Miley Cyrus, previously of Hannah Montana fame, currently of twerking fame, is under fire after her MTV Video Music Awards performance last night (see it for yourself here). It involved bears, pelvic thrusting, groin rubbing, and Miley sticking her tongue out, a lot. While the performance is currently one of my least favorite things I've seen in recent memory, none of it really comes as a shock. I grew up on R&B songs (and videos) about bumping and grinding, doin' it and doin' it well, and knockin' da boots. I came of age during MTV's heyday. Thanks to them, I've been watching young musicians thrusting and rubbing their pelvises for several decades. So Miley Cyrus? She's not the first and she won't be the last.
What troubles me most is the public's reaction to her performance.
Am I a fan of Miley's hyper-sexualized "dance" moves? No. However, as tempting as it is, I won't trash talk her. That would be a lot of energy to waste on something that doesn't help anyone positively or much matter to me. If I want to help change the landscape for women in America, it most certainly won't start with Miley Cyrus.
More than anything, I won't join the Miley bashing because, at the end of the day, she's someone's daughter. And as a mother of young women, I'd like to exercise minding my own business in the same way I'd hope others would for me if, and when, my daughters make those cringe-worthy choices many of us make in our 20s (myself very much included). Lucky for me, none of my poor choices were caught on film or shared on social media. My head-hanging-can-only-laugh-about-it-now-10-years-later choices belong to me and the select few who witnessed or were accomplices to them.
Miley is a celebrity who has her choices plastered all over the Internet. And while she may have once been a lovely young lady on the Disney channel, today she's a 20-year-old woman making 20-year-old woman choices. It's not to say she isn't still that sweet young lady but she's also a business woman with an agenda and a persona to promote.
I'm not defending her. I'm just asking for the haters to give it a rest. There are plenty of valuable discussions to be had about women and music; Miley Cyrus at the VMAs is just not one of them. There will, of course, still be plenty of water cooler talk about last night's performance so keep in mind who you're talking about -- a young woman who has chosen a profession as an entertainer and who, ultimately, will always be someone's little girl. Because fundamentally, how we're willing to talk about one woman is how we're willing to talk about all women. And every woman is someone's little girl.