Last night, the MuchMusic Video Awards, put on by Canada's MuchMusic network, aired last night (they also aired in the United States on Fuse, but, sadly, my cable company does not offer Fuse, so I could only see the trainwrecks on the Internet).
One of the most notable moments was Miley Cyrus' performance of "Party in the USA," (a perfect song to sing to a Canadian audience, of course) and it was not pretty.
On one hand, I do have to give her credit for not lip syncing. However, when the results of her singing live are this gratingly atrocious, it's a bit difficult to give credit where credit may be due.
However, it's her outfit that really bothers me. The "Chongalicious" look just does not work for Miley. More noticeable, however, is the overtly sexual nature of the performance, and the sense of desperation I get from her.
I just don't get why her idea of growing up = whoring it up. You don't have to dress sluttier and engage in faux lesbianism to show that you're getting older. It disturbs me that a girl who is not even legal yet is performing like this. I believe in the saying "age ain't nothing but a number," to the extent that I doubt teens suddenly realize their sexual maturity the second the clock strikes midnight on their 18th birthday. Miley probably isn't going to grow up a whole lot in the next five months before she turns 18. However, she IS still a child by the law, so it bothers me.
I have been called a hypocrite for criticizing Miley's sexually charged performance because I am a fan of Lady Gaga, who is, by and large, far more provocative with her lyrics and revealing outfits. And no, I do not have a problem with Gaga's sexuality in her performances.
It's just that with Miley, I get the impression that she is SO DESPERATE to act mature, act like she's not a Disney girl anymore, and this is how she's attempting to show it. It's creepy since she is so young, and with her creepy family, it just makes me uncomfortable. I realize that as she grows up, she probably will be willing to be more provocative, and that makes sense. But right now, it just feels like a totally desperate sex kitten shtick that gives me the creeps, and saddens me a little.
You can dress slutty, but please don't look at dressing slutty as your only way to prove maturity.
I don't get the same sense of desperation from Lady Gaga as I get with Miley. I apologize if that makes me sound like a crazy fan for Gaga, because I swear I'm not. Because with Gaga, that's who she was at the beginning of her mainstream career. She wasn't like Miley, she didn't try to use a sexual appearance to appear ~mature~. Gaga is sexual, and, what's important to me, legal. She wasn't some tween star, she wasn't jail bait. It's not just young girls who are looking at Miley, it's creepy people who shouldn't be looking at a minor like that. Does anyone remember those countdowns until the days the Olsen Twins or Taylor Lautner turned 18?
I will say that one could argue that Stefani Germanotta's transformation into Lady Gaga could be seen as desperate. However, that transformation wasn't in the public eye. I don't get the same icky feeling I get from seeing Miley prance across the stage as a 17 year old who we all knew as Hannah Montana as I do when I see Gaga doing the same thing. Miley just seems so eager to drop the Disney label, and I wish she didn't have to turn to sexuality as her only way to rebel against Disney.
Again, it's not that I have a problem with pop stars being sexual. It's using sexuality as the only way to appear grown up that bothers me.
At the time-wasting mecca that is ONTD, this was, naturally, a hot topic. Many felt the same icky feelings about Miley's performance, while others felt as though people were being unjustifiably harsh on the singer. User "jasmina12345" made an interesting, and rather grim point:
"The fact that she equates taking off her clothes as a means of getting attention and establishing herself is the problem ... Clearly she's being told that what she's doing is the authentic 'her' because at the end of the day, she's expanding her audience and expansion of an audience = more money."
How sad it is that those in charge of Miley's career, including father Billy Ray Cyrus, seem to be pushing her in this direction (remember his approval claps after her similar 2009 Teen Choice Awards performance?). I feel bad that Miley apparently feels as though she has to be so overtly sexual as a child in order to garner attention. I guess she's right, to an extent. I mean, people are talking about her now (and I'm not helping the problem), it's just that the discussion isn't positive.
I don't mean to sound like a slut-shamer or a prude. I recognize that teens are becoming more and more sexually active, and, as I previously said, I'm fine with musicians expressing themselves in ways that may involve sexuality.
It's when the attempts are done by an underage girl in a seemingly confused and desperate fashion that I'm bothered. Although I'm not a fan, I wish that Miley could still feel as though she didn't have to stoop to such levels in order to maintain her fan base.
I'm curious as to what people feel about televised performances such as Miley's, or others in the past. Can they be tasteful and fun? Or do they go over the line?