After a busy day, I just had a chance to catch up on the madness of last night’s MTV Video Music Awards, where child star Miley Cyrus appears to have come out of her shell, so to speak.
Her sexual tongue moves, “twerking,” and almost non-existent costumes were in a way repulsive – and not because I’m particularly prudish.
Cyrus shouldn’t dance like a stripper simply because she looks foolish – or “desperate” as Brooke Shields who played opposite Cyrus in “Hannah Montana” – told the Today Show this morning. She shouldn’t over-sexualize herself because it undermines her talent, her accomplishments, and her natural beauty – and it reverses the conversation about women back to their bodies.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the women’s liberation movement about drawing attention away from women’s bodies and redirecting the conversation to our minds and ambitions? Isn’t that the reason the modern feminist movement born out of the 1960s and 70s devoted so much attention to undermining femininity and devaluing dating and marriage? Last I checked feminist icons like Erica Jong and Gloria Steinem viewed these traditional institutions as a modern form of societal imprisonment, forcing women to focus entirely on their bodies and their roles as mothers and wives rather than on their intellect and value outside of the home.
Well, look how far we’ve come.
In all the gyrating and peeling off of clothes, this contradiction clearly eluded the young Cyrus. In fact, the whole parading of young female singers – from Madonna to Brittany Spears to Miley Cyrus – on stage in stripper-like performances are almost a parody. In 2013 we no longer burn bras, now we just encourage young female stars to bare – and shake – it all.
It’s sad that we don’t even recognize the irony of this. What I’m sure Cyrus’s manager sold to her as provocative and “mature” is just the opposite of what modern feminism claims to be all about.