Miley Cyrus’ and Robin Thicke’s performance at this year’s MTV VMAs is a topic that frankly has been completely and utterly exhausted. The Internet and various other media outlets are still talking about it, despite the fact that it’s been over a month since the awards show. I’ve read article after article, each more opinionated than the last. There are, of course, the few supporters of Cyrus who very much enjoyed the performance. But those people are generally drowned out by shockingly universal outcry against it.
The negative responses can be roughly filtered into two groups. There are those convinced that Miley Cyrus acted extremely inappropriately, especially for having a fan base consisting largely of preteen girls. Those critics do not shy away from blatantly slut-shaming Cyrus for her antics. The retaliation against those holds a very feminist argument. These critics insist that, in fact, much of the blame falls on Thicke, a married 36-year-old father. He, after all, allowed a 20-year-old girl to grind against him in front of the entire world.
I think it’s fair to say that neither side is particularly wrong. It’s very true that Cyrus’ behavior was grossly inappropriate for her audience and that Thicke contributed to this behavior despite being a husband and a father. But the opinions that truly matter drastically contradict those of the public. Paula Patton, Thicke’s wife, praised the performance and defended both Cyrus and her husband. Thicke has vocalized his opinion that the performance wasn’t sexual and Cyrus has spoken out that they set out to make history. At the rate the story is going, it would seem that they did make history. But if there’s anything particularly ugly about the entire scenario, it’s the backlash itself. There is a whole lot of blame going around, but no one is pointing the finger at themself. MTV let it air, Cyrus chose to dress and dance the way she did and Thicke just stood there. They’re completely at fault. But for what? For allowing society’s standards for all its members to become virtually nonexistent? That is no one’s fault but our own.
The arguments being made against all parties involved existed long before the 2013 VMAs. The entire concept of sexuality and the roles both men and women play in it are no longer taboo as they once were. it was a problem created by us. But instead acting like the adults we are, we naturally choose to sit around, complain and use any celebrity that comes along as a scapegoat. This doesn’t solve the problem. If anything, it perpetuates it.
I didn’t like Cyrus’ and Thicke’s performance. Though I like her music, watching her perform it made me more than a little uncomfortable. If people are so passionate about something, they need to be proactive rather than rant about it on the Internet. Cyrus can’t be our excuse for being too lazy to make a change.
Personally, I think Cyrus could have acted better. But really, how is she different than any other college kid? From any one of us here at Bellevue College? We’re all trying to figure out who we are and what we want to be. That can only come about by making mistakes and learning from them. Sometimes we’ll regret what we do and sometimes we won’t. But the fact of the matter is, we go through similar things all the time—the only difference is that the entire world isn’t watching.
It’s not fair to expect Cyrus to act twice her age just because she has young fans. It’s admirable when celebrities can live up to their position of a role model, but we can’t expect it from anyone.
If we’re allowed to make mistakes and to grow at our own pace, in our way—why can’t Miley Cyrus?