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Mind the Gap

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Our blogs are platforms from which we share our experiences and opinions views. For Mind the Gap challenges, we want to hear what you think about a divisive issue. Each challenge includes a poll where you can cast your vote along with fellow Daily Post participants. After you vote, expand the topic in a blog post. Be sure to visit other participants’ posts to get some healthy discussion going.

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Miley Cyrus, the 20-year-old singer who began her career as squeaky-clean star of the Hannah Montana television series, seems to have ditched that goody two-shoes image for good with her recent Video Music Awards (VMAs) performance. Cyrus performed with Robin Thicke wearing a nude bikini, made suggestive overtures to a foam finger, and caused legions to break down and Google twerking. Did Miley’s performance cross the line, are we making too much of it, or are we missing a chance to have a more important conversation about race and sex? You be the judge.

Get off my lawn! I have standards!

What’s the world coming to anyways with these young whippersnappers who have no self-respect, getting down with their bad self, on public display like a strumpet on the low street? Can’t a female singer use her voice to cultivate a following? Must they resort to waggling their netherbits in a man’s crotch to get attention? You’d never catch Anne Murray twerking! We need to start burning Miley .mp3s now.

This ain’t news. Ever heard of Elvis, that kid from Tupelo?

Miley’s getting a bad rap. She’s not the only rock n’ roller vilified for a performance. Elvis Presley scandalized the American public in ’50s with his raunchy hip movements — in fact, the cameramen were instructed to film Presley from the waist up only during is performance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1956. That was 57 years ago, people! Elvis was 21 years old, at the time.

We’re going to skip a few years in the history of music, though remember Madonna’s scandalous rocket bras? How about Janet Jackson’s great wardrobe malfunction of the 2004 Superbowl? (Some say that was planned. Conspiracy? Maybe.) The point is, we need to get over our prudish ways and move on. Silly happens!

Are we missing a teachable moment?

Controversy breeds opinions like poop breeds flies. It’s easy to watch Miley’s performance and dismiss her as a low-track streel, but are we missing a chance to have a larger discussion about race, sex, gender roles, and the evils of stereotyping? Are we unfairly dismissing Miley as a human being because of a few dance moves? What can we learn from this and how can and should we be discussing this with our friends, family, sons, and daughters so that we can all learn from it, instead of simply opining?

And now, over to you

What do you think? Did Miley’s performance happen on a slow news day? Do we all have more important things to think about? Does the general public just need a bit of context about the history of rock n’ roll? Did Miley’s performance simply go too far? Or, are we missing a chance to learn? Be sure to tag your entry with DPchallenge.

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  1. There is no voting button for “Miley hasn’t figured out who she wants to be as a person or an artist.” I won’t be posting on this subject, but I look forward to reading others.

    1. Good to see you here Biker Chick. I might be posting about this because after teaching middle school kids for the last two weeks, I’ve noticed bizarre behavior from the quiet girls. What does that mean? I have to think about it because it definitely affects me.

  2. You’ve written the arguments for “this is nothing new” as if it is only going to be the older generations siding for it but I’m nearly 20 and believe that there’s nothing astounding about the event. Sometimes there’s a debate to be had about context of these things regarding what ages and cultural settings that these things are/aren’t appropriate for.

    1. It’s true that the post has a “get off my lawn” angle which is stereotypically attributed to older folks waving canes at kids on their grass, though the nothing new angle where I talk about Elvis is just a bit of context, in that controversy and scandal have been linked to rock and roll since inception.

  3. In terms of marketing, the girl stole the show. She got tongues wagging, literally. There is nothing new or original in Miley’s performance. It was also a very poor performance. I would say she looked rather coltish in her attempt to be a seductress, if in fact that’s what the display was supposed to be.
    I really don’t understand why collectively everyone was so ‘upset’ by this. Unfortunately it seems to have become a rite of passage for young female performers. What I find curious is the need to display their sexuality in a manner that is lewd and unbecoming, not only to them but to women in general.
    I recently posted about this very topic and posted a video of the Kokoro Dance at Wreck Beach here in Vancouver. j
    If you are not familiar with this dance it is typically done without any clothing. Each dance tells a story and despite the nudity the dance is not ‘sexualized’. I have watched a man and woman perform the Kokoro for 90 minutes. Their movements slow and precise and while they come within inches of each other, they never touch. The beauty of this dance is mesmerizing.
    What I find disturbing are how young women view themselves as sexual beings these days. I am very liberal with my views on nudity and the like.
    Pink did a performance a few years ago in a scantily clad outfit, yet to me she did so with strength and beauty in her confidence and vulnerability in being woman.
    Was it sexual? Yes, but in a manner that had an air of quiet sophistication to it.
    Mylie just came across awkward.
    In any case, I am not appalled that she’s ditching her so called ‘squeaky clean’ image. In truth I never saw her show, I don’t listen to her music so I can’t really comment. I do recall the uproar a few years ago when she was photographed nude by Annie Leibowitz.
    Seems to me she was trying to ditch the image even then.
    Perhaps the question should be why we try to freeze frame celebrity? We get an image of who we imagine they should be and when they deviate from this ideal….well, just look at Mylie.
    She’ll go on. Another young girl will come along that parents will hold in high regard, then she’ll grow up too.
    Perhaps another discussion should be about sexuality and the joy in discovering our sexual identity, not the shame that so often prevails.
    Food for thought.

    Nancy Pilling
    powerofonenancy.workpress.com

    1. Perhaps the question should be why we try to freeze frame celebrity? We get an image of who we imagine they should be and when they deviate from this ideal

      Thanks for your thoughtful response, @Nancy — it resonates with @Bikerchick57′s comment about Miley perhaps not knowing who she is as a person or an artist, just yet.

  4. Really I could care less, almost everything they do is to bring in sales or keep themselves relevant. Was I offended by her twerking no… but she looked like the steroid girl Jim Carey used to play on: “In Living Color”. People our society is not going to fall apart over a nipple covered by a pastie (JT and Janet at the Superbowl” it’s not going to fall apart over a young girl behaving in a way that isn’t “ladylike”.

    We all make choices of how we want to be portrayed, what we want to have people think of us. If she can live with it, then so be it. We should make up our own minds and move on, but to waste our time making it a massive news story when there’s people dying in Syria and other parts of the world…

    I believe we’ve got our priorities skewed, shouldn’t we be more concerned about other topics? Should we be teaching our kids to be more concerned with a celebrity’s antics than REAL issues? Really what kind of message are we sending our kids?

    Yeah son/daughter… I know there’s chemical weapons being used against people in another country, I know a girl got shot in the head because she wanted to go to school and learn BUT THAT’S not important! Look at Miley Cyrus dancing on this show! We should be outraged!

    PUHLEASE!!! Give this thing the 5 minute discussion it deserves and move on!

  5. Miley Cyrus may be an up and coming pop star, but she is still a kid. Not the normal, going to college young adult. but a singer still learning her place in the world. This is not news. Every child goes through this. Hundreds of kids are arrested for indecent exposure during a liquor wild night. I think the news industry is getting lazy.

    1. Miley Cyrus is not a kid she is a product of the commercial industry that makes and breaks child stars. The girl look like a child in her TV shows, an adult on stage and I bet in the dead of night she is a very confused little girl not knowing her true identity and this will be her downfall. We just have to look back at other child stars, Different Strokes for instance 2 dead one in jail, the children from Poltiguiest 2 dead 1 in jail. Britney Spears mentally scared, children taken away and a very public breakdown.These children’s managers should have been prosecuted, they have become very wealthy on the back of the tragedy. One person which we watched develop over the decades who ended up dying for his habit and that was Michael Jackson, hounded by newspapers, managers, hanger one and scum.
      Do we stop watching the train crash which is Cyrus or pray that her father steps in and save her from the vultures or is he taking his cut of her multi million dollar fortune.

  6. Well, I might not know who this character is but I do get that she is an advocate for morals we hope future leaders -our children- will emulate.
    Unlike most youngsters, she has been given more publicity with the forsite to target innocent followers and the fame comes with moral responsibility. I expect her to play her part. With great power comes great responsibility( so said spider man’s uncle in the movie).
    yet u am not putting the weight of blame solely on the young star . I believe its apon parents to guide their children even through their time spend watching their favourite programs so that they help define the boundaries between reality and fiction. Yes,change is good and we should embrace it if we are to grow.but it is vital also to leave a little bit if once past or integrity as a place to use for basis on which to guage whether they are on track or off.

  7. Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap – Miley Cyrus and Alter Ego http://myvividvisions.com/2013/09/02/weekly-writing-challenge-mind-the-gap-miley-cyrus-and-alter-ego/

    As Oscar Wilde said, “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” She may realize what is right and what is wrong with this incident. As it is said, Experience is the Best teacher and helps to take right decisions…but experience comes with only wrong decisions.

  8. I think Miley Cyrus is still trying to break but of the squeaky clean, Disney princess image but she’s trying too hard. she hasn’t yet found herself and decided on who she is and what she wants

  9. Squeaky clean has nothing to do with this performance or others similar to it. Miley twerking, Elvis swiveling, Michael Jackson jerking are all carefully packaged stage performances designed to shock audiences, create trends and challenge public morals. But in reality the performers themselves have the right to either accept or reject aspects of their craft that they may consider to be reprehensible. Sodomy , bestiality, lewd suggestive dance routines were present at Nero’s galas, offered as entertainment in the Middle Ages and now is rearing its head when artists lack creative material and insight to perfect their craft. Too bad. So sad. We all lose out on the performer’s true talent.

  10. I personally think that Miley is going through a phase where she is trying to create herself or maybe even find out exactly who it is that she wants to be. Her performance at the VMA’s was most definitely daring and risky, but i think that Miley should be given the same chance as every other young adult to express and find herself – Alice.

  11. i think people are wasting time watching a talentless “singer” trying to look sexy, but actually looking foolish, when there are much bigger problems in the world. It is all a distraction.

  12. Some people are bought and sold from the day that they’re born.

    She’s just fortunate that her “product” consists of fame and popularity, rather than the way that people used to be bought and sold in this country (slavery).

    I remember when Hardee’s almost went bankrupt. Then, they took everything off of the menu. Does anybody else remember when the logo for that fast food chain turned into a smiling, yellow star?

    And then, they weren’t bankrupt anymore.

    When a child celebrity grows up, their “handlers–” which could be anybody from managers to corporate lawyers to their parents–end up having to “market” them differently to salvage an otherwise inevitable loss. It’s no surprise, then, that the public perception of her changed in accordance with (very likely) coordinated, well-planned and thought out behaviors that were the end result of someone’s–or some groups–selling strategy.

    Even the shock and disgust value plays into it well: just look at Marilyn Manson (who I’m actually a fan of. Not-so-much with Miley).

    I just can’t imagine what that lifestyle is like. No wonder Brittany Spears shaved her head. I can see Miley–along with a myriad of other celebrity “products–” wind up following suit.

  13. Miley is acting, and the show is in need of free advertising, Miley is in need of advertising, her actions are not so much a display of her own persona, but a display of what the media thinks will get youtubes, facebook chatter, twitters, and any other kind of attention. To me this is a ploy to get attention to another show that wants better ratings. The VMA’s have the same issue, the Oscars’ as well, any kind of presentation show seems to find someone who will ‘do the dirty work of scandal’ to up the ratings is in. What happened was no sneak attack from Miley, it wasn’t an unplanned event that caught producers and directors off guard.

    I think this sort of thing is rather common place, its nothing new to find someone who will be the ‘talk of the town’ for a while for doing something scandalous while on stage. This is the important part, if its done off stage, the media profits only a little, if its done on stage the media profits increase and the show is watched for the ‘anticipation factor’ that something crazy might happen…and thats what its all about, ‘watching the show’.

    The media doesn’t give a hoot about the morality factor, otherwise they would have censored her immediately both on and off the stage. But, the show upon which such a moral travesty appeared, has been silent about judging Miley.

    Im surprised it wasn’t Miley and Selena Gomez doing lip locks like Madonna and Brittney. Remember the Disney persona is what every young woman is attempting to escape in shock-wood, and the fans love to have it so.

  14. I’m not going to post about this since I think there already well-written articles on this subject “Solidarity is for Miley” “(Black) Body as a (White) Wonderland”), but I honestly don’t think the problem lies solely in Miley being kind of childish.

    What we need to remember is an ENTIRE TEAM put together that performance and her image and I don’t think they are ignorant to what cultural images they are exploiting. Markets, (in this case the music industry) are always taking advantage of people, their customs, their backgrounds, by using/exploiting/manipulating images to make a dollar. And we the consumers give them that dollar. It’s always a question of whether the market is just or ethical and if we the consumers are taking part in it. I don’t want to overemphasize the racial aspect of the Miley incident nor do I want to over analyze gender/sexuality issues but these problems (the ones I stated above) are where my disgust takes root. I think the performance provides more of a catalyst for discussion. For me it has been helpful to really locate my disgust, judge Miley a little less, and look at the broader picture.

  15. I think Miley’s biggest problem is that she couldn’t pull the look off. She can’t dance well and her nude bikini wasn’t flattering. Put Rihanna or Lady Gaga is something like that and they will look amazing, and probably bust out some better dancing. No one would say anything because we’re used to that from them. Miley hasn’t been a child star for awhile now…she’s trying to grow up. So she made a bad wardrobe choice. She looked like an idiot when she was dancing. That’s her decision. It’s flash news, and people should be spending their energy discussing more intellectually stimulating news.

  16. You folks need to get a grip on the concept of “important.” The last one of these was … gasp … Facebook. I thought that was trivial, but this? This is a non-issue that no one will remember in a week.

  17. Good lord can you believe that 36 year old married man is on stage with a half naked 20 year old’s ass waving in his face as part of a well rehearsed performance of a song about how much hates having to distinguish between consensual and non-consensual sex for his wife and son to see?

    Oh sorry, wrong attitude. Go back to your mysogynistic slutshaming.

  18. I may post on this subject, but first, wanted to join the discussion. I am not a prude but parents and grandparents need to be on guard if allowing their Tweens and teens to view the show, as porno, lap dance was on display. Adults may opt for this…that’s fine! But do we really want our younger generation to think this is acceptable behavior? Especially since Hanna Montana has been welcomed into their homes. As for Miley… Her formerly cute, if average voice, cannot stand out there on its own merits, so sexual distraction (frankly not the least bit titillating) is all she can muster to compete with true talents of her generation. Finally, her father should be ashamed that he launched her adult image through creepy, nearly nude photos of him with his pubescent daughter. No wonder she doesn’t know who she is supposed to be.

  19. Can someone explain to me how to get my DPChallenge post in this list? I tagged my post with “DPChallenge” and I put a link to it in the comment section above, but I don’t see my post on the list below these comments. Any help would be much appreciated!

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