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Cyrus’ dance distracts from Thicke’s unsettling lyrics

By: Samantha Van Doran

Staff Writer

On August 25, Miley Cyrus shocked audiences at MTV’s annual Video Music Awards with her performance of her newest single, “We Can’t Stop.”

The former Disney star appeared on stage in a grey, fuzzy teddy bear leotard with her short blonde hair in two buns. She stuck her tongue out at the camera a dozen times, made a point of gyrating somewhat offensively, and “twerked” with life-size stuffed bears. At the end of her song, Miley stripped down to a nude-colored bikini and did an overtly sexual duet with Robin Thicke that included a foam finger and some more scandalous moves.

Over a week later, viewers (and presumably other celebrities at the show Sunday night) are still talking about her brief time on stage. Miley and her dance are all over Facebook and Twitter, and even news broadcasting companies like CNN covered it. A photo of Will Smith’s horrified family in the audience has been circulating the Internet since the night of the award show.

It seems that since Hannah Montana removed her wig for the last time and ditched the Disney contract, she has been looking to surprise people. She has posed naked for a magazine cover, chopped off and bleached her hair and put out a song about drugs and dancing—and every time, she gets a big reaction. This shocking performance at the VMAs was merely another attempt for Miley to make jaws drop, and drop they did.

Her dance moves are not really newsworthy, though: the singer can do whatever she wants with her songs, hair and body, within reason. What’s truly disturbing about Sunday night’s performance was Miley’s collaboration with Robin Thicke on his song “Blurred Lines.” The song has dominated the radio stations all summer, but it has a sinister message lying beneath its catchy beat. Concerned moms watching the VMAs were able to point at the half-naked Miley and say, “I would never let my daughter dress or dance that way.” But did they pick up on the subtler issue: the lyrics of Thicke’s song?

It is obvious from its title that “Blurred Lines” is not a song about respecting others’ personal boundaries. In fact, the song has been criticized for months for potentially describing date rape: “I know you want it,” Thicke insists in the refrain, “But you’re a good girl.” Thicke complains again and again in his song that he hates “these blurred lines.” Consensual sex never has blurred lines; there is a solid, clear line that only gets crossed when both partners want to cross it. You have to wonder, then, what Robin Thicke is really singing about.

“Blurred Lines” is catchy, and it’s been playing everywhere. The first 10 times I heard it on the radio, I didn’t know the words and I liked it a lot. Now that I know the words, my friends and I try to substitute more appropriate lyrics (which are usually awful) into the tune.

It’s somewhat dangerous to have this song playing in every car, school bus and taxicab in the United States—because the more we listen to and enjoy a song, the more inclined we are to accept the lyrics. I refuse to pay for a download of “Blurred Lines,” but I secretly blast it whenever it happens to come on. We ignore what the words mean, but we sing along and therefore encourage it.

Miley really just looked silly on stage at the VMAs—with her furry get-up, makeshift Princess Leia ‘do, and constant twerking. She didn’t do anything that GaGa or Britney Spears wouldn’t; in fact, her performance has been compared to Spears’ “coming-of-age” VMA dance years ago, when she stripped down from a fedora and black pantsuit to a skimpy bodysuit. The problem is that her performance diverted attention away from a real issue that needs addressing.

We don’t want to blur the lines any further on whether or not date rape is acceptable. If Robin Thicke is even joking about it in his song, that is not okay—and his problematic lyrics need to get more attention than an embarrassingly ridiculous three minute VMA dance.

 

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    blablaOct 10, 2013 at 4:47 am

    you’re reading the lyrics completely wrong…there’s nothing about date rape or sexual assault in the song. it’s all about a guy trying to convince a girl to break up with her girlfriend and hook up with him “ok now he was close, tried to domesticate you/but you’re an animal, baby it’s in your nature/just let me liberate you…that man is not your maker”

    maybe you shouldve listened to the lyrics closer

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Cyrus’ dance distracts from Thicke’s unsettling lyrics