My Turn

Story published: 09-04-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Hilliard weighs in on Miley Cyrus and the 'twerk' heard 'round the world

By Lacy Hilliard

Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

If you watched the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, are a member of Facebook, or if you watch the news, you probably heard about Miley Cyrus’ tasteless live performance that left no shadow of a doubt that the former Hannah Montana star is not a girl, not yet a woman. The twenty-year-old star fell from grace as she “twerked” her way through a scantily clad performance of We Can’t Stop/Blurred Lines (featuring Robin Thicke)/Give It 2 U. For those of you fortunate enough to consider “twerk” a foreign word, I offer you the Wikipedia definition: “Twerking is a dance move that involves a person, usually a woman, shaking her hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion, causing the dancer to shake, “wobble” and “jiggle.”[1] According to the Oxford Dictionary Online to twerk is “to dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.”

MTV is certainly no stranger to controversy, but many feel that this performance took their typical shock-value broadcasting to a whole new level. Many bloggers have weighed in about the performance including Matt Walsh who instead of spending his time chastising Cyrus for her behavior, he chose to take the road less traveled and instead chastise the men that promote this behavior. In his blog, Walsh wrote in reference to Robin Thicke’s part in the Cyrus debacle and how the general public should be far more outraged to see “[A] 36 year old married man and father, grinding against an intoxicated 20 year old while singing about how she’s an “animal”’. Good point, Mr. Walsh.

The Walsh blog, titled “Dear Son, Don’t Let Robin Thicke Be a Lesson to You,” was inspired by another blog posted by a mother titled “Dear Daughter, Let Miley Cyrus Be a Lesson to You.” Both blogs contained wonderful insight about a vain and materialistically driven culture and the hope that their children know better than to look up to people like Cyrus and Thicke, but I’m going to take it a step further.

In the wake of the Cyrus VMA performance, many parents spoke out, vocalizing their disdain with the former Disney star and berating her for not thinking of her young fans; many of whom excitedly watched the VMA performance, eagerly anticipating their ‘idol’. While it would be nice if the make-believe world of Hollywood caring about how they affect young people existed, it never has and it never will. So why, dear parents, were your children watching the MTV Video Music Awards to begin with? Is it because in the past the VMA’s have contained high-quality educational material and you were simply shocked and taken aback by this years antics? I think not. MTV has never been revered for its classy programming and the VMA’s reiterate that fact each year.

One angry parent said on a national news broadcast, “Miley Cyrus is my daughter’s role model and I can’t believe she wouldn’t have thought about the fans that idolize her.” Really? Even before the twerking incident, Miley Cyrus was far from role model material. Other than being born unto a famous father (Billy Ray Cyrus), I wouldn’t exactly consider anything Miley Cyrus has done to be idol worthy.

I think young boys, girls, and apparently parents need to understand the difference between being a fan and idolizing someone as a role model. Even the supposed squeaky-clean Taylor Swift sings about little more than how some guy did her wrong. Move over, cancer researchers; Taylor Swift just had another heartbreak.

Wake up, parents! Immersing your children in music is a wonderful and beneficial thing but immersing them in pop culture is the road to teenage pregnancy, eating disorders, and a lifetime of self-esteem issues. Aren’t you, as a parent, role model enough? If not, isn’t there someone better out there than underfed young women with overinflated egos? Even Billy Ray Cyrus illuminated the need for parents to wake up by publicly condoning his daughter’s performance. If he truly cared about his daughter’s well being, he would have made his way up to the stage and punched Robin Thicke while dragging his daughter off the stage, kicking and screaming if necessary. But it seems that like his daughter, Billy Ray has just one thing in mind; and that’s the bottom line.

Billy Ray, I hate to tell your ‘achy breaky heart’ that your daughter is going to lead a miserable and possibly short life if she doesn’t experience some sort of wake-up call. Miley, it’s no coincidence that twerk rhymes with jerk and I sincerely hope you can begin to understand the true meaning of being a sexy woman because it has nothing to do with latex and twerking and everything to do with class. Robin Thicke –the midlife crisis thing is never attractive. Grow up. And parents of America --find new role models that are actually worthy of your children’s admiration; namely, you.