Miley Cyrus' VMA Twerking Blurred the Lines of Sexism All Over Again

From a sartorial perspective, last night's MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) were bad for both sexes, which is nothing new. What is notable is that, as a cultural offering, the award show did little to rectify popular music's treatment of women, or redefine any of the so-called “blurred lines” that were established by musicians this summer.

Miley Cyrus wore a creepy teddy bear bathing suit, smacked the asses of her backup singers and mimed fingering herself with a custom foam hand that featured a painted-red fingernail. As such, Cyrus did her part to make sure that Robin Thicke’s performance of his summertime single, "Blurred Lines," was extra rape-y.

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When Kevin Hart recapped highlights toward the end of the event, he advised Cyrus to get “get a damn pregnancy test after all that grinding.” (Hart also commented on Lady Gaga’s “yams,” which was particularly disappointing, because Gaga’s opener was the only remotely artistic moment of the night.)

The fact that the VMAs seem to be aimed at exact same population as the Teen Choice Awards only made things raunchier. While there were some older, 90s pop idols in attendance, including Lil’ Kim, T-Boz, Chilli, and Justin Timberlake — who reunited the boys of 'N Sync as part of his lifetime achievement spectacular — this year’s VMAs were much in need of some adult (and, preferably, feminist) supervision.

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But it's the VMAs. It's MTV. The network knows its audience, and that audience seems to get what it's after: Lady Gaga's yams, Miley Cyrus's furries, and not a whole lot else.

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Erin O'Brien

Erin is a writer and educator living in Boston. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University.

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