A Proposal: Let's Not Be Scandalized by Something That Happened at the VMAs

What Women Really Think
Aug. 26 2013 12:23 PM

A Proposal: Let's Not Be Scandalized by Something That Happened at the VMAs

177937595
Miley Cyrus, trying too hard

Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for MTV

It's Monday morning after the MTV Video Music Awards, which means that the Internet's choice for outrageous, sharable VMA video of the year has already made its way through your various feeds. Yes, that old, familiar feeling is back. You click on Miley Cyrus' performance of "We Can't Stop" and "Blurred Lines," sense memory takes over, and all of a sudden you find your fingers instinctively fluttering to your mouth as you wallow in a bath of titillation and outrage. She was on some Disney show once!

Yes, yes, I know you want it—to feel scandalized. But may I offer an alternative, one that may be less immediately exciting but ultimately more fulfilling? Try not caring. Step back and really look at the performance. If it were anywhere but the VMAs, we would not be that interested in a mediocre pop star in a beige bathing suit rattling her butt at Alan Thicke's son in an inept attempt at eroticism. We certainly wouldn't call it "X-rated." If you want to see something actually sexy, try porn. Or HBO. Or just wander into any dance club in any major city and see people who can dance better than Cyrus and actually make it hot.

Advertisement

Being outraged at some nonsense at the VMAs is becoming one of our nation's more embarrassing traditions. It's easy to understand why. It's August, people are bored, and getting all bent out of shape about nothing is a way to pass the time. But it has to stop! If you look back at some previous VMA scandals, you'll see how dumb they always are in retrospect. We as a nation allowed ourselves to get homophobic about Madonna kissing Britney Spears. We had a coast-to-coast panic because Kanye West said something that everyone secretly had to admit was true. We've been sucked into scandals that turned out to have been staged. And what was even remotely upsetting about the inaugural VMA outrage—Madonna rolling around on the floor in a bridal gown singing "Like A Virgin"? Most brides aren't virgins? My eyes! (Meanwhile, the real scandal—that there are still video music awards on a channel that doesn't play music videos—is such a given that it goes largely uncommented upon.)

Miley Cyrus was so obviously trying to push your buttons, people. Teddy bears to stripping? Oldest trick in the book! She's insulting our intelligence to think that we'd be scandalized by such an obvious ploy. Don't let her win.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.