Home » A+E » Commentary: 2013 MTV VMA performance only proves ‘We Can’t Stop’ Miley’s provocative behavior

Commentary: 2013 MTV VMA performance only proves ‘We Can’t Stop’ Miley’s provocative behavior

Miley Cyrus’ MTV Video Music Award performance has been viewed as controversial. Credit: Courtesy of Facebook

Miley Cyrus’ MTV Video Music Award performance has been viewed as controversial. Credit: Courtesy of Facebook

So smiley Miley has become a bit rowdy.

The 20-year-old’s MTV Video Music Awards performance of her new single “We Can’t Stop” and duet in Robin Thicke’s summer hit “Blurred Lines” Sunday landed on the tips of everyone’s tongues as fast as the songstress slipped hers out. From mothers weeping for the future of their daughters to Rolling Stone lauding it to be what theVMAs are all about, the buzz surrounding the spectacle (and the fact it garnered 306,000 tweets per minute during her parade on stage) makes it safe to say she headlined the evening.

The argument, however, is whether she should be proud of raising“twerking” awareness or be ashamed of her blatant expression of sexuality.

On first view, I wanted Miley Cyrus to stop against the will of her lyrics. The amount of crotch grabbing and phallic references was enough motive for me to finally hang up my new shower curtain to wash away what could probably never be unseen. Things changed upon second view, though. With Lady Gaga opening the show in a thong and seashell bra and Robin Thicke suavely taking the stage as his extremely controversial “Blurred Lines” music video acquired more than 150 million views on YouTube, it seemed the public’s hounding of the former “Hannah Montana” star seemed a bit confused and misdirected.

That title of “former Hannah Montana,” though, is the platter on which Miley’s backlash is served.

It’s an unspoken expectation of kids and parents alike for Disney channel starlets to keep the Disney princess tiara fastened even when their contract has long expired. “Wizards of Waverly Place’s” Selena Gomez must return home before midnight, “Sonny with a Chance’s” Demi Lovato needs to be kind to the beast and “Lizzie McGuire’s” Hilary Duff should obey her father. However, it might be safe to assume Cinderella and her likes have never been a 20-year-old young woman in 2013.

It is important for me to disclaim that not all girls will sexualize foam fingers while sporting a teddy bear onesie upon entering their 20s; however, it is easy to see why Miley did.

It is no secret the media is expert at delivering conflicting ideas to developing young females, creating the ideal woman to be sexy, but professional; thin, but curvy; mysterious, but not crazy; stylish, but not too dressy. Miley’s persona could be considered one interpretation of those guidelines, manufactured into a Katy Perry/Ke$ha breed.

However, that would also imply Miley had no say in her stage antics, music style and dress, but instead was led blindly to the street corner by her entourage and cornered by MTV in the name of good ratings. Although society tries to mold individuals, we live in a time where we ultimately control the Play-Doh. So perhaps, dare I say, the reason for Miley’s supposedly “shocking,” “raunchy” 2013 VMAs performance was Miley just being Miley.

It’s an incredibly simplistic answer to the question of Miley’s sexually-driven spectacle to be the “signs of our times,” that exploiting young women as sexual objects is the norm these days. It is just as naive to believe that no part of a girl’s personality is influenced by what she sees and hears on TV than to claim that she is solely influenced by what she sees and hears on TV. It is possible Miley’s wild personality can be a consequence of her child star roots, but perhaps it is fixed in what she truly feels to be her identity, only suppressed by her child star roots.

So you don’t like it? Believe it or not, we can also choose the cookie cutters that shape our Play-Doh selves. The remote control can manage your TV screen, the dials on the radio makes you the almighty power over the music played and being a parent gives you quite a say in how your child is raised. You can’t explain to your 12-year-old why Hannah Montana has seemed to move south aspiring to be a Vegas showgirl? Remember that time you changed to be your current self? Yeah, me too.

Among all the confusing and conflicting ideas the media spells out for young women, the ultimate contradiction is pushing for conformity while praising individuality.

It’s Miley’s prerogative to sport a mullet-with-twisted-horns hairstyle, it’s Miley’s prerogative to express her sexuality while others may choose to veil it, and it’s Miley’s prerogative to get engaged at 19 if she so chooses.

Where are that girl’s parents? They are there, but remember, college students of past, present and future — she’s 20 years old. Miley does what Miley wants.

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