Miley Cyrus’s Provocative VMA Performance Doesn’t Encourage a Rape Culture

Of all the dumb things people say … well this one is pretty dumb. Richard Cohen wrote a column for the Washington Post on Monday that somehow managed to link Miley Cyrus’s raunchy VMA performance with the Steubenville rape case.

So that just happened. A journalist suggested that performances like Miley’s are the real reason that two teenage boys sexually manhandled their drunk and passed out female peer. He implied that that’s how teens operate these days thanks to a “tawdry cable TV and celebrity culture.”


Cohen wrote:

Let me also suggest that acts such as hers not only objectify women but debase them. They encourage a teenage culture that has set the women’s movement back on its heels. What is being celebrated is not sexuality but sexual exploitation, a mean casualness that deprives intimacy of all intimacy.

I’m not here to defend the VMA performance, because I thought it was crass and I’ll thank God in heaven to never see Miley’s tongue again, but I’m hard-pressed to blame an obnoxious 20-year-old on TV for the sexual misconduct of teenage boys.

If a teenager watches a young lady (and I use the term loosely in this case) twerking and simulating sex with a foam finger on TV and somehow manages to translate that into permission to have sex with passed out drunk girls, then our culture is in worse shape than I thought.

It’s never ok to do something to another person without their explicit, sober consent -- no matter how many grown-up Disney starlets shake their hips in nude bikinis on cable TV.

As it is, I think the outrage over the VMA stunt is evidence that we are not a completely debased society. If this were the norm, then what’s all the fuss about? It seems that our culture doesn’t celebrate the sexual exploitation of young women after all.

Do you think Miley’s twerking encourages a rape culture?

Image via Miley Ray Cyrus/Twitter

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