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September 21, 2023

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Miley Cyrus’ controversial VMA performance creates social media buzz

Though it was a few days ago, people still seem to be fascinated by Miley Cyrus’ “twerking” at the MTV Video Music Awards.

“It represented a real break with her past image, and she’s already been receiving increasing attention lately as her erratic behavior has people speculating as to the possibility of drug problems,” said Becca Cragin, associate professor in Popular Culture, through an email about why people are so fascinated by Cyrus’ performance.

Junior Teri Moore said she thinks Cyrus was doing too much during Robin Thicke’s performance of “Blurred Lines.”

During the performance, Cyrus “twerked” on Thicke and gyrated with a foam finger in a nude colored outfit.

“She looked crazy,” Moore said.

Cyrus isn’t the only former Disney star to have rebelled, and she may not be the last.

Cragin said Disney stars rebel to prove something.

“It seems to be done to demonstrate that they have come of age, so they are no longer typecast in the traditional, youthful images they were originally associated with,” she said.

There may be different theories about why people were so shocked about Cyrus’ performance.

“[It’s] out of sync with her prior image, and perhaps more explicitly sexual than is typical at the VMAs, although they can get quite racy,” Cragin said.

Moore thinks it’s for a different reason.

“I think the reason it had so many reactions is because everyone knows her sexy image but it went too far with her grinding on this older man,” Moore said. “He’s old enough to be her dad.”

Moore said if it was someone Cyrus’ age, it would be more acceptable, but still weird.

“If you’re not afraid to do this with a grown man on a live performance, who’s to say what you’re doing behind closed doors,” she said.

Cyrus’ performance was “explicitly sexual,” Cragin said.

GraiNisha Pierce, a junior, said it was the surprise factor that shocked people.

“If she would have came out like that, no one would have cared,” Pierce said. “Like Lady Gaga … that’s her. Miley Cyrus came out as a child actress.”

Moore said she thinks people are shocked by Cyrus’ change in image.

“Typically, female artists of all races who are at this professional level of success, and performing at the VMAs, present themselves as sexy but in a more refined way that is associated with middle-class women,” Cragin said. “For example, a singer like Beyonce definitely draws on her sexuality in her performance, but it’s hard to imagine her bringing something this raw to a mainstream venue.”

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