Sunday, April 20, 2014

Feminism versus Miley Cyrus

As mentioned in my immediately preceding post, Feminists generally denounced the Victoria's Secret pageants as "pornographic", "contributing to the pornographication of culture",  as containing  "sexualized female bodies", and as replete with "sexual objectification" and "sexual subjectification."  And, perhaps worst of all:  the models were much too skinny for them.

Given their attitudes towards the Victoria's Secret shows, Feminist positions regarding Miley Cyrus' rather silly performance at MTV's Video Music Awards ceremony,

and her subsequent music video called "Wrecking Ball",

have been strangely mixed, with some Feminists even defending her, primarily in response to a large number of negative comments directed at Miss Cyrus from a huge number of "news" sources.

According to Kate Dries:
...Cyrus's performance was shocking... It was jarring because...we were watching a 20-year-old the object in Thicke's sexy sex dream....While criticizing a woman for her actions might imply that she's being given an agency that has been long denied, it's not. It's holding her to a standard not required of her companion, who got to sit back and enjoy the young ass shoved in his face. Whether Cyrus was doing it somewhat ironically (she didn't exactly look sexy most of the time; the tongue wagging and pigtail buns were almost comical) doesn't seem to matter. Her lack of clothes and movements spoke stronger than anything else...

Well, that is certainly an interesting defense.  Miss Dries thinks that Miss Cyrus' dancing partner, Mr. Thicke, should be catching just as much media scrutiny as Miss Cyrus.  But, Mr. Thicke wasn't making any effort to perform any sexy dance moves at all.  And, Miss Cyrus didn't shove her buttocks in Mr. Thicke's face, but rather in his groin area.  If Miss Cyrus had simply stood there, as Mr. Thicke did, then she wouldn't have received anywhere near the attention that she did.

From Soraya Chemaly:
...Cyrus was cocky, she strutted around, she danced (really awkwardly), was brash and confident and made lewd gestures and creative use of her tongue.  In addition, she, like her male peers, sexually and racially objectified other women who were onstage with her, almost all of whom were black — and she has come in for deserved criticism for this.  Cyrus has recently been the topic of conversations regarding race and cultural appropriation and ratchet culture, and last night further contributed to the debate.  But, Cyrus, as other women performers do, also embodies the sexualization that can be so problematic.  She acted like a man, objectified herself and other women, and appropriated several racial cultural signifiers...
...Girls and women who too brazenly display power, and are unself-conscious or unapologetic about it, disturb people. When famous women get too big for their, admittedly sometimes really small, britches, our culture likes to make sure that what’s inside that often “pretty head” is seen as crazy...
...Last night’s performance brought the public’s perception of Cyrus one step closer to the “crazy” narrative — the casually misogynistic, “OMG, quick, look at another crazy, fucked up, slutty girl go down.” It’s often a white girl, because they’re more commonly featured in our dominantly white cultural narrative. But black female performers are criticized too, sometimes in racialized ways...
...The shame-filled objections to women like these are simply a double standard about power and worthiness.  The outrage and “disappointment,” cloaked primarily in concerns about, “sluttiness,” “selfishness,” “craziness” and “inappropriateness,” add up to one thing: female unworthiness.
Women, we’d like everyone to keep thinking, are unworthy of too much agency, authority, power and self-expression. Otherwise, everyday people would be decrying every top-billed male performer for engaging in the exact same behavior that Cyrus did last night....Miley Cyrus deserves critique for the racially objectifying elements of her performance, and even for the production of an artistically questionable, odd and distasteful set involving bears and bad dancing. But Cyrus is most likely be criticized instead for being “slutty”or ”crazy” — and those words matter and speak volumes....

The terms "Sexually objectifying herself" and "sexually objectifying other women" are standard terms that form the basis of a fairly typical Feminist attack.  Stating that Miss Cyrus "acted like a man" is quite a strong accusation, particularly when hurled from a Feminist.  I once heard a man from South America condescendingly describe American women as basically "men with tits."  Now, even our Feminists are insulting other women by charging them with "acting like a man."  Contrary to what Miss Chemaly asserts, I'm sure that I've never seen a man perform as Miss Cyrus did.  "Slutty" and "crazy" were what Miss Cyrus was obviously going for. Even Thailand's notorious lady-boys are considerably more demure.

Miss Cyrus was clearly seeking to emulate fellow former-Disney stars Britney Stars and Cristina Aguilera,

and similarly raked in the fame and fortune.

Miss Chimaly's indictments that Miss Cyrus "racially objectified" other women, and that she committed "cultural appropriation", may represent some new terms for the Femosphere.  I hadn't heard these particular forms of inculpation previously used. 

And, while other Feminists were busy accusing various "news" sources of "slut-shaming" Miss Cyrus, Ninja Cate criticized the White Feminists for "ignoring the racial implications of what she did."
...can we talk about the problematic and racist nature of her performance? Her literal use of people as props? Her association of her newfound sexuality with the traditional codifiers of black female culture, thereby perpetuating the Jezebel stereotype that black women are lewd, lascivious and uncontrollably sexualized? Can we talk about the straight up minstrelsy of that performance? Can we talk about how not a single black person won an award last night even though the people who did win awards have been mining black music and culture for years?...
...See the problem isn't that they talked about slut shaming. That deserves attention. The problem is that they completely sidestepped the other glaring teddy bear in the room, and that is the commodification of black female sexuality in Miley's performance. But it's not a thing that white women deal with, so it didn't warrant inclusion or discussion by a largely white-led mainstream feminist media. 

Well, that was pretty good.  Now, the White Feminists have been convicted of nothing less than racism.  Absolutely brilliant

According to Miss Cate, Miss Cyrus was "commodifying Black female sexuality" in her performance.  What the heck is that supposed to mean?  That doesn't even make any sense.  Wasn't she supposed to hire any Black back-up dancers?  The back-up dancers weren't dancing nearly as lasciviously as Miss Cyrus had rather clumsily attempted to dance.  In the words of Dodai Stewart, "in a white-centric world, putting white women quite literally in the center of the frame while women of color are off to the side is a powerful, disrespectful visual message, and it really must be said: Human beings are not  accessories."  Miss Stewart used a big word: "accessories."  So, Miss Cyrus mustn't hire any Black talent, or she is creating a "powerful, disrespectful visual image."

Regarding the sin of cultural appropriation--outside of Feminist circles, cultural appropriation isn't necessarily regarded as immoral.  Behold Australia's Chooky Dancers:

Cultural appropriation at its absolute best!  Within Feminist circles, the term "cultural appropriation" encompasses a pair of big, impressive-sounding words, so they must mean something bad.  Oh, the Chooky Dancers should be so ashamed of themselves!

Here is a brief video on the influence of African dance moves on dances in the Caribbean and Latin America.

 Miss Cyrus may have been attempting to incorporate (or to "appropriate culturally") some of these moves into her performances.  She doesn't quite seem to have the buttocks for it, and dances poorly.  So what?  Sorry, girls: stating that Miss Cyrus shouldn't attempt to dance like this because she is White and privileged is also racist.  This style of dance seems to have caught on recently in Vladivostok, which is considerably further removed from African-diaspora culture than is Miss Upper-Class Whitey Cyrus herself.

White men might not be able to jump, but these White girls from Russia's Far East (and Fraule's Dance Centre) sure can dance!  Meanwhile, over in the very Roman Catholic Philippines, the Mocha Girls sponsored a YouTube contest, with a 10,000 peso prize to the best dancer who could perform their signature Booty Shake dance to the song Bubble Butt.

See my prior post The National Organization for Women vs. Carl's Jr., where the National Organization for Women slut-shames women for entering a similar YouTube-based contest to try to appear sexy while eating hamburgers.  Oh, if our Feminists ever found out about the Mocha Girls' contest!  Just imagine how many opportunities already exist on the internet for heterosexual Patriarchs to gaze lustfully at female forms, and to "objectify" them sexually.  The Mocha Girls are only compounding this Feminist crisis. 

In Brazil, wiggling the bottom while dancing seems to represent a big part of the culture.

Arnold Schwartzenegger expressed particular appreciation for the Mulata ass.

There were some White Brazilian girls who shook their bundas quite nicely in the clip above Mr. Schartzenegger's.  I strenuously disagree with American Feminists who think that different races dancing together constitutes racism.

Shakira, who claims not to be a Feminist, made quite a sensation when she brought her Colombian/Lebanese dance moves to the United States.

I'm not aware of any complaints from the Feminists, although I wouldn't be surprised.

Regarding the female buttocks, which "twerking" and related dance styles are said to "objectify" or to "commodify" (simply choose your preferred two-dollar Feminist buzzword): the female buttocks display is a very important part of not only human sexuality, but of the sexuality of many other mammalian species.  For example: the females of the Celebes crested macaque

and of the olive baboon

signal their availability for breeding through the presentation of their enlarged buttocks.  As do human females, whose buttocks differ from those of other primates by being permanently enlarged.  The females of many primate species exhibit amplified, protruding buttocks only when they are ready for breeding; female humans and bonobos are almost always sexually available to males.  In other primate species, the males approach the females from the rear, and her swollen buttocks signal her accessibility for copulation.  Wherein lies the key to men's attraction to women's buttocks--they perpetually present the impression of being ready for him.

According to Mr. Schartzenegger, in the United States, women tend to emphasize the presentation of the breasts over the buttocks.  More than 300,000 women undergo breast enhancement surgeries in the United States each year,

and millions more wear push-up bras designed to make the breasts appear larger and perkier.  One of the great ironies of life in America is that women go to a heck of a lot of effort to draw attention to their breasts, but it is considered very bad manners for a man actually to look at them.  With their breasts, our women ostensibly seek to excite the lecherous patriarchal gaze, while simultaneously despising the majority of men whom she might catch gazing.  Which suggests that the point of the breast presentation is more about competing for status against other women, and that the male gaze is merely an annoyance.  Note that the woman in the above video has already mated and bred, and is probably (or at least in principle) not seeking any additional mating opportunities.  Asserting dominance and superiority over other women is the goal that our cosmetics industry largely serves.  Actual mating is secondary.  Starting at about 2:35 in the following clip Les Homéricains, watch the boobies of Melissa Mars expand to American proportions.

We have earned quite a reputation.  But, the emphasis that our women place on their breasts doesn't mean that the buttocks are completely ignored.  Quite the contrary.  Our women are known to fret a great deal over their buttocks.

A common concern that a typical American woman has is whether a particular article of clothing will make her buttocks appear big,

which is largely the point of American blue jeans, anyway.  As the documentary below shows, Brazil has a much more bunda-centric culture, and a woman can make a decent living off of her behind:

Even Presidents enjoy glancing at women's butts whenever they get a chance.

So, congratulations to Miss Cyrus, for having used her buttocks to grab so much attention.  As a species, we really are not a whole lot different from baboons, at least insofar as the visual stimuli that whet the male's reproductive interest are concerned.

What separates us from other species is the excitation of the male gaze through the art of dance.

Notice the Patriarchs in this one!

And, from Argentina's Bailando por un Sueño (their answer to our much tamer Dancing with the Stars):

The Patriarchs are certainly gazing lecherously.  You can see them when the camera focuses on the audience.  Oh, if our Feminists ever found out about these feasts for the heterosexual male eyes, then, boy would they be going ballistic.  Miley Cyrus and the Victoria's Secret pageants are quite tame by comparison, and may already be enough for them to handle.

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