Lady Gaga must be pissed.
After all the hype, all the preparation, and after turning in a fantastic performance, the only thing anyone is talking about is Miley Cyrus‘ tongue.
The Internet is agog with commentary about Miley’s “lewd” performance. Everyone from Vanity Fair to the Parents’ Television Council (“Heads should roll at MTV”) to Robin Thicke’s mother (“I can never unsee it!”) are chiming in to complain about the ex-Disney star-gone-bad’s twerking ways. She’s lost her mind! She is raping black culture! She is a bad influence! And frankly, I am really tired of it.
Let’s think for a moment about where it was performed: the MTV Video Music Awards. In case, you have never tuned into MTV in the 30 years it has been on the air, it is a highly sexualized network that has always pushed the levels of taste and decorum because, why? It is marketed for teenagers; the demographic whose job it is to push the levels of taste and decorum.
Concerned parents everywhere are pacing in their K-Mart best about the sexual messages Miley was sending their children through her scantily clad outfits and lascivious grinding on Robin Thicke. She is telling our daughters to go out and have sex! This may come as a shock to you, but your kids already want to have sex. Some of them may even want to have sex with Robin Thicke (and with a name like “thick” possibly more than you think…). Miley Cyrus, nor Madonna, nor Lady Gaga, nor Katy Perry, nor Rihanna, nor any other pop star past present or future is going to change the fact that your teenage girls (and some of your boys) are dreaming of dick.
But let’s address the real issue here: no one would give a damn about this performance if Miley Cyrus were not already known as a plucky good girl that worked for Disney. We have heard this argument so many times before: Zac Efron. Lindsay Lohan. Chris Brown. Amanda Bynes. Britney Spears. Mary-Kate Olsen. Jodie Sweeten. Macaulay Culkin; child stars who strayed from their child star images of innocence, morphing into people that children “should no longer look up to.” And you know what, maybe they shouldn’t. But you know what else is also true? These people are NO LONGER CHILDREN. Parents want these “role models” to always stay “role models” for their children, neglecting the fact that their squeaky clean images were fabricated for them by a very large, very rich corporate machine whose only concern is to make their very large, very rich corporate machine even bigger and more wealthy. And in case you don’t remember what it is like to be 20, it is actually quite different than being 13. People evolve, people change.
And I am not arguing that these metamorphoses are always for the better; Chris Brown definitely hit a snag in judgement and who knows what the hell snapped inside Amanda Bynes. But besides having their every move captured and studied and ridiculed, they are no different than your own children. Your own children are going to do irresponsible things, have sex with people that maybe they shouldn’t, and they are even going to do drugs, no matter how many lyrics you demand to be bleeped from the broadcast; these are all parts of growing up. And this is where parents need to look hard in the mirror. Maybe you care so much about how someone else’s child is maturing because you don’t want to deal with your own child’s maturation. Think about that and get back to me.
Did Miley “embarrass” herself by dancing around the stage in a nude bikini, tongue a-flapping? Maybe. From this side of the TV, it was kind of hilarious. But obviously she was having a great time. And the kids in the front row, the ones for whom it was meant, were having a great time. So everybody else can scowl from the sidelines if they want. Miley is not crazy. She is like every other college aged kid with the added hindrance/benefit of having a national stage to act out. Until she starts smashing in parked cars with umbrellas, dousing her dog in lighter fluid, getting arrested for DUIs, or beating the shit out of her boyfriend, I think she is doing OK.
So forget the haters, Miley. Only God can judge you. Remember. It’s you who owns the night.