Miley’s plunge into the deep end of her post-Disney career hasn’t been quite graceful enough to avoid the scrutinizing eye of media coverage. From her outfits that show “too much skin” to her unique cropped hair to her new hit single, Miley gets more grief about how she looks and expresses herself than any celebrity in recent tabloids. Her performance at the VMAs has been the tip of the ice berg for many people; viewers have their opinions plastered all over the internet, and the negativity there is toxic.
People don’t seem to understand what was actually “wrong” with Miley’s performance, though, as well as the way she acts.
It doesn’t surprise me that the comments on the VMAs came down to the societal standard of propriety. It is disheartening, though, that most viewers chose a chauvinistic approach to their comments; they made their grievances about Miley’s body rather than actual faults. There is no validity in those statements.
Here are some valid criticisms of Miley:
◾Her casual racism is wrong. She uses black women as accessories, like they’re items that give her “street cred.” In her music video for “We Can’t Stop,” most of her friends are skinny, privileged white girls and boys; the black women are segregated into one weird scene of Miley twerking. The origin of twerking is dirty South/crunk hip-hop associated with strip clubs and drug dealers. Since she is a rich white girl, she can play dress up. She can act like a minority specifically from a lower socio-economic level, because it makes her “cool,” and “edgy,” and “ratchet.”
On Miley Cyrus, Ratchet Culture and Accessorizing With Black PeopleBut, her video sends a powerful and disrespectful visual message that needs to be addressed. Human beings are not accessories. Putting a white girl literally in the center of a shot while women of color are off to the side creates a dynamic such that she is in charge and they are in service to her. If Miley is inspired by rapper culture, that’s not a problem. But acting like a minority of people that have been born into an environment that makes them underprivileged, underrepresented, and discriminated against is wrong. Frankly, it’s disgusting.
◾This applies to the first bullet, but she claims twerking as her own. She basically mimics black people for fun and profit. Even though 1. She could be very misrepresenting of a culture she really has no knowledge of and 2. Her casual racism pays no attention to the fact that there are people out there who are born into actual “ratchet culture.” There are people out there who are born into an environment of gangs and drugs, prostitution and strip clubs. Being “ratchet” isn’t a piece of jewelry you can slip on when you want to come off as cool and edgy. Playing at being poor while earning a profit is disrespectful and tactless.
Here are some invalid criticisms of Miley:
◾She is a slut/trash/ho. She portrays herself very sexually, but how is that wrong? Whenever men are portrayed as sexual, they are seen as “heroes” and more attractive for it. Robin Thicke, for example.