Column by Mackenzie Grimes
But when I saw, and immediately regretted seeing, Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMAs recently, I knew I had drank from an expired milk carton.
Millennials everywhere rushed to the sink to spit out chunks of what they had thought was a harmless, cheerful Disney star from their childhood.
The nation discovered, to its dismay, that she had turned rotten long ago.
Miley’s VMAs performance and her following drastic reimaging marks yet another horrifying transformation of a child TV icon into an embarrassing and classless Lohan-inspired exhibitionist.
Childhood fans witnessed with sinking despair the violent separation of Britney Spears from her friendly bubblegum pop origins only a decade ago.
Parents worldwide were forced to try to explain to their tween daughters why their idol, Hannah Montana, is on national television in a nude-colored bikini, sticking her tongue out as she furiously humps a foam finger.
Two weeks later, her music video for “Wrecking Ball” displayed her seductively licking a sledgehammer and riding a wrecking ball entirely naked.
To label her recent “performances” (term used loosely here) as ‘provocative’ would imply that viewers felt provoked, which doesn’t accurately portray anyone’s feelings.
Reactions to the VMAs from celebrity Twitter accounts included descriptions such as “feeling slightly violated”, “I need an antibiotic,” “raunch,” and “#pitchystrippers.”
I think “appalling, paltry and degrading of all Western culture” may suffice.
No one saw a young adult trying to define her independent life that night. No one saw Miley just “havin’ fun up there.”
Instead, we could only stare in shock at the teenage girl who once sang us “The Best of Both Worlds” desperately try to prove her personal maturity by bending over and frantically grinding on the crotch of 40-year-old, pinstriped philanderer Robin Thicke as she shrieked “You’re an animal, baby, it’s in your nature.”
A few tried to support her new brand as obscene but historic — Cyrus herself responded that she was pleased with the dramatic impact she made.
But weren’t John Wilkes Booth’s actions “historic” as well? Is the goal of entertainment today simply to leave a mark on history, even if your mark is a scar on the hearts of a betrayed nation?
Even more absurd is the argument that the importance of Cyrus’ freedom to “do Miley” and “be true to herself”and this lawless, narcissistic mindset of the pop culture is the greatest threat to society.
Heaven forbid we should inhibit Cyrus’ ability to express herself when we say, ‘No, Miley Cyrus, you can’t thrust yourself upon Thicke while you fondle your exposed body on a nationally viewed, 8 p.m. award show. You cannot declare to your loving, impressionable, 14-year-old fans that the only way to get yourself attention is to, reduce yourself to a sexual object.’
I believe over time I’ll be able to erase the disturbing image from my memory and again sleep soundly. But as for kids … I would hate to be a kid who had to see this.
After watching my little Hannah Montana feverishly grope herself and lap dance upon a life-sized, purple teddy bear, I don’t know why I would trust adults ever again.
And perhaps they shouldn’t.
Grimes is a first-year business studies major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org