The Twerk Heard Round the World

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Orenstein picks apart Miley Cyrus’s branding of sexuality as demeaning to women but I would argue that her unabashed sexuality is a positive side to her persona, especially when we live in a time where a police officer would but the onus on girls to prevent sexual assault by not looking like “sluts”. The criticism I have of Miley is one that was completely untouched by Orenstein, the appropriation of black culture. The claim that Miley put twerking on the map ignores the fact that this is something black women have created and been doing for centuries in some form. What’s really hurting girls is not Miley Cyrus’s brand of sexual liberation, but rather the fact that it is one made off the backs of women of colour who are incarcerated at higher rates than white women, who have to deal with the daily realities of police brutality and racial profiling, and whose trans community are being murdered in higher rates. Miley isn’t “bad” because she wears skimpy clothes and fakes orgies, she’s problematic because she steals from a culture without having to recognize or acknowledge their hardships and then makes millions off of it while those same women get paid less than their white female counterparts. I think Nicki Minaj put it best “(…) If you want to enjoy our culture and our lifestyle, bond with us, dance with us, have fun with us, twerk with us, rap with us, then you should also want to know what affects us, what is bothering us, what we feel is unfair to us. You shouldn’t not want to know that.’’

Sources

Institution, The Brookings. “10 Ways Black Americans Still Face More Inequality than Whites.” Medium. N.p., 16 Jan. 2017. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.

Mbakwe, Christiana. “The Origins of Twerking: What It Is, What It Means, and How It Got Appropriated.” Xojane.com. N.p., 30 Aug. 2013. Web. 30 Jan. 2017.

Orenstein, Peggy. Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape. New York, NY: Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2016. Print.

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