I did not watch the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night both because I didn’t know it was on, and I was probably catching up on episodes of Gravity Falls with the children. So I missed the “twerk heard around the world” by Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke – but thanks to social media and morning news, I have seen it many, many, many times.
And it’s had me thinking.
First, about Miley Cyrus. I know some will call her performance “edgy, funny and role-breaking” while others will define it as a cry for help or a desperate move to shake her Hannah Montana image. I found it to be confusing, weird and cringe-inducing. But I also realize she is a young person trying to figure out who she wants to be when she grows up – trying on personas and personalities as she comes into her power and sexuality. She may not want to see it, but I’m fairly certain when she hits a “certain age” she will look back on this performance with a bit of regret – especially when it’s her daughter watching.
(Confession – I have more than a few barely-there outfits and cringe-worthy moments in my past as I transitioned from awkward teenager to grown woman. I just did it on a much smaller stage with less cameras and no internet.)
What really bothers me is Robin Thicke’s role in the performance.
I should admit that I really don’t like his new song “Blurred Lines” and will change the channel when it comes on the radio. While the tune is catchy, the lyrics are disturbing (“I know you want it” “You the hottest bitch in this place”) and the video makes me want to take a scalding hot shower.
Watching Miley bump, grind and “twerk” against Robin Thicke made me queasy. I also felt sorry for him – in the same way I felt when, living in New York City at the tender age of twenty-two, an “old guy” would hit on my friend. Rather than seeming cool, sophisticated and sexy, he was sad, smarmy and gross.
Like “gag me with a spoon” gross.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who looks back at my teens and twenties with a mix of nostalgia and embarrassment. But many of us got through those years in part because of the protection provided by friends who, seeing us feeling a bit more adventurous, sexy, silly or drunk than was advisable, kept us safe.
What I want to know is – where are those people for Miley? And why couldn’t Robin Thicke have been one of them? Are fame, fortune and more Twitter followers really the ultimate signs of success?
Instead of providing one more venue for Miley and Robin’s questionable performance, I’ll share with you instead a video that I would be happy to show my children – Ashton Kutcher sharing words of wisdom at this year’s Teen Choice Awards.
I guess I know which award show we’ll be watching next year.
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