Every year, MTV's Video Music Awards never fails to give us something scandalous to talk about for weeks after. From Madonna's jaw-dropping "Like a Virgin" performance in 1984, her kiss with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera close to 20 years later, to Kanye's infamous "I'mma let you finish" speech in 2009 and Lady Gaga's meat dress in 2010, viewers can always expect an entertaining and shocking show.
But this year, it seems like no one was expecting what happened when Miley Cyrus took the stage.
The former Disney Channel star's performance—a medley of her hit song "We Can't Stop" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines"—was aggressive, vulgar and suggestive, causing a polarizing debate over whether or not what she did was horrifying or horrifyingly awesome. The conversation around Cyrus' "twerking" has captured (and held) the media's attention more than many other current national or world event these past few weeks. This 20-year-old's booty-shaking seems to really be shaking us up.
The latest chapter to the story: All the negative publicity has allegedly caused Anna Wintour to pull Cyrus' upcoming Vogue cover, which was planned for the magazine's December issue. (Although sources are shaky on whether or not that cover was a done deal or just in the planning stages.) After the news broke on September 7, Cosmopolitan came to her defense, which isn't a surprise considering the publication's longstanding support of women owning their sexuality. Cyrus also happens to be their March 2013 cover girl, the first under new-at-the-time editor-in-chief Joanna Coles.
"Here at Cosmo, we can't wait to put Miley on our cover again. Tweet #MileyFTW to put a stop to #TwerkShaming," they state on their website, in hopes to get others to see Miley's side. Their take is that every other pop star has done it, so why does Miley get so much flack for breaking it down and expressing her sexuality? Let the girl twerk her heart out.
Here at YB, we're a little torn on the subject ourselves, because while we believe everyone has her own prerogative and should exercise her right to twerk if she so desires, we also understand that Anna Wintour had to make a business decision. Like anyone would in her position, she made a choice based on what's best for the publication, its audience and inevitably its sales.
Heather Quinlan, YouBeauty's self-image expert, points out that both Miley and her haters are entitled to their opinions.
"There's no 'right' or 'wrong' to each person's individual perspective on what behavior is offensive to them, as long as it's recognized as simply their individual perspective," she says. So if Miley wants to get her twerk on, no one has a right to stand in her way, but she also has to accept the potential for negative feedback. And viewers can choose to be offended, but they can also change the channel if they don't like what they see.
She also reminds us that both Cyrus and Wintour are making self-presentation, and ultimately business choices. "Interestingly, regardless of my perspective or anyone else's, Miley sure did succeed in generating tons of publicity for herself, and huge exposure (no pun intended) of her performance, and casting herself differently from her Disney image," Quinlan adds.
What's your take? Where do you fall of the Great Twerking Debate? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
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