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Thicke and Cyrus – A Love Story. (including misogyny, racism, consumption and a little dash of male dominance).

August 30, 2013

Thicke and Cyrus – A Love Story.

(including misogyny, racism, consumption and a little dash of male dominance).

There seems to be a lot of argument (A LOT of argument) amongst the media, tweeters, people on the street and, well, pretty much everybody about this week’s biggest topic. No, not the potential exploding of an Arab nation just west of Iraq and north or Israel – it’s Syria if you didn’t get the clues, but the VMA performance by Miley Cyrus. I write Miley Cyrus intentionally because the majority of the media have wrote Miley Cyrus, probably intentionally as well however, for totally different reasons. The other main performer alongside Miss Cyrus was Robin Thicke. A 36 year old male singer. Very little has been said about what Robin Thicke was up to at the VMAs. In fact, I didn’t even know Thicke was involved until I watched the performance for myself but more on that later on.

Cyrus is just one of the many countless female performers that have been pointed out to be using her sexuality as a means of marketing herself. Feminists and blogs have been the first to argue that Miley has the freedom to sexualise herself, her body is hers and that she can make whatever decision she wants to about it. What is different about this and the way that women are used in advertisement, pornography and  nude magazines – what more commonly known in UK as ‘lads mags’. Just because she doesn’t seem to be behind a big bad man, behind a big bad corporation (which she most definitely is by the way she is signed to Hollywood records which is a sister record company of Disney Inc.) makes it seem like she is making her own decisions. Miley Cyrus, whether or not she is doing it intentionally or not is a product for consumption. She is selling sex to the mass public that are being told not to think beyond the hook lines of her music or the movement of her body. This has all been done before, and it’s going on today by different artists and their marketing teams. Take Rihanna for example – she sells sex ‘Rude Boy’ is an obvious example.

The point though that some feminist and left leaning blogs and  writers have made is that Miley should be allowed to show her body and that she is the one making the big decisions. Last year though saw a huge movement amongst the feminist camps for ‘No to Page 3’ – a movement that sought to end the showing of naked breasts in certain newspapers and to end the easy accessibility of ‘lads mags’. This type of media was deemed unacceptable, degrading and offensive to women. Which, it rightly so is. So what is the difference between this type of media and Miley parading around on MTV wearing her underwear and imitating sexual behaviour with a Thicke. In my opinion there is absolutely no difference. Miley is a star to the younger generation, letting kids think it’s okay and needed to sell yourself as a sexual product to become successful, but what about the ‘stars in their eyes’ hopefuls that don’t become successful?

Another point that has to be made, and is equally important is the exploitation of  black culture by prominently white people. ‘We Can’t Stop’  was originally wrote for Rihanna, but was given to Miley by the writing duo behind it after she said she wanted a song that ‘sounded black’. Her dancing, known as ‘twerking’ is popular amongst new hip hop, which doesn’t really have anything to do with the original hip hop movement in which working-class and under-class black people would express their oppressed place in society through poetry put to bass-y drum beats. The ‘twerking’ Miley does just seems to be a joke to her and it is more offensive when coupled with the black dancers that were dressed up as teddy bears doing the dance with her, trivialising the black female dancers into nothing more than a prop for young rich female singers . Hip Hop has been diluted and degraded by white culture into something that should be joked about and turned into a ready-made cliche for young white girls to jump around on stage with men that are old enough to be their father pretending to have sex.

Thicke is far from innocent when it comes to causing extreme offence also, in  this case it is directed towards the entire female population. Leaving the point behind that his song ‘Blurred Lines’ is probably the worst song to be released this year it supports the idea that women are nothing but an item for men to use for sex. ‘Tried to domesticate you, but you’re an animal.’ ‘I know you want it.’ are just some of the lyrics in his hit song. Is Thicke suggesting that because somebody is a female, they are unable to say no to sex and that because they are female they are unable to be ‘domesticated’. ‘Blurred Lines’ is not blurry at all (pun most definitely intended) when it suggests that no most certainly means yes when it comes to a man demanding sex from a female. Why did mainstream media overlook what Thicke was up to at the VMA awards though? Why did the mainstream media focus on the sexually explicit antics of Miley and not Thicke? Well, let me invite you into the secret. It’s because he is a male. Male sexuality is never shunned and never criticised. Thicke is just as to blame as Miley for this wildly unacceptable performance but because he is a man his ‘dancing’ is not looked at as being out of line. Patriarchy allows Thicke to do what he wants, sing what he wants and write what he wants because our mainstream media outlets are owned by white upper-class males.

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