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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Have a Lot of Miley Cyrus Feelings

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past week, you probably know that Miley Cyrus's performance at the VMAs garnered some....attention. Jokes and criticism and memes inspired by it have leaked into every last corner of the internet. I want to deconstruct some of that stuff and vomit my feelings all over it.

She's not "just being Miley" anymore.
A lot of the jokes I've seen/heard this week are of the "Billy Ray must be so proud" variety. I hate those jokes with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. So what if she's not Daddy's Little Country Girl anymore? She's a twenty-year-old woman. She should be able to do what she wants without seeking her father's approval. Was her VMA performance problematic? Definitely. But its problems didn't stem from it causing some disappointed "Dear Old Dad" tears.

Stop Mufasa-ing Billy Ray into this business.
Also not the actual problem with the performance: her clothes/lack thereof. I've heard quite a few people bemoaning the fact that Miley's not upholding her original Disney star image, and now she's a total slut who sings about drugs and it's just wrong, wrong, wrong. This is all very slut-shamey and gross and can everyone please stop?

There's also the tiny issue of that double standard where Robin Thicke's part in all of this has barely been mentioned even though he brings an all new set of problems to the table. The lyrics to "Blurred Lines" are borderline date-rapey, and the collaboration part of the VMA performance is clearly based on the music video for that song, in which Robin Thicke and a couple of other guys are gross and leary towards some almost naked women.

And I am so sure.
The real problem with Miley's part of the performance, which only a small portion of the internet is concerned with, is that she appropriated and objectified black women. I could go into further detail about that, but I don't think I as a white woman need to or should do that when a black woman has already done it much better than I ever could. This article by NINJACATE is the best, and unfortunately one of the only, articles I've read on the subject. You should definitely read it.

I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I still enjoy the song "We Can't Stop", but on another level I think that's okay. It's okay to like things and people that are problematic, as long as we can acknowledge and point out why those things and people are problematic. By continuing to point out those problematic bits of the things and people we enjoy, we take steps to reduce the amount of problems in the media. I'm a dreamy optimistic sap, so I believe that one day we can make those problems nonexistent. At the very least, we have the power to make them obsolete.

And there will be sparkly rainbows everywhere. The end.