What did you think of Miley Cyrus' performance?
OPINION: Even more remarkable than Miley Cyrus's eye-popping performance at the MTV Video Music Awards has been the reaction: shock, revulsion, condemnation.
Words like "disgusting" and "disgraceful" have been used. And from the more forgiving, mere "disappointment".
Really? In 2013, over a young musician who might as well have etched in stone tablets her plans to kill off her Disney millstone, Hannah Montana? (And let's face it Hannah isn't 14 any more; she'd be 21 this year - in real life she may well have turned into the sassy brat we saw on stage on Monday.)
But this is about the real Miley Cyrus. Her career trajectory has been leading to this very moment, she just didn't want to wait any longer: so she crashed through on a big stage in an effort to become a popstar on her terms.
Sure, it wasn't classy and it seemed a little tactless for a big TV audience - the MTV VMA awards attract up to 12 million viewers. But was it really the car crash moment that it's been painted as?
I'd argue not.
This was Miley in control, albeit it using low culture to hit top form. She was ultra confident, didn't appear affected by alcohol or any substances (as some VMA performers have been alleged to have been in the recent past) and in fact seemed to be enjoying the chance to stretch standards of decency. Stretch but not break.
That last bit is important: what did Miley actually do? She wore skimpy clothes, but she didn't expose any part of her body that would have made her performance universally offensive to TV audiences.
She postured suggestively, stuck out her tongue a few times and used her undoubted sex appeal (she is after all a 20-year-old woman who looks great) as a prop in her performance.
Miley was acting, revising the central character in her newest video clip, We Can't Stop, a bulletproof youth revelling in her freedoms and not caring whether we mind or not. That is real life people, a lot of us did it and a lot of our children will too when they reach 20.
What's fascinating is the idea that so many people feel a kind of ownership of Miley Cyrus's persona, as though we are communal censors with the power of veto on what she should and shouldn't do next.
Unlike several people who have appeared at the MTV VMAs, Miley can handle herself just fine. Lil' Kim and Britney Spears come to mind. Compared to previous years, this was a relatively tame VMAs.
The greatest freedom Miley Cyrus mimicked, a true taboo that makes conservative society cringe is the suggestion that women might openly enjoy having sex - and be in control in that situation. Gasp! Does anyone for a moment doubt that Miley "wasn't herself", or was forced by somebody?
At least Miley was holding a mic and had the spotlight. Isn't that better than the passive models who cling to Miley's VMA accomplice, Robin Thicke in his Blurred Lines video clip? And any number of ornamental women in, let's see, maybe a quarter of today's pop videos.
Anyone who has been paying attention to pop music in recent years will know that the new breed of female pop superstar seems happy performing with less clothes on than male popstars. There's no doubt that's a little troubling, and seems contradictory to the edge in wealth and fame they enjoy over their male equivalents - like Justin Timberlake.
Think Rihanna, Pink, Lady Gaga (who also chose to shock by taking off most of her clothes at the VMAs) and even Beyonce. Her epic half-time Superbowl performance this year was deemed inappropriate by some, including Donald Trump, who complained she "was thrusting her hips forward in a very suggestive manner, if someone else would have done that it would have been a national scandal".
Miley did go further than Beyonce and it was considered scandalous. But it was our own prudishness that turned her cartoonish posturing and gurning into something it was not: dangerous.
Our own delicacy allowed her to rule to dominate so many VMA post-mortems. Two other moments at the VMAs deserved more attention but were drowned out. The lesser was Justin Timberlake's 'N Sync reunion and award for his slick but erratic contribution to music; and the greater was the recognition of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's same-sex marriage anthem Same Love.
At least it's heartening that Macklemore and Lewis won their category, Best Video with a Social Message, thanks to public votes.
One change at a time I guess.
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