The universe (well, the media) is slut-shaming Miley Cyrus pretty damn hard today for her performance at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards. She wore little. She gyrated. She was sexual. This is the least of our problems—or it should be the least of our problems anyway.
Cyrus used her sexuality–which is hers to use–throughout the performance. This is not something we as viewers should be shocked by or disgusted with. What should be shocking is Cyrus’ appropriation of a culture she knows nothing about, and her use of black women as props in her most recent music video and in last night’s performance. Most, if not all, of the dancing bears were women of color. At one point, Cyrus motorboats one woman’s ass, which adds to the weird, circus-y feel of it all. Cyrus is the “ring leader,” and women of color are hers to play with however she likes.
I felt super gross during and after watching her performance. Her “sluttiness” was nowhere on my mind. I was more disgusted by the apparent unawareness/unconsciousness of Cyrus with regard to the culture she has been appropriating and the women she has been exploiting. People will say, “Oh, but she’s young”—this isn’t an excuse. She has money. She has many privileges. If she cared to learn more, this knowledge would be easily accessible to her.
Our society chooses not to worry about other issues, though—about black young men being killed while walking freely, about trans women being murdered, about people who are homeless and starving.
Sadly, we live in a world where the sexuality of young women is more threatening (and more terrifying) than anything else.
Screenshot of Miley Cyrus from VMA performance
Crossposted with permission from www.lachristagreco.com
Lachrista Greco is a freelance feminist writer and yoga instructor based in Madison, Wisconsin. She is currently putting together an anthology called, Olive Grrrls: Italian American Women & The Search for Identity. Lachrista is also the creator of the well-known, Guerrilla Feminism page on Facebook. You can find out more by visiting her website or follow her on Twitter: @lachristagreco.