We are all Miley

26 Aug
Typical School Dance

Typical School Dance

Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMAs last night is all anyone can talk about today, and everyone seems to have a different angle: Miley as a disappointment to her parents, Miley as troubled child star putting her Disney past behind her, Miley as appropriator of black culture, Miley as trashy stripper. But I propose that the Miley we saw at the VMAs is just what is seen in sweaty high school gymnasiums all across the country. We American girls are all Miley now.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in high school, and yet I remember the way we would dance closely with the boys. We wouldn’t jam our butts in their crotches like Miley did, but we danced close. Face to face. And this was the mid to late 90’s. Later on, in college, and in my early 20’s when I would go out dancing, we wouldn’t do the Viennese waltz. We would do what you could consider a primitive form of twerking. The world of the strip club and pornography had already entered our dancing styles.

I won’t claim that no one danced this way in the past, but if they did it was not the norm. It was frowned upon. Whereas now, the transgressive is now what’s expected. The bar is raised such that the norm is dancing like Miley, at Homecoming dances, at bars and at nightclubs. So why are we shocked? Miley is just another American girl gone wild.

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