The Miley Cyrus Outrage Thing - thoughts.(23 Posts)
I don't want to discuss whether or not Miley Cyrus was right or wrong to do her rude dancing, I want to discuss the reaction of the press/society to her performance. I want to discuss it because I think it is another example of women being held to account as the gatekeepers of sex/slut-shaming etc, but am not sure whether my thinking is right. Anyway, this is how i see it:
The aptly named Robin Thicke puts together a song all about how "good girls" shouldn't want great sex, but we know they do really, and how it turns them from "good girls" to "animals" and he also makes an accompanying video that clearly objectifies women and is full of very rude dancing. Apart from some feminists (who are quickly labelled anti-sex, humourless kill-joys) everyone loves this song, it is played on airwaves on family radio all Summer and, apart from a little "oh, isn't it naughty!" tutting, the video seems to be accepted too. No major condemnation of Robin Thicke who, presumably, has made lots of money.
Miley Cyrus then appears on stage with said Thicke, and joins him in said rude dancing doing similar routine and wearing similar outfits to the women in his video. Instantly there is moral outrage across society/media etc - this woman is a terrible influence, morally bankrupt and generally derided and despised. There is speculation that she may have done this to (shock, horror!) promote herself and earn lots of money.
Why, when a man does something like this, is it a bit risque but basically OK but when a woman does it, it is unacceptable?
Because the world isn't ready to see her as a woman yet. She made her fortune as Hannah Montana, and has been kept artificially juvenile. Suddenly we, as a society, are faced with a sexual creature who we have been encouraged, for the last 5 years, to think of as a child.
But we dont really understand why we are shocked, so we blame her. She must be doing something wrong, or we wouldn't feel so shocked, right?
I think most of the issue is the combination of race and sex. Example article with links to other articles here:
I blame Billy Rae. And not just for his mullet.
All this sex sex sex is so dull dull dull.
It was a horrible performance, but there were two people on that stage and only one of them is being condemned for it and even worse, the performance was based on his video...
He's had women dancing with him like that in his video, in pretty much that outfit and of course the unrated one where they're naked, on an advert for speakers that look like a sex toy pre-watershed and it's all fine.
As soon as the woman dancing has a name and is somebody who started off as a 'good girl' there's a wave of moral judgement.
That's what I've been rantingly saying since it happened anyway, lol
Hmm. I was surprised at the, largely, lack of sophistication across the media.
Given that most consumers of media are fairly aware of the processes of the corporate nature of the production of image and entertainment, and given that most people writing all those outraged stories are not naïve about the ?industrial? nature of the media image of "stars" - well, given all that it struck me that the majority discourse about the performance - it's focus on the performer known as Miley Cyrus - was really uninflected by that knowledge.
It strikes me that we are lagging behind in a mass language/vocabulary to discuss stuff that we know.
I also think that the whole thing signalled to me that "we" are involved in a heated debate about media representations of female sexuality. You can say that this has always been the case, but I think that what is new is that "we" are in the process of developing a language for discussing it with a new level of immediacy. Perhaps something that is honed particularly for media representations of female sexuality? Perhaps a (heightened) awareness that this is a particular conflict zone, distinct* from other areas of conflict, and needing its own language?
i do wonder if one thing about representation is that one, or a few women, may benefit (in actual economic terms), while the negative cost is incurred by many, many women, who then live their lives in the shadow of the image. Simultaneously, there is a further question of the agency of the woman who is bodliy attached to the image, precisely because the image is a corporate product. Factor into that the idea of desire/fantasy and who the image is aimed at, and what it is for, and the whole question of agency/effect/intentionality becomes hugely problematic.
I expected more of these discussions somewhere and was stunned that so much of the discussion became mired in the issue sex, and implicitly of Miley Cyrus' putative ownership of her mediated sexuality. Crazy.
I read the feminist analysis of the racial angle and i thought that was interesting.
I think there is something very strange about modern media and its dealings with (female) sexuality.
From my perspective more people I think were cringing hard, and wondering what she was on, more than she's despicable.
I think shes come out since since, condemning child acting, I think its perhaps the 'she was on the Disney channel' angle.
So why were they cringing then? Why weren't they cringing at Robin Thicke? You have missed the point of my post, I want to know why the female performer is judged more harshly than the male performer.
"The Disney angle" echos colditz's point above, that we are outraged by someone who we hve been taught to think about as a child - but she is not a child, she is an adult just like Robin Thicke.So we were happy to let Disney control her sexuality, treat her as a clean-cut, virginal teenager but when she takes control of her own sexuality, we judge her? What about Justin Bieber, aother clean-cut teen who has recently been raunching up his image and has been linked to Miley Cyrus ovr this matter - where is the equal moral outrage? Conspicuously silent.
People were cringing at RT , saying he looked like a Dirty old man.
There's no need to be so aggressive,
I haven't missed the point because I am not simply being a sheep and agreeing with everyone else completely.
I think like I said before she looked like she was something tbh.
and just in general the singing/performance was atrocious.
Thats bullshit rosabud, Justin Bielber is slated all the time.
"People were cringing at RT , saying he looked like a Dirty old man."
The media weren't, I can't find anything mainstream criticizing him for it, only her.
Robin thicke is being ridiculed in the media even more so since that picture of him grabbing a woman's arse. And Justin bieber receives tons of hatred a story on him pops up on he dailymail virutally everyday.
"when she takes control of her own sexuality"
But she hasn't taken control of her sexuality has she? She's just gone along with the industry standard, taking it one bit further to give it more shock value.
" I want to know why the female performer is judged more harshly than the male performer."
Because unfortunately we still live in a society rife with sexual double standards where we have a "can't blame a man for trying" attitude, whilst we consider women as the ones that determine how far things go, how far they lead men on, etc. It's the same attitude that meant respected men were excused for going to prostitutes but prostitutes were considered the lowest of the low, or why people make excuses for grown men that date schoolgirls on the grounds that schoolgirls purposefully make themselves look older. It's the "He's a stud, she's a slut" phenomenon to quote Jessica Valenti.
Considering that Billy Ray Cyrus is a music industry veteran and has been a big presence in his daughter's life, I think he could have done a better job of steering his daughter in a less self-destructive direction.
KaseyM I agree with you that she hasn't really taken control of her own sexuality BUT she has defintiely decided to renounce her Disney image - a tactic that Justin Bieber is also trying. (Justin Bieber, as an aside, is NOT being slated for becoming more sexual - if anything, he has traditionalyl been slated for being too boyish and effeminate, not a real man etc so what does that say about the double standards here?) So, is some of the outrage caused by Miley Cyrus' performance a result of the fact that women which society has put into one box are not allowed to decide to switch boxes - the Madonna/whore thing I suppose. It seems that wmen who dare to cross these lines or confuse these two stereotypes are judged especially harshly.
RE Robin Thicke's performance: nowhere in the meida is there equal condemnation in terms of quantity written about him and/or severity of the criticisms. Also, my point, as outlined in the original post which octopus has missed, was that he has been doing this performance in the form of his song and video for months now with very little outrage in comparison.
I think in all honesty people just thought it was wierd, she looked like she was on drugs tbh and because even though she is an adult she still looks very childlike and..it's creepy!!
I haven't missed anything I just point out things that I think are worth talking about, responding too, most posters skim n focus on certain area's doesn't mean I've missed the point.
Miley has been quoted in he Sunday people as saying "have so many f***ing issues. I am so f***ed up everyone does dumb stuff when they are messed up.All I do is work, so I eat to live and to keep going. People are impressed with me because I can sleep for just 45 minutes Im used to it."
She looked out of it to me, sad, desperate and cringeworthy. Even the biggest tools in my office agreed she made a twat out of herself,nothing empowering about that.
Robin Thicke is a talentless sleaze who needs controversy to sell records. Thicke by name....
I'd never heard of him and only vaguely of her. Having seen the video, neither of them can sing or dance so I filed both of them as talentless attention-seeking nobodies in stupid outfits.
nothing sexy about either of them, both a joke!
She was criticised because she was half naked, simulating masturbation, feeling him up and rubbing herself off him in a really desperate, creepy, wannabe porno way, the dancing was terrible, very unprofessional, it was desperation to be seen as sexy and doing drugs. I've never seen a performance like that from a male on one of these shows and the world would have mocked him to death if it was Justin Bieber rather than Miley Cyrus.
He didn't get as much abuse because he was wearing clothes, not simulating wanking or grabbing at anyone's genitals, didn't try to scream out in body language that he was on drugs/desperate for a shag.
I think that's the point the OP is trying to make Zaty. He gets the luxury of remaining fully clothed and un-criticised by the media, even though he was fully complicit in the whole act - hell it's HIS song, his dirty video with the naked dancers and his disgusting lyrics.
The truth is where is there to go for clean wholesome female child stars when they grow up and want to change direction? The media machine judges them purely in terms of their sexuality and looks so the only paths available to them to either rebel or conform is through the manipulation of the image of their sexuality.
Hayden Panettiere recently said that as a female growing up in the public gaze there is huge pressure to go down the wild child sex video route. This is what's wrong. The media loves a good girl gone bad scenario. Better still if you can get some muff shots. They are the sickos if you ask me. Miley is just being played. She is trying to construct a wild child persona by saying she is messed up and walking the usual line because she is scared of being forgotten.
Because men are judged on what they do and are largely expected to be womanising pricks in general they have an easier ride. It is amazing the level of subconscious bias towards men. If you watch one of those trashy gossip interviews it is amazing how women are criticised whilst men adored and in any break up it is usually the woman who is slated. And it's both men and women doing the slating of course.
I think it's difficult to get away from the fact that the performance was just really, really bad.
Even if it had been a random backing dancer it would have been embarassing.
Thanks for this thread, I've been feeling angry about this victimisation of Miley Cyrus all day. People who normally never speak up for women's issues are suddenly ranting about how bad it is.. Alarm bells ringing, too suspicious but I couldn't articulate why I felt it is so wrong. It's just more women hating.
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