What Miley Cyrus Did Right at the VMAs

After a few days of letting the craziness die down over Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance this past Sunday, I decided to take a different point of view after watching the performance for myself (I recorded the show and didn’t watch it live).
There’s probably been no shortage of people calling for Ms. Cyrus to keep her clothes on and seek some help. But all that talk and coverage serve to focus only on what we believe she did wrong.
But what did she do right?
After all, there must be something redeeming from the show and her performance, right? In the first 10 minutes we saw Lady Gaga strip down to a tiny bikini and Taylor Swift cursing One Direction from her seat next to Selena Gomez.
While I won’t rehash the details of the performance that when on for about 6 minutes with Robin Thicke and rapper 2 Chains, it was clear from the audience that One Direction was not impressed and Miley’s mother thought it worthy of a standing ovation.
Given all of that, what could Miley have done right with her performance?
(Miley Cyrus at the Met Gala 2013/huffingtonpost.com)
1.    We’re still talking about it.
From a pure business standpoint, it’s great for her and MTV (who has always pushed the envelope) for people to keep talking about the show and her performance. That equals airtime, YouTube hits, and a social media frenzy.
2. She reminded us that this is nothing new.
At 33 years old, I’ve seen a number of VMAs and this performance has not been the worst of them by far. Call it a Madonna redux or a younger Lady Gaga, but Miley is far from outdoing any performance on that show. I wonder what Madonna thinks of all this?
3. She reminded us that the face of rebellion is different.
You see, Miley Cyrus, and other performers like her aren’t really rebelling. Not anymore as there are too many others like them. If everyone is shaving their heads, getting tattoos and running around half naked, where is the rebellion?
Miley has succeeded in showing us that true rebellion is about staying true to who you are (and since she’s only 20, I doubt she has a grasp on that) and not being afraid to go against the flow.
Right now, her antics seem to be the status quo. So, rebellion, in this case, would call for a rejection of that behavior. Modest dress, deliberate choices in music and entertainment and showing respect for yourself are now counter-culture. Rebellion is no longer about being the loudest and flashiest person in the room. Too many people are doing that anyway.
So, if we are to follow Miley’s lead and rebel, let’s do it in a way that makes ourselves better. Don’t we love ourselves enough to do that? And, maybe, we can take a break from criticizing MTV and Miley Cyrus long enough to pray for them. Crazy thought, right?

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.