I have a huge problem with how this whole Miley Cyrus at the VMAs situation went down. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t care for the performance and I would never act like that. However, I’m really bothered by all the slut shaming that Miley has received. I’m am not a Miley fan. I don’t care for her music or her acting but I have a problem with how people responded to her risque performance. Sure it was jaw dropping, something many people didn’t expect. I didn’t watch the performance until a few days after it happened and I saw a large amount of Will Smith memes (which are actually a reaction to Lady Gaga, not Miley) as well as chicken butt memes. I heard lots about how Miley was raunchy and a bad role model for teenage girls.I watched this video and sure, it wasn’t the most kosher thing I have seen on the internet but It definitely wasn’t the worst. I wouldn’t let my boyfriend’s 7 year old sister watch it but that’s part of the reason its on at 9 or 10 at night on MTV (not a prime time channel).
The first thing i’m going to address is this whole “chicken butt” comment. So maybe her shorts were a little too tight. Cool story. The problem with criticizing Miley’s body, is that she doesn’t have an ounce of fat on her. She is so skinny and nit picking at people like that promotes poor body image, that no matter what you do its never enough. I personally have fought with the issue of body image and trying to conform to our idea of a “perfect body”, which is unattainable. Look at Miley, she’s got some curves and is really thin yet people can still say “she needs to do squats before she can wear those shorts”. People wonder why there are an increase in eating disorders in adolescents– it’s because our society, for whatever reason, idolizes the supermodel body that is unattainable by most of the population and then criticize those who don’t have anything wrong with their body. We make comments to question what girls want to eat and wear.
Second, slut shaming, especially in Miley’s case, I find to be done more by women than by men. We are our own worst critics. I’m sure we’ve all heard it. A group of girls gossiping about another girl wearing a skirt that was “too short” or heels that were “too high” or dancing “inappropriately” or making out in public. Let’s be honest ladies, we’ve all talked about another girl doing these things. Most likely, you have done at least one yourself. The problem with slut shaming is we tell women “you’re bad” if you act out of the stereotypical idea of women. People like to think of girls as virtuous and virginal and if we break out of that mold, we’re asking for it. Slut shaming promotes rape culture. It says, if you act provocatively you can’t say no to someone who wants to have sex.
The last thing is that everyone blamed Miley for her provocative acts but I haven’t heard one thing wrong with Robin Thicke’s song Blurred Lines, a song that promotes rape culture.This is another part of slut shaming. Women get criticized, and men get a high five. Men can be sexual and degrading but women have to cross their legs and look pretty. In an interview with GQ, Robin Thicke said that he and his colleagues were the perfect people to “make fun of” be derogatory towards women because they’re all happily married with children and that it was fun to be derogatory to women for once. I may be going out on a limb here, but if my husband made this song/video I would be rather offended. Just because you’re married doesn’t give you a free pass to be sexist. Many feminists have criticized this song, some even made a feminist parody of the song (I like the lyrics to the parody but I think the video is degrading to men which is counter productive to their point). My biggest problem is that it’s second nature to the public to be critical of a woman who is provocative in any sense but for a man it’s accepted and ok. I hope that someday our concept of gender roles and norms will be constructed in such a way where everyone is held to the same standard– either its inappropriate for anyone to act in a sexual manner (which most likely wont happen) or we all just get over the fact that women are sexual beings too and let it go.