So this past weekend, when Miley decided to pretend the stage was a frat party and Robin Thicke was her drunken crush-for-a-night college buddy, I continued to obliviously serve tables. It wasn't until Tuesday that my professor walked into class and asked a question, and I learned exactly what it was that had happened over the weekend:
"For weeks, the situation in Syria has been deepening. The United States and our allies are considering war. And what is on the front page, so to speak, of CNN's website? Miley Cyrus twerking."
Since then, I've seen countless blog posts, and several more articles bemoaning and excusing Miley. My Facebook feed could think of nothing more worthy of posting for at least two days after the fact (well, that and a small discussion of Lady Gaga's apparent irrelevance in comparison). Thought Catalog has at least a few articles about the situation, both for and against Miley's recent life decisions. My father, my professors, my classmates all had opinions on the matter - primarily negative.
It can certainly be universally agreed upon that Miley is being, for lack of a better word, stupid. But she is young and entitled to the same opportunity for bad decision-making that we were all given. That I am being given now, whether or not I seize it in the way that she is.
What I think is important is that we take this as an opportunity not just for Miley to learn (as she probably won't for years to come), but for our society to learn. What the media has seemed to disregard is Robin Thicke's place in the weekend's events. Miley may have made a bad decision, but she did not make it alone; and what I think we need to be focused on is the difference in people's reactions.
No, Thicke was not more-than-half naked on stage at the VMA's, but he was dancing with a girl more than half his age who was. Several weeks ago, he released a song and a video that is nothing less than creepy. And for the most part, with pockets of the internet being an exception, the internet said nothing to or about him for that. Instead, they gave the video over 15million views on Youtube. They played it on every radio station and in every night club. They turned it into a commercial.
As a society, we've made it incredibly far in the fight to end sexism - but I think Miley's recent life decisions, particularly what she chose to do at the VMAs - prove that we have not made it far enough. How is a 20-year-old girl vulgar and deserving of reproach for something that her 40-something male counterpart is not? If one is responsible, certainly they both are.