Analyzing the Backlash to the Miley Cyrus Backlash
Wait, what happened?
We are certainly a confused nation of people.
Monday morning we all awoke with vengeance in our hearts and fervent need to take to Facebook and Twitter to publicly shame the young Ms. Cyrus for her abhorrent and sexually charged performance at MTV's still happening for some reason Video Music Awards. "Despicable!" "Disgusting!" "Shameful!" we posted and tweeted and liked and shared and re-shared.
We asked ourselves how this young girl, who once stole our hearts by pretending to be two different people on a poorly written Disney show that we were all too old already to be influenced by could have become the scantily clad femme fetale that we literally just realized she had become because of the influx of media and social coverage of the event in question. How dare she?
"Now I'll have to explain to my 10-year old daughter why she can't listen to Miley's music anymore," a father of someone tweeted so profoundly that it was used on multiple news sites. As you should, good sir. But make sure you forbid her music in your house because of her seductive dancing that occurred after bedtime on a cable network that specifically targets 18-35-year olds and not because she has fully admitted that her songs are about doing coke in bathrooms. That's just fine.
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Then came the backlash when a massive group of us found an incredibly high horse and got on it and ironically finger shook at those who were highlighting the event by talking about it when there were so many more important events to be talking about instead. "You should all be ashamed of yourselves talking about Miley Cyrus when there is some stuff going on that's like real important in Syria and forest fires too!" we screamed from our soapbox, which just happened to be built with old issues of OK magazine that we totally don't read anymore.
And then came the backlash to the backlash; maybe we are being too uptight? Certainly a 20-year old former Disney star had possibly at some other point in history turned into a sexual object?
Chaps are not actually pants.
I apologize for the misrepresentation; Christina Aguilera was only 19 when she asked of us to "rub her the right way." She was already a decrepit 22-year old when she donned chaps in lieu of pants.
Cyrus is a grown-up, after all, and a pop star, and isn't shock and awe a part of the game? Her intent was to get our attention and golly did it work. She is not a screwed-up child star with a desperate need for better parenting, she is a branding genius! And, while we are over-detailing just how little we care about where Miley Cyrus rubs her large foam fingers, we should mention that we kinda like her actually. She's got balls and she doesn't care what people think. Good for her. And if we are being really honest, we love her new single!
And then we all read some article by a "a nationally recognized sexologist" and we found an even higher horse and demanded that people rethink how they are reacting to Cyrus because we have the emotional intelligence to comprehend something that most people just don't get: It's not her fault that she wore a nude vinyl bikini, it's the fault of society! She is just a victim of the male-dominated, over-sexualized world we live in. It's men! It's the media! It's people!
So what's the next backlash? From a cultural perspective, watching the reactions to Miley Cyrus' VMA performance is fascinating, albeit socially schizophrenic. If nothing else, this has been a lesson in the power of viral messaging. We're all talking about it, even if we are pretending not to be.
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