the VMA’s because it was interesting to me to see if she was tripping bells before she went on stage. To the contrary she did excellently at her Q&A. She knows the business of HER and she is using it to her advantage.