Slut-Shaming, brought to you by Miley Cyrus
If you have any form of social media you have seen everyone's opinion on Miley Cyrus's performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Before I had even so much as heard of it, a women I follow on instagram had already reposted every possible image she could, and every single “fitspo” (short for fitness inspiration) I follow had her captioned with “WHY I SQUAT.” And I found myself disgusted, but not for the reasons you may think.
Now. Let's examine the facts... Yes, her costume choice wasn’t all that flattering. True, her performance could have been different. But guess what? It wasn’t.
To be completely honest, the most I know about Miss Cyrus is the brief mention she gets in the movie Zombieland, when Woody Harrelson and Abigail Breslin’s (whose breakout role was in the blockbuster Little Miss Sunshine) character are arguing about Hannah Montana, Miley's breakout role. I wouldn’t call myself a fan, but right now I would like to say that I am definitely in her corner. A very fine line is to be walked when we approach how we judge a young woman’s behavior, and that’s what Miley is, a woman. And I firmly believe that nobody—aside from maybe her doctor—has the right to tell a woman how she should behave.
Women, who are more often referred to as “girls,” are interesting. By the constant praise of the type of girl we should all be trying to emulate and the continuous belittling of anything that strays from this invented “norm,” society has turned us into something soft and manageable. Just the term “girl” turns us into children, and simply by definition removes both our maturity and power. Stereotypes are hard to break out of, especially when they are blatantly rooted in our basic use of the English language. Miley Cyrus is not acting like the little Hannah Montana “girl" we once knew and that terrifies America. Gosh golly gee, she was imitating sexual acts with a grown man while they were singing. What's next? A woman chooses to have sex before marriage??
Without even trying Cyrus filled America’s hate quota for the month. There is a deep rooted American need right now to focus on why her performance was important. If society doesn’t allow Miley the right to be a woman, this creates a restriction for every female. The reason her performance was allegedly judged so harshly was because it was overly sexualized. Let’s talk about that for a minute. A slut is defined as a person who has casual sex with multiple partners. Generally we are a society that dates multiple people before (or even if) we are married. And when you date, chances are you are going to have sex and if you aren’t, that is entirely your choice, exactly the way having sex is. When you remove all the hate around the word “slut,” the definition is merely a person. A human. A woman or a man.