Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Slut Shaming // Cultural Appropriation



Despite writing about Blurred Lines already, I felt like that post was incredibly rushed and didn't really delve into all the little things that made it absolutely disappointing and demeaning. In addition to that, the wonderful VMAs were held on the 25th of this month and have brought out some really ingenious talent, like Miley Cyrus & Robin Thicke's performances.

Last night I watched Lauren Rose's video about Miley's performance (which you should do, here's her video (x) and her blog post (x). I haven't managed to read the post yet, so I'll get to it after I post this. Basically, it was her video that made me realize some new things that I hadn't known in addition to the things I felt I could've elaborated on that I had understood the concept of but just hadn't mentioned 

My problem begins far before Miley's apparently "scandalous" and "vulgar" performance. The essence of the problem, is that song itself. "Blurred Lines"'s concept isn't something brand new has already been explored in most rap songs and quite subtly in some pop songs, but I feel that this song takes it to another level. It does sound like it's almost justifying rape, in a way that wow, there are blurred lines and I don't know if I should cross them, but hey I will anyways. 

Yet after the VMAs, I didn't see a single thing on twitter or tumblr about how messed up Robin Thicke is. Miley was featured in it, and her attire and dance - which I will bring up in a while - was an extra to the song and pretty much resembled the music video of the song itself. Everyone was on about Miley and nobody discussed the actual problem. Because the main problem isn't Miley dancing, that would be her problem not mind, the problem is the song that essentially promotes that kind of behavior, glamorizes it and most importantly tries to validate it. So all in all, there are double standards here. and that's definitely unacceptable.

Now, when it comes to Miley though, the main problem I have with her is how she's trying incredibly hard to escape the whole Disney persona and trying to make it clear that "I'm nobody's role model, I'm just going to do whatever I want" which is obviously the whole theme of her song "We Can't Stop" and I think by trying so hard to play a different part, she's only putting herself out there for more criticism and more ridicule. If that is who she is, why does it all look like some shitty act. You know?

In addition, the point Lauren brought up was cultural appropriation;

Cultural Appropriation is the adoption of some specific element of one culture by a different cultural group. It describes acculturation or assimilation, but can imply a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. 

At first people who have criticized Miley's continuous use of twerking lately, mentioned that it was offensive to the traditional African culture whom the dance was originally from, but after a few research, it seems like it's true; Mapouka (a traditional dance) has been banned from Ivory Coast's TVs because of its suggestive nature. But, In the US, "twerking was introduced into the hip hop culture by way of the New Orleans bounce music scene. (x) So, would that really fit into cultural appropriation?

Yet a problem with some of her seemingly innocent and "just for fun" actions are still quite problematic. It feels like in both her music video and in her performance, she seems to enjoy using black women as a prop. (I'm sorry if that term's not politically correct, but I'm trying to keep it simple) And that problem is additionally present in Thicke's video - except this time it's not racist, it's sexist. 

Overall I think these kind of parts of modern pop culture do affect society negatively, even though some people think that all the critics are overreacting about "just another pop song", but it's not just that. It has caused commotion, which clearly means many people have taken offense and have realized how damaging this can be to both the youth and society as a whole. This condonation of using human beings as props is disgusting and promotes us looking upon other humans as merely objects, which just makes way for the flow of other issues that would infest a community. 

I feel like this song should not have been performed on the VMAs in the first place, but despite me saying that, there's a fraction of people that think it's no harm, but those people should take a look at all the underlying problems that they're oblivious - and or turning a blind eye to.

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