Posts Written by Nicole

Miley Cyrus: an argument for her propagation of slut-shaming

Miley Cyrus’s performance for the 2013 VMAs seems to have produced two camps. The first describes her performance as vile,  hyper-sexualized, and “really, really disturbing”. The second touts her performance as a retaliation against society’s good girl expectations, celebrating “being herself”. While watching her twerk around the stage with giant dancing teddy bears, I felt immensely conflicted; I strongly believe in women using and displaying their bodies however they please, but I couldn’t help but cringe as Miley saucily rubbed against Robin Thicke. There was something off-putting about Miley’s performance, but it wasn’t immediately understandable. It took me awhile out what was wrong: her performance isn’t crude because it’s so sexualized, it’s crude because it’s not novel and baits media into slut-shaming.

Yes, the reaction Miley’s costume and dancing demonstrates our society’s problematic slut-shaming, Madonna-whore complex culture and sheds more light on the imbedded cultural rules of acceptable use and display of women’s bodies. However, does it challenge these systems? I would argue the opposite—Miley and her publicists are instead relying on a culture that finds overtly sexual women as scandalous and distasteful in order to garner as much media attention as possible. Furthermore, they are propagating our understanding of what it means for a female child star to come of age: to make herself into a consumable sexual being.

Let’s face it: when it came time for Miley to bloom into adulthood, her publicists were not thinking of an image that ...