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

The XX Factor
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

The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

This Scene From All The President’s Men Captures Ben Bradlee’s Genius

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.