Miley Cyrus and the VMAs - A Few Sincere Questions from an Old Fart

I guess I’m officially an old fart, because I am totally baffled by the Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke “twerk” performance at the VMAs. Of course it was troubling to see at many levels, but it births in me numerous legitimate questions about a lot of different issues. If someone has answers for me, I’d love to hear them.


Who wrote the page in the child-star playbook that insists that female Disney Channel stars must hype their sexuality in order to be taken seriously as an adult artist?

One of the most awkward things I have ever seen was Ashley Tisdale singing her new pop song “He Said, She Said” on Good Morning America. In front of a bunch of 9 year old girls and their moms. Seeing her gyrate her hips and singing, “I can see us touching like that” just felt a bit wrong to me. I felt the same way watching Miley’s performance. Only much worse.


Did anyone else think she looked like a child playing dress up?

One blogger I read commented that Miley’s performance reminded her of a 13 year-old going to the mall for the first time in heels and a mini-skirt, with red lipstick sticking to her teeth. Children trying too hard to grow up. So troubling. 


What, exactly, is “twerking?”

Actually, I know the answer to that one because I googled it. The Urban Dictionary defines twerk as “The rhythmic gyrating of the lower fleshy extremities in a lascivious manner with the intent to elicit sexual arousal or laughter in ones intended audience.” I think Miley was aiming for one but got the other.


Does Miley feel her performance was “liberating?”

The sexual revolution of the past forty years has communicated that women can be just as sexual…just as free as men. But does she really feel like she is empowering herself by becoming a sex object? Sure, it is her right. But is it moving her life in the direction she desires? Or is she going backwards? Did she make great strides for women on stage Sunday night? Hmmm.


Where are the men in Cyrus’ life?

I have blogged previously about Billy Ray Cyrus dopping the ball as a father way back when Miley was still a teenager. Now that she is an experienced twenty year-old, I still wonder the same thing. Yes, she is officially an adult and has probably cut the cord entirely from her parents, but what about other men around her? What about the agents and backers and choreographers of the VMA performance who thought this was a good idea? We know the exploitation of workers is a problem in 3rd world nations. What about at the VMAs?


What about Robin Thicke?

Here we have a 36 year-old husband and father, participating in this. Where is his chivalry? How does he demonstrate any desire to protect women? His previous music videos clearly communicate that he has no problem with objectifying women, but Miley is practically a child. He was gyrating with someone young enough to be his daughter. There’s something wrong here.


What happened to the music industry?

Wasn’t there a time when artists were known for their music and not just for their ability to shock and cross “blurred lines?” Sure, the Van Halen concert I saw in 10th grade was laced with sexual innuendo, but most people were there because the band had real talent and skill. We could take or leave David Lee Roth’s antics.


Why does MTV continue to host a “Video Music Award” show when they no longer show videos?

Seriously. That’s a reasonable question. Based upon past performances, my sincere belief is that the VMAs are not about music videos but about giving performers free reign to shock and awe. To prop up their buzz in and around social media. Given the content of this post (and millions of others like it), it is working. 

Sad indeed.  

Barrett JohnsonComment