Oh you. You think you know so much, don’t you? Just a judge and jury to the world. You would've totally rocked the Inquisition and lit the first match during the Salem Witch Trials. You know when someone has gone too far and should pay, right?
Listen, we all collectively cringed while watching Miley Cyrus perform with Robin Thicke at the VMA awards. What’s with that Gene Simmons like tongue? What was she doing with that foam finger? And please, let’s never again utter the word that rhymes with “quirk.”
But the public onslaught of hatred and disgust spewed toward this young woman made me question what’s truly beneath the over-the-top venom. Here’s my guess, to all the haters:
1. Sexually empowered women scare the hell out of you (that means women too). In a world of Taylor Swift-style lightweights, the message remains: good, sweet girls will be exalted and sluts shall be damned. It doesn’t matter if the “whore” is talented or chose to be controversial: she still deserves a good, old-fashioned public stoning and slut-shaming.
2. You crazy shame too. “That bitch is headed for a fall.” “She’s an accident waiting to happen.” Even the faux-sincere, “I actually feel sorry for her. She’s a trainwreck.” Nothing is more distasteful than feigning concern for the mental state of a celebrity. You’d prefer if she loses her shit so you could say, “I told you so"? Thing is, Cyrus isn’t an unstable Britney Spears (who appears to have shelved her crazy quite nicely as of late - kudos, Brit!). Cyrus seems pretty damn in control of her wild-child destiny. If she’s crazy, then it’s like a fox, which leads me to number 3.
3. You don’t get publicity. Cyrus just figured out a way to squeeze into our collective head for weeks now. Haters and non-haters alike are talking about her. What she did worked and maybe that pisses you off the most. Not only is she a slut, but a highly successful one.
4. You’re fine with men acting in overly-sexual or crass manner. Because hey, boys will be boys, right? As Cyrus pointed out in her Rolling Stone interview, "No one is talking about the man behind the ass. It was a lot of 'Miley twerks on Robin Thicke,' but never, 'Robin Thicke grinds up on Miley.' They're only talking about the one that bent over. So obviously there's a double standard." When was the last time you slut-shamed a man? That Bieber character seems pretty trashy to me. Why don'tyou throw some shame his way?
Cyrus is a talented 20-year-old woman (yes, talented - did you see her SNL performance? - watch it below) discovering the best ways to express herself, in the face of a torrent of slut-shaming and judgmentalism (a fourth open letter to Miley, Sinead... really?).
Sure, as a feminist, I’d prefer to not defend another celebrity using over-sexualization as a “form of expression.” But guess what? We can’t decide for them. That’s what feminism is about: not dictating in any way, shape or form how a woman should behave.
Yes, it’s a “blurred line.” It’s often hard to tell empowered sexuality from sell-out celebrity porn. Ultimately, it ends up residing in the self-esteem of the woman in question. A woman either owns her sexuality or allows it to be owned by others.
Cyrus might be a little bit of both right now. That’s her choice, her exploration and her path. So blow out your match. There's one less witch to butn. Oh, and the next time you pat yourself on the back for your oh-so-liberal views re: weed, gay marriage, etc. then call someone like Cyrus a “talentless slut," consider becoming a member of the Tea Party so you can be a moral hypocrite like the rest of them.