How many essays have you read about Miley Cyrus today? I think I’m up to 11. It’s like a gender studies bingo card: cultural appropriation, slut-shaming, female chauvinist pigs, shock politics, objectification of self, minstrel performance, etc. etc. etc. It was BAD, you guys, like… really bad.
There’s a lot of angles to take on a performance as awful as that one, and other people have written well about the racism. Some are slut-shaming like cray (looking at you Mika) and entirely missing the point (taking your clothes off is not the issue here… remember this epic performance in minimal clothing? Or this one?) At least, it’s not THE issue.
To me, her act was a naked and unappealing power grab from a young woman who decided to fake dominance by mimicking the least attractive traits of the big boys she envies. What are the hallmarks of male entertainer success? Decorating yourself with women, groping anything you want? An entourage of colorful people as props? To my mind, it was basically a 3 minute infomercial for Female Chauvinist Pigs, Ariel Levy’s stellar exploration of young women’s strange embrace of raunch culture. Thesis: I’d rather be the objectifier than the objectified, and if that’s not an option, I’ll just objectify myself before you do it to me.
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