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She can't stop, won't stop

By Holden Walter-Warner
On September 5, 2013

  • Miley Cyrus 2013 VMAs. SPIN.COM

Sometimes the mind attaches itself to an ideal to the point where nothing can discredit it.  Any attempt to do so is met with scorn and harsh public vitriol.  At present time, this may as well be known as the "Miley Cyrus Theory".
By now, most people have undoubtedly subjected themselves to the video of Cyrus' performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, which took place on August 25, 2013 in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.  The former Disney Channel star came out for her performance of her new hit single "We Can't Stop", in a rather skimpy outfit designed to resemble a bear.  The entire three-minute performance involved her dancing seductively with people costumed as bears.  Look it up yourself and be the judge as to how disturbing it truly is.  
Somehow, things manage to get more shocking for the average audience member.  Robin Thicke trotted out to perform his summer hit, "Blurred Lines".  As the camera pans back to Cyrus, still on stage, she no longer looks like an overly sensual teddy bear.  She had completely stripped down to a bra and underwear, both the color of her skin, and had a foam finger extending from her right arm.
What happened next set the social media world on fire.  It began with Cyrus rubbing the foam finger up against her nether regions.  Quickly, that foam finger switches from the private parts of the lady to the private parts of the man, Thicke.  The most egregious offence came when Cyrus decided to shake her rump all over the crotch of Thicke.  Hannah Montana, she is not.
Let's get the obvious out of the way: some of this was meant to come off as a publicity stunt.  Just days later, the single "Wrecking Ball" was released from her upcoming album "Bangerz", set to be released in October.  The VMA performance resulted in everybody around America talking about her, so if that was her intent, it was successful.  The preorder for the album is ranked #31 on iTunes' top-selling albums as of Sunday night, even though it doesn't get released for another month.
There's no doubt as to the fact she was a show stealer for the night.  The VMAs were supposed to be about Justin Timberlake reuniting his 'N Sync band mates (and then breaking them apart two and a half minutes later).  Instead, the news coverage the next day (and in a time when the United States was on the verge of ordering an attack in Syria) at the top of the morning show programs was the discussion of the loss of innocence of a wholesome performer.
This is an unfair reaction to the performance.  Cyrus is propped upon a pedestal because of her past history as a good girl with a show on a children's television network.  She's a performer headed into the prime of her career, and she wants to reform her image.  There is nothing wrong with that.
She has yet to become the charity case others have developed into at her age.  She's no Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, or Justin Bieber.  There's a chance she could go sour; she has admitted to experimenting with various types of drugs.  At the moment, however, she just wants to bring her career in a new direction, and it's her prerogative to do so.
Some complained her performance was ill-suited for the children who idolize her as a role model.  This is true, but whenever the word role model comes up, many people immediately turn to former basketball star Charles Barkley: "I am not a role model".  
Miley's career is changing, and that could be for better or for worse.  Enjoy the ride, and don't criticize her until she really does something wrong.  It may not have been her most appropriate moment, but it shouldn't have shaken the world the way it did.

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