Stop for a moment, in all your outrage over Miley Cyrus’ antics at last weekend’s Video Music Awards. Look at the above photo, from Miley’s Facebook page and ask yourself:
Is that sexy? Do you think that Miley thinks that’s sexy? If you do think that’s sexy, are you feeling OK? Do you think Miley’s an idiot?
I didn’t watch last week’s VMAs. My initial understanding of what had happened came entirely via my Tumblr dashboard, which was filled with reaction photos (the Smith family photo is my personal favorite even though they weren’t really reacting to her) and gifs of Miley twerkin’ it and grinding up against Robin Thicke, who I keep wanting to call Alan, because I remember when his dad was a talk-show host before he was Mr. Seaver.
I digress. Anyway, I felt as if I was missing out on some major piece of pop culture by not actually watching the video, to see what all the fuss really was about. I mean, it made sense just from the gifs, but maybe there was something more to it.
I watched her step out amongst pedobears. I watched as she stuck her tongue out, not in the least bit sexy. I watched as she stripped off the bear bodysuit she wore down to a flesh-colored plastic bikini-something (and mic pack awkwardly strapped on the back). I watched as she gyrated with a foam finger and backed her booty up to Thicke.
It wasn’t sexy. It was campy. She was making fun of it all. Her Disney sisters before her had gotten all hot and sexy and caused controversy. Britney and Xtina had both kissed Madonna (who herself made us gasp while performing Like A Virgin at the VMAs oh-so-many years ago – though she was never a Disney girl).
So Miley played the part. But as she gyrated, she winked at us. She was asking us, “Is this what I’m supposed to do now? Be all hot and sexy because I’m 18 and that’s what’s supposed to happen?” She was telling us, “Fine. I’ll play your game. But I’ll play it my way. And you’ll all be talking about it, because maybe I can show how freakin’ ridiculous this is.”
I’m no mind-reader. I can’t pretend to really know what was going on in her mind. Maybe she really thought sticking her tongue out like that and feeling herself up with a foam finger was sexy. I find that hard to believe, though.
Maybe, just maybe, Miley was punking us.
If that’s the case, she did a damn good job.
Photo via Miley Cyrus‘ Facebook page.