I find it an indictment of our mainstream media that a performance like that of Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards can attract such outraged responses, including that ultimate diss, “What were you thinking?” but Republican politicians, behaving in a much more outrageous fashion, largely get a free pass.
When will CNN and other major media outlets ask Republicans, “What were you thinking?”
Sure Cyrus was provocative. That should come as no surprise to anybody with any awareness of her career to date. And personally, I did not find it all that entertaining. But is what she did more outrageous than the things Republicans say and do every day? Aren’t we being a little too hard on women’s sexuality and taking it just a little too easy on racists, homophobes, and misogynists?
One complaint about Cyrus’ performance is that it negatively impacts young girls who idolize her. Fine. But then why isn’t the mainstream media as upset about Republican policies that want to close schools, depriving those same girls of an education? Or depriving them of rights to make their own reproductive choices? Or sentencing them to a life of being undervalued at work under a seemingly unbreakable glass ceiling? Or, if they come from underprivileged backgrounds, being deprived of food stamps and welfare so they can have food in their stomachs and close on their backs? Worse yet, why isn’t the mainstream media outraged by the culture of rape perpetrated by mainstream Republican candidates?
As the New York Daily News pointed out, it didn’t take long for the conservative reaction to Cyrus to manifest itself; Rush Limbaugh, ‘Morning Joe’s’ Mika Brzezinski were among those expressing their outrage. Brezezinski called it “disturbing… disgusting and embarrassing.” That’s funny: that’s exactly how we feel about Republicans these days.
Country singer Josh Gracin, a former American Idol contestant and a Republican, condemns abortion and contraception but he takes exception to Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs, tweeting, “Thanks Miley Cyrus.. Now I have to explain to my 11 yr old daughter why she no longer can follow your career.” I wonder if he will also shield her from the things Republican politicians say and do. I haven’t seen him express the same outrage over Republican claims that his daughter’s body would repel a rapist’s sperm.
Kelly Wallace at CNN writes that Cyrus’ performance sets girls and women back. What, she doesn’t think any of the above is even more harmful and more outrageous than a few gyrations on stage? Here’s the thing: if you don’t like what Cyrus is doing either personally or as a parent, you can shut off the TV. But you can’t shut off the Republican legislation that reduces American women to a form of sexual bondage and second-class citizenship.
Miley Cyrus twerked. Because she defended the right of women to have access to contraception, Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut. What, shaking your butt is worse than calling someone a slut just because they want contraceptives? Because she defended the rights of Texas women to choose, Wendy Davis was called a “demon of murder” by “Dr. Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt. Where was the outrage of the mainstream media then?
On the Right, advocating women’s rights is “sewage coming up out of the pit of hell” and “what evil must sound like emanating from the pit of hell.” We are told pro-choice women choose self-sterilization.
Lesbian girls and women are told they are sick and perverted, that they need psychological help, and that is less harmful to them than Miley Cyrus shaking her butt?
It’s more acceptable to compare women to demons than to shake your butt publicly? Really, mainstream media? That, somehow, does not set girls and women back, but shaking your butt publicly does?
Last I checked, it was Miley Cyrus’ butt Miley Cyrus was shaking. She has a right to shake it if she wants to. But Republicans have no rights to any woman’s butt or any other part of her anatomy yet pass legislation every day that strips women of rights to their own bodies and gives that control to a patriarchal government.
I’m sorry folks, but Miley Cyrus isn’t part of the problem. Males gyrating like Cyrus gyrated barely attract notice. Condemning Cyrus for doing what men do is sexist to say the least. After all, Cyrus’ dance partner Sunday night, Robin Thicke, attracted barely a notice. Miley Cyrus is not the one here who needs psychological help.
The court of record sales will ultimately decide Cyrus’ fate if her butt-shaking was more than the market can bear. Who knows? Her butt shaking may be what ultimately frees women from a shameful double standard where sexuality is concerned.
If the mainstream media (and parents too) are so fond of rushing to judgment, let them rush to judge some truly important issues for girls and women in our society and not pick on a young women who dared to do what young men do.
Yes, Miley Cyrus’ performance points to double standard in our society, but what bothers me more right now is that raping women, and stripping women of their rights, is less “disturbing…disgusting, and embarrassing,” than a woman stripping down to her bra and panties on stage.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.