Monday, August 26, 2013

Here's What Miley Cyrus Did on the VMAs Last Night

Posted by on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Twisting the knife of Miley's former-child-star rebellion/would-be coming out as a sexual abuse survivor:

"The Parents Television Council....took [MTV] to task for staging performances with skimpy costumes and sexually suggestive dancing during the Video Music Awards on Sunday," reports the NYT. "The Parents Television Council’s complaint about the show, which echoes similar statements it has made in years past, took on greater weight this year because Ms. Cyrus’s father, Billy Ray Cyrus, sits on the group’s advisory board."

It's gonna be a fun Thanksgiving at the Cyrus house.

(As for Ms. Cyrus' acting out: It flashed me back to dating in the very late '90s, when I'd occasionally get hit on by someone who may have been cute but was just too robotically horny, in a way that seemed driven by something problematic (trauma, meth).)


Comments (58) RSS

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What is the response of "feminists" ?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 26, 2013 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Matt Hickey 2
I love what Miley Cyrus is doing. I have never seen anyone YOLO that hard in my life and, given my friends, that's saying quite a bit.
Posted by Matt Hickey on August 26, 2013 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 3
I just can't give a shit about this.
Posted by Matt from Denver on August 26, 2013 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 4
If Miley is doing meth I could almost have respect for her as an artist...almost
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on August 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM · Report this
Personally I can't believe how bad pop music has gotten between Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. I mean I thought Katy Perry was bad, but fuckin' wow.
Posted by The CHZA on August 26, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 6
she could have twerked naked and it would be irrelevant.
Posted by Max Solomon on August 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 7
Hilariously, yesterday was her father's birthday.

That aside, my favorite of the million golden tweets on this is SNL writer Christine Nangle: "A woman we practically force hypersexualization on dances while dudes sing a rapey anthem & we're shaming HER. Youre gettin lazy, metaphors."…

One on the show overall, I love Josh Gondelman's "No one moment has ever gentrified Brooklyn as hard as Macklemore winning Best Hip Hop Video at the VMAs."…

I was hoping someone would post about this lovely, silly show! Thanks, David.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on August 26, 2013 at 12:38 PM · Report this
The PTC must have some sort of Mad-Libs version of their press releases. They just insert whatever network, whatever names, and whatever show, then fire it off to whoever will publish their inane ramblings. Good thing they hold no sway over cable TV, because then we'd all be fucked.
Posted by Chali2Na on August 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 9
Remember when Miley and Billy Ray did that super-weird incesty photo shoot back when she was like 14 or so?

Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings on August 26, 2013 at 12:42 PM · Report this
Baxter 10
It's not that it's too hot for TV so much as I just don't understand what is happening. What the fuck is with the giant bears and Miley's Odie tongue? I couldn't find anything sexual in that video at all. Just bewilderment.
Posted by Baxter on August 26, 2013 at 12:47 PM · Report this
I lived through that Rob Lowe/Snow White number at the 1989 Oscars. I can't be hurt any more.
Posted by Pope Buck I on August 26, 2013 at 12:47 PM · Report this
raku 12
#1: Feminists had a special meeting late last night, and here are our meeting notes:

- Robin Thicke is a 38-year old married man who ground against a 20-year old woman on stage, and he is getting zero criticism, because patriarchy.

- Robin Thicke said this famous quote: "What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman."

- Robin Thicke released a single that endorses rape.

- Robin Thicke is a large douchebag.

- Using black women as background props in Miley's performance is highly problematic.

- How the hell do you hold an awards show in Brooklyn, give the hip hop award to a white guy, have white guys perform R&B, and have a white woman twerking on stage?

- For some reason there is a video that is somehow related to the VMA's of Grimes interviewing Kathleen Hanna, which is nice.

- Grimes wore the same pants as some guy names 2 Chainz on the red carpet, which is fun.

- We didn't watch the VMA's.
Posted by raku on August 26, 2013 at 12:58 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 13
This one's for you, Charles:…
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on August 26, 2013 at 12:58 PM · Report this
biffp 14
First, don't care. Second, if we ignore her and Robin Thicke, they might go away sooner. It's hard to hear Got to Give It Up, and not be annoyed Robin Thicke didn't ask Marvin Gaye's family for permission.

Being Outraged at the VMAs Is One of Our Nation's More Embarrassing Traditions…
Posted by biffp on August 26, 2013 at 1:03 PM · Report this

>- Robin Thicke released a single that endorses rape.

Good fucking grief
Posted by The CHZA on August 26, 2013 at 1:05 PM · Report this
raku 16
#15: Here's a translation by a white techy guy with a Reddit account for you.…
Posted by raku on August 26, 2013 at 1:14 PM · Report this
I tried watching the Miley Debacle this morning and had to turn it off at the third song. The performance wasn't too shocking - it was embarrassing! It was an exaggeration of something a 10 year old might do at their parents' party when they think they are being sexeeeeeee. Props for singing live over the guiding track though, I guess.
Posted by genevieve on August 26, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this


You think he should be criticized for wanting to simulate (or even have) sex with a younger woman?

You would harass him on the street if he and Miley Cyrus were walking hand in hand?

You would "slut shame" him for expressing (legal) sexual desires?

This is what feminists do?

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 26, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 19
Cyrus's attempts to be shocking and nasty just came off as wooden and unnatural. It wasn't sexy at at all. Kinda like that Michael Jackson/Lisa Presley kiss years ago. Thicke was just creepy, again like that kiss. Despite starting out as a child star, Cyrus is an adult, and made a choice. There is that saying about making your own bed.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore on August 26, 2013 at 1:23 PM · Report this
This wasn't that risqué.
Posted by jeffy on August 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 21
What @19 said, but even creepier.
Posted by Will in Seattle on August 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 22
The most offensive thing about that is how boring it is.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on August 26, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 23
Matt Hickey @2, I think you'd appreciate this Rich Juzwiak appreciation today, if you haven't seen it yet. Here's the opener:
In the past, there's been a certain ceremony to the public sexual awakening of pop divas.

After gently turning us down with "Let's Wait a While," Janet Jackson teased us with sensuality and newfound body confidence (the "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" video) that became more explicit with each following album. Madonna's always-present sexuality became explicit, as she turned Euro-confusing and then darkly hilarious in the passage from "Justify My Love" to Erotica. Mariah Carey jumped into a pool to wash herself clean of Tommy Mottola's oppression and within years was popping out of a cake (and her coochie cutters).

Whatever artistic integrity or biographical importance their public declarations of sexuality may represent for these women, the calculation, self-objectification, and attention-baiting is much clearer. This is always the case when your personhood is industry.…
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on August 26, 2013 at 1:49 PM · Report this
raku 24
#18: Nice weak try to "beat" feminism.

Nobody is saying that Robin Thicke should be criticized or harassed for wanting to have sex with a younger woman (but he should be criticized for many other reasons). I'm saying our society should be criticized for being OK with a married man grinding up against a young woman, but shaming Miley for the same thing (while being single). Their ages are relevant because it implies a greater power imbalance in a performance. They're not in a relationship, and that would be a different context.

Also, it's nearly impossible to "slut shame" straight men because there's no social shame in being a straight male "slut". If you call Macklemore a slut, it's meaningless, because there's no social force behind that. If you call Miley Cyrus a slut, it's backed up by slut shaming in culture from every direction (including multiple times on this page!).
Posted by raku on August 26, 2013 at 1:50 PM · Report this
@12-18: Admittedly, I run in some pretty liberal circles, but it just occurred to me that it has easily been 10+ years since I've heard anyone make a judgmental comment about a woman being sexual/scantily clad/having numerous partners/etc -except from women who claim to be feminists, and from conservative christian women.

Posted by Chris Jury on August 26, 2013 at 2:01 PM · Report this
SPG 26
They still have VMAs?
Posted by SPG on August 26, 2013 at 2:16 PM · Report this
very bad homo 27
She looks really uncomfortable the whole time, which is kinda how the rest of us feel watching this video. As for the music, I can't even believe this is what people are listening to now, but I guess I'm old.
Posted by very bad homo on August 26, 2013 at 2:18 PM · Report this
Look at the two unimpressed dudes at the 1:21 mark.
Posted by Kelly O on August 26, 2013 at 2:22 PM · Report this
I was distracted by the fact that she had the foam hand on backwards during Blurred Lines.

Don't like any of the music, and don't understand the appeal of Robin Thicke. Guess I am officially old now.
Posted by Sheryl on August 26, 2013 at 2:27 PM · Report this
treefort 30
The black background props were highly problematic. They all had the same exact shade of acceptable light-mocha skin. And yeah, the giant teddy bears were perplexing.
Posted by treefort on August 26, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Report this
smade 31
I uneasily await the sculpture of Cyrus on all fours giving birth.
Posted by smade on August 26, 2013 at 2:42 PM · Report this
Fnarf 32
I just loved Thicke on "Growing Pains". What a good, wholesome program that was!

All you folks looking for meaning or quality at the VMAs would have better luck looking for dinner in a toilet bowl. You sound like an old woman getting all hot and bothered by sexy dancing. More sensible people don't pay attention at all.
Posted by Fnarf on August 26, 2013 at 2:47 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 33
My favorite part of a sentence from the NYT review: "...there wasn’t much to look at during this year’s event, and even less reason to look at it."
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on August 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM · Report this
seattlejenny 34
I am very offended that she can't sing. She makes it work on her song cause she has her usual back-ups but it's sad and painful in his song.
Posted by seattlejenny on August 26, 2013 at 3:35 PM · Report this
I didn't get the impression that she was being widely slut shamed. She looked like a hyperactive little kid in her underwear who just discovered touching herself. The performance was just awkward and weird, not "slutty".
Posted by Amanda on August 26, 2013 at 3:51 PM · Report this
sirkowski 36
Unless she's getting bukkaked by 50 black guys live on stage, it has no interest to me.
Posted by sirkowski on August 26, 2013 at 3:54 PM · Report this
I'm saying our society should be criticized for being OK with a married man grinding up against a young woman, but shaming Miley for the same thing (while being single).

You mean like 85% of SLOG and it's comments??

The idea of a young woman freely choosing an older male violates the economic underpinnings of feminism.

Feminism is not about equality.

Feminism is a UNION!

Cheap quality, delivered to willing males, cuts the payscale, and thus the agenda disparages it.

Madonna kissing Britney 10 years ago was passe then and passe now because no one's ox is gored.

However, Miley disobeying the Union rules will get her in trouble. Real trouble. From Women's Local 1069.

Later on she will have to come out with someone her "own age" to keep the party bosses satisfied. All a joke. Don't get your hopes up grandpa. As the doyens in the hall count their cash and...smirk...
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 26, 2013 at 6:20 PM · Report this
@39: You are completely nuts, aren't you.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on August 26, 2013 at 7:04 PM · Report this
lolorhone 41
Jesus, folks. Cyrus is an adult, at least legally also. Thicke's marital status has shit to do with his performance persona. "We Can't Stop" was written with Rihanna in mind; Cyrus's rendition is the same kind of awkward interpolation of black music that has existed since Pat Boone. "Blurred Lines" does not endorse rape, it borrows heavily from both playa bullshit (there's a difference) and Marvin Gaye. From a black man, having black back-up dancers is not any kind of real racial subjugation. Twerking is just a dance, ass-intensive as many modern styles are. The daughter of a corny country has-been and the son of a former TV Sweater Dad don't really merit all this sociopolitical pearl-clutching.
Posted by lolorhone on August 26, 2013 at 7:12 PM · Report this
Banna 42
All of you are going to sound as silly as the people who were lamenting the end of morality when Madonna was rolling around in a wedding dress singing about virginity.
Posted by Banna on August 26, 2013 at 7:19 PM · Report this
raku 43
Just in case anyone besides #39 didn't get my bad joke: feminists have a variety of backgrounds and opinions and I don't speak for all feminists, of course.
Posted by raku on August 26, 2013 at 7:21 PM · Report this
mr. herriman 44
Say and think whatever you want about it, but it's just a fact that without it, the Internet couldn't have given us this priceless image:…
Posted by mr. herriman on August 26, 2013 at 8:33 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 45
At least the dozen or so Pedobear dancers get to remain anonymous. Whoever designed her shag-carpeted bustier should serve 12 hours in a pillory under their name in foot-high letters at the main entrance to Universal Studios (or the LA landmark of your choice).
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on August 26, 2013 at 11:09 PM · Report this
SeattleWeedTours 46
I love it when people get offended on other people's behalf:

"I find it deeply disturbing when white people appropriate black culture"

The most offensive part of Miley's bit at the VMAs: she didn't bring it. If you're gonna twerk, twerk it OUT baby. Miley isn't appropriating black culture, you stones. She's appropriating gay black New Orleans dance music. Remember when Madonna invented S&M? Miley's just bringing her fan base a step closer to Big Freedia.

Miley clowned the Thicke guy the whole time. She didn't look sexy. She looked bored. White guy in a pimp suit? Let Miley come through..

Get over her dad and Hanna Montana. Child may not have talent, but she got culture. She's holding a big middle finger at sanitized R&B and you're arguing against her.
Posted by SeattleWeedTours http:// on August 27, 2013 at 6:52 AM · Report this
sissoucat 47
So... this is what everybody is so incensed about ?

Ah. Well. She has a dance routine and she dances it with professionalism. So what ?

20 years ago I was very shocked to see Mickael Jackson handling and moving his genitals around in his clips, while yelling like he had his fingers in a mouse trap. Sure, there was fabric between his genitals and his hands, but come on, he was grabbing his junk and moving it around.

As far as I see here there's no actual contact between Miley's hands and her clitoris. Even through fabric. She's not drooling over herself nor acting one tenth as creepy as Mickael Jackson always did. So, where does the outcry come from ?

She did a suggestive dance and faked touching herself. How come that could be called inappropriate ? Is is because she's female ? Or because she's not The Aging Madonna ?

@ David Schmader : as for the incest victim stuff : why do Americans always have to say that oversexualized women must be incest victims ? Can't you feel how demeaning that is to actual incest victims ? "Oh, she's dancing mostly naked and acting the slut on stage, like so many women in entertainment who are after big money, like Rihanna, Beyoncé, like all of them really, but she's so young she must have caught that sluthood from being an incest victim !" Yeah, right.

That's prejudice against female incest victims, that's all it is.
Posted by sissoucat on August 27, 2013 at 9:10 AM · Report this
lolorhone 48
@46: Thank you. I was trying to say something similar @41, but you referenced Big Freedia and it made me smile.
@47: sissoucat, it's just the deeply American need to pathologize a woman's sexuality, especially if it's overt. I myself just found it awkward, not salacious or provocative.
Posted by lolorhone on August 27, 2013 at 10:01 AM · Report this
#25, You can't be serious. Have you ever read the comments section of any article on any website about rape? Look up "Steubenville," for god's sake. You'll find plenty of male commenters who state she should have known if she dressed sexy at a party and got drunk with the guys, this kind of thing would happen.

Or look at the judge's ruling in Dan Savage's post today about the 14-year-old who was raped by her teacher. The judge said she acted "older" than she was, which somehow meant it was more ok for the teacher to rape her.

Also, I love how "feminist" has become THE dismissive descriptor used to belittle any woman who doesn't think the way a male poster wants them to think on a discussion board (see commenter #1). In other words, "If you have a different opinion than me, it must be because you're just another feminist with a whole man-hating agenda. Therefore, your arguments are basically irrelevant and irrrational. But please, do go on, you radical feminist, you..."
Posted by virginia mason on August 27, 2013 at 10:15 AM · Report this
Fortunate 50
My issue with this isn't the sexuality at all.

It just sucks.

Her singing is horrid. Her dancing is terrible. The theatrics are so over done and surreal that they would only work if they were intended as parody, which I gather they weren't.

This has pretty much zero artistic merit.

This saddens me not that it is an overly sexualized performance by a desperate pop icon.

This saddens me because apparently in the world of contemporary popular music any striving for actual art is dead.
Posted by Fortunate on August 27, 2013 at 10:28 AM · Report this
Posted by venomlash on August 27, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
@50: That. Exactly that.
Posted by J from Oregon on August 27, 2013 at 11:33 AM · Report this
#50, Here is a great essay regarding the lack of artistry in modern pop culture as it pertains to female sexuality:

"I watched a clip from the MTV VMAs where former child star and talented singer Miley Cyrus wore a PVC eunuch costume and pretended to masturbate her erased crotch with a giant foam finger while a grinning Robin Thicke stood fully clothed upstage...

The panting, the constant lolling tongue, humping legs, wide eyed bounding around the stage suggest labrador puppies are the go to model for fearless erotica in 2013...

Pop sexuality of the 80s was what I found myself pining for as I watched Cyrus’ “twerking” display. When Madonna mimed masturbation on stage and sang about being made to feel “like a virgin, touched for the very first time” it shocked people because a female pop singer was unashamedly exploring her own sexual feelings and behaviours.

Cyrus’ supposed rebellion on the other hand, notably in the video for her recent single We Can’t Stop, is a sanitised, toned, oiled and deodorized display of sexualisation by numbers that looks anything but authentic. The self-consciousness of it all could almost be read as an endearingly genuine act of teenage rebellion if it weren’t all so calculatedly zeitgeisty. Madonna was a sexual role model who you could imagine as a friend’s older sister, wise beyond her years with a stash of cigarettes and make up she’d let you try on. Her ownership of her sexuality was all of ours, she was sexy and she acknowledged sex in an all encompassing all powerful way that is so many miles from a girl prone on all fours, humping inanimate objects in her underwear, gazing dead eyed into a camera lens."
Posted by virginia mason on August 27, 2013 at 3:19 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 54
What @50 said. The problem here is that the dancing, the singing, the writing, the costumes, the everything is lame. They're trying to substitute being "provacative" for being good at something.

And is Robin Thicke and relation to Alan Thicke? If so, that family should be forcibly sterilized.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on August 27, 2013 at 3:34 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 55
and, any, whatever.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on August 27, 2013 at 3:34 PM · Report this
Just watched it and I can't believe people are in a fuss! Madonna was far more sexual at the VMAs when she sang Like a Virgin 30 years ago; the only difference is she was an older and a better performer. Miley is still a child, though she's been sexualized for years. Let her find her way and stop psychoanalyzing.
Posted by mitten on August 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM · Report this
OK, I'll be honest, I don't follow pop culture much, so I had no idea who Miley Cyrus was. I had to look her up on Wikipedia. Then I saw her dance. It was painful. Not because it was raunchy, but because it was so bad. So, so bad. It looked like she was trying be the next Madonna (or Lady Gaga) but failed horribly because she has very little talent. What's up with the Teddy Bears, anyway? And who is the other dude?

What's up indeed. Then it hit me! Of course, Teddy Bears. Brilliant. Maybe I've giving her and her crew way too much credit, but think about it folks. She was a child star. A very attractive one at that. So, she acts ridiculously raunchy (the tongue hanging out as far as possible) and basically makes fun of the whole sexy-baby thing. Who does she dance with? A guy whose videos feature women trying to act really young and sexy (not barely legal young -- but I want my mommy young). It is as if this Miley Cyrus gal is basically saying "You want some sexy-baby filth, you sick ass perverted America? Here you go!"

Or, it was just another tacky MTV performance.
Posted by Ross on August 27, 2013 at 6:13 PM · Report this
lolorhone 58
@55: Yes, Alan is Robin's father.
Posted by lolorhone on August 27, 2013 at 6:40 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 59
@1: "Who the fuck cares."

@57: Exactly. Another insta"controversy" that the media slobbers all over.
Posted by undead ayn rand on August 27, 2013 at 7:42 PM · Report this
There's sexually suggestive dancing and then there's rubbing one's genitalia against someone else's on stage. That's gross!

If she wanted to distance herself from her childlike personna, there were classy ways to do it. Natalie Merchant didn't pole dance or slap backup singers' butts during "Because the Night," and that's a very sexually charged song.
Posted by DRF on August 29, 2013 at 9:16 AM · Report this

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