I’ve avoided putting my two cents in on the 2013 VMA performance by Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke mostly because everyone paying attention to pop culture has an opinion about it, so why add to the cacophony of drivel? But a day ago, Miley “broke her silence” about the performance (did anyone ask her to speak?) so now I will break mine.
For starters, Miley said of her libidinous VMA performance that too many people are overthinking it; how she violated that foam finger is no different from anything Madonna or Britney Spears has done. She’s wrong on both accounts – there was a point to Madonna’s overt sexuality; her performances were meant to antagonize and draw attention to the institutions that oppressed women, like the Catholic Church. Madonna didn’t act slutty because that was the only way to advance her career during her heyday. So, when anyone compares what Miley did to anything Madonna has done, I don’t think those people have much of a sense of pop music history. (Or, are trying to protect Miley from scorn for who-knows-what reason). Nor is Miley’s performance anything like a Britney Spears performance if just for the fact that love or hate Brit’s music, Brit is ten times the stage performer. [One wonders why Miley would want to compare herself to Brit anyway given Brit’s meltdown a few years ago. But the mind of a teenage girl is nothing anyone can figure out.]
Second, I think it is fair to say that many people who criticized the performance were offended simply because those people cannot divorce “Slutty Miley” from Hannah Montana. Well, I can’t help people who are that narrow minded but Miley didn’t help them by going the easiest possible route it is to go for a female “artist.” Really, we have enough overtly sexual female music performers. How much better would it have been for Miley to have gone all Rage Against the Machine on the audience and called out President Obama for not taking action on Syria? I assure you that had Miley done that, people’s jaws would have dropped all the same and her sales would have increased just as they are now in the wake of her VMA pandering. On the other hand, as I’ve just said, with her sales boosted by her krewting (the attempt and subsequent failure of a white person to twerk), can you really blame her for giving the masses what they want, that is, a slut? Well, yes, because as I just pointed out, she didn’t have to go down that road. Then again, her father is Billy Ray Cyrus, a man lazy enough to steal a dance and call it his own. Really, how else did anyone think Miley’s career was going to evolve given her gene pool?
I certainly have no problem with women expressing their sexuality on stage, but at least don’t half ass the performance or for the sake of the VMAs do something original. Yet the fact is that this particular performance by Miley Cyrus was uninspired and weak (at NO point was she twerking, oh white defenders). Art is often thought of as something people know when they see it. Well, if that’s the case, what Miley did at the VMAs wasn’t art. Art would have been Miley slowly stripping Robin Thicke nearly naked during the melody and him gyrating all over her. See? See how easy it is to be original? It just takes a second of thought.
Finally, let’s not let Robin Thicke off the hook. His failure in the performance certainly complemented Cyrus’ as men are expected to sit back and feast their hungry eyes upon a woman while not being expected to do any work. Sure, no one expects pop artists to be agents of change, but the stale act by Cyrus and Thicke certainly didn’t “make history,” as Miley says they discussed. Take note, Robin and Miley – those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Indeed.
[Got a minute to spare, literally? Read Miley Breaks Her Silence.]