Miley Cyrus’ MTV Video Music Awards performance has caused such controversy that people are still struggling to parse it all. In the void of understanding, a lot of people are attributing social messages to the twerk-tastic performance. Paramore singer Hayley Williams, for instance, saw racism (and she wasn’t alone).
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, sees some kind of religious/feminist message in the fallout, making a connection to Muslim outrage over the upcoming Miss World pageant in Indonesia next month.
He notes that some Muslims have called for the cancellation of the pageant due to its exhibition of “women’s body parts,” and compared this to the outrage over Cyrus’ performance. It’s not entirely clear what he suggested, except that he believes most people approved of Cyrus’ performance (reaction to which has been, at best, very mixed).
He concluded, “Who are the real feminists? Miley’s fans? Or the Muslims? If debasing women is the yardstick, the Muslims win.”
We’re going to completely avoid analysis of Donohue’s points, and not just because they’re not worth analyzing. Trying to divine meaning from Miley Cyrus’ VMAs performance is probably fruitless, and all interpretations are really very subjective (that’s the point of art).
However, if there’s anyone who came closest to figuring out what the stunt was all about, it was Cracked.com. David Christopher Bell argued that the performance was actually rich with psychological imagery which reinforces what appeared to be Miley Cyrus’ motive all along: This is sort of of her “coming out” party, and she wants to be sure everyone knows, for better or worse, she’s not a little girl anymore.
Frankly, we don’t think race, Islam, or feminism have much to do with it.