What it boiled down to was a lack of respect for her younger fans, for the parents of her fans, for the women on stage and Black women all over the world. Why the choice to pick only black women with large butts? What stereotype was she trying to reinforce to elevate her new-found ghetto fab style?
Slut shaming nope
I can’t say I care much for the ‘Miley and the curse of being a childhood star’ debate but I do not agree with the slut shaming that a lot of people have attributed to someone who is doing what many performers before her have done (remember the hoohaa about that kiss between Britney and Christina??) to ‘shock’ us all.
I do think that there is a discussion to be had about where we draw the line, its not a Miley specific problem but it is a societal problem – a host of people who help to create and feed it, us included.
Now I am far from being the academic on all subjects of Racial Misappropriation, I am however a Black female of a certain age who can quite literally be seen as the butt of these subtle references. Subtle may seem like an odd word to use in this context but let me explain.
Objectification, hyper-sexual, whorish, radicalised and marginalised are just some of the words I’ve read and heard associated with the performance. It’s a problem, I admit, that is hard to pin point why so many Black women were mortified and angry; I didn’t understand why and had to read a few more posts and articles to put my own feelings into words.
The debate on women being sexualised through media is an issue many have fought against… just not as much for Black women, maybe it’s not any other races to do so and their lies some of the implications that include ‘But they chose to go up there’ or ‘twerking did gain popularity from an African dance’ . It’s accepted that this is the ‘norm’ for our kind, not blaming Miley for the inception, but years of exploitation through various media outlets have allowed it to happen and unfortunately Miley has contributed.
It shouldn’t effect me, but it does.
Subconsciously the images fed to the audience is that this is what Black women’s bodies are good for: mockery and being motor-boarded, slapped; aiding a rich, blue-eyed blonde girl to live out her wild and crazy hip hop lifestyle aspirations. You see I didn’t even notice it – I was just so perturbed about the inappropriate desperate nature of the whole thing. I was questioning why Robin Thicke, a musician I didn’t mind before, was allowing his credibility to sink further with a horrific and disturbing showcase – he looked even more creepier than he did in the Blurred Lines video.
Then I watched the Black women lined up on stage, invisible to most after they had served their purpose. I argued with friends that there was nothing more than good girl gone bad at fault, she was merely acting out and the only difference i – not realising that it was at the expense of me, people who looked like me.
It’s the connotations that come with being young hooded and Black that sees a young man shot and killed in his own neighbourhood; it’s what Sharon Osborne said out loud (that I suspect many of thinking) ; it’s sassy black character in most tv shows or films; it’s Miley and her deliberate performance has been diluted to the poor manic ex-Disney child star façade, but that’s just not going to work this time. We are not commodities to be toyed with whenever you need to make a statement about your own messed up life.
I think we’re just tired, tired of not being able to have control of the way the majority chooses to view us and market us, it’s years of being maligned and exploited in the name of entertainment because, apparently it’s the one of few options Black women have.
If you’re going to adopt a culture then give us the respect we deserve by taking it seriously and then we will take you seriously. The problem is, is that after all of this she still gets to go back and redeem herself of this new wild image. It’s another permanent stain against women like me – but no one seems to really notice or even care.