Thursday, December 26, 2013

Miley Hate

Miley Cyrus. I don’t think I need to write an introduction for this girl. If I do, I’d limit it to these words: Hannah Montana. Twerk. People being mad as hell.

Image by MelissaRose14 on Flickr
Never before have a pair of buttocks and a tongue caused so much uproar all across America.
The 26th of August was the day people's opinions of the ex-Disney star were irrevocably changed. Seeds of doubt had been planted beforehand. Remember the Annie Leibovitz shot for Vanity Fair that exposed her bare back? Her bare back, people! Then came the music videos for Party in the USA and Can't Be Tamed, featuring Miley gyrating around in sexy shorts and a sexy leotard, respectively. And she cut her hair (but it was apparently for cancer patients, so you can't really complain about that) and peroxided it and started wearing red lipstick. Then came We Can't Stop. Then came the VMAs. At this point, all hell broke loose.

Most of the things people say about her go along the lines of "She's a bad role model!" and "I want the old Miley back!" and "She should be ashamed of herself!". Well, I can agree with the first, I guess (but I will say "Where are the parents at?). The second can be argued against as people change. Just like you don't expect your kids to stay the same way forever, Miley wouldn't have continued being a Disney pop princess after her contract was up. The last one...yes, she was grinding up against a married man who'd just had a baby, but do you really think that his wife didn't know about it and give her approval? Do you really think that she found out about it the same time we did? If so, Mr.Thicke would have come home with divorce papers waiting for him on the coffee table. Not to mention the fact that no one talks about the married-man-with-a-new-baby stood there and allowed himself to be grinded into. I could go on about double standards, but that's not the point here.

I can agree that the foam finger was a bit much. And the tongue. And the teddy bears. And the ass shaking. And slapping a black woman's ass. But is four minutes and a half really enough time time to learn to hate somebody?

Kanye did it in about fifteen seconds.
Photo by David Shankbone
Remember the crazy things you did as a teenager/young adult? Don't lie, you did some similar things. They just weren't done on stage and broadcasted on national television. Yes, she knew exactly what she was doing. Maybe some backlash is warranted (concretely, there are a Facebook page, a Tumblr, a Twitter account, and a random website dedicated to hating Miley). But twerking onstage is not a prerequisite to being called a 'mess' or 'train wreck' or 'disturbed. I repeat, Miley knew - knows - what it is she's doing. It's possible she was manipulated into it. But to be honest, she seems to get off all of the attention her antics have brought her. She's reveling in her independence, from Disney, from her parents, from expectations. Isn't that what being young is about? Breaking away from these boundaries is easily done by showing yourself as a sexual being.

Hey! Remember this?

How about this?

I was too young to follow these ladies’ careers back then, I heard their songs on the radio, bee-bopped along, and only remembered the tune and some random words of the chorus. I didn’t go on YouTube to watch their performances and videos over and over again until I had a headache. But there was the same type of outcry back then when these videos were released. "Bad roles models!". "What about her young fans?!". "She should be ashamed of herself!". These videos, this mood, these antics were a phase. These two women, former child stars just like Miley, grew out of it, and today, remain successful in their careers and (more or less) in their personal lives.

People change and grow. The music industry changes and grows. Before, you needed talent and the right people behind you to help promote your music. Nowadays, it helps if you have the former but it's not at all necessary.

Er...this is an unrelated photo...

It's more about creating a buzz, getting attention. Even if you do have talent, it's not enough. Would Lady Gaga be the star she is without her wacky outfits and over-the-top spectacles? Even with all that, she was out-talked by Miley at the VMAs. No one talked about her seashell bikini, or 'N Sync or Drake. Hell, people hardly talked about Robin Thicke, and he was part of the controversy.

Even four months after that performance, people are still talking about her. She's toned down her antics. She doesn't need to all-out shock and scandalize anymore. Her mere presence on stage is enough to get conversation flowing, whether you love or hate her. She's got what she wanted: your undivided attention. The interest in her will probably fade as we move on to other young, scandalous performers and as Miley grows into maturity. But until then, I'll be watching, extremely entertained.

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