not in Primary anymore

double standards: the miley & robin vmas performance

by Tinesha

(cross posted from her blog:

After watching the VMAs tonight, I made sure to write a mental note to myself to NEVER WATCH THEM AGAIN. (How many times does Kevin Hart have to comment on Lady Gaga’s backside? I mean, ew. And why are there so many commercials? And who are half of these celebrities?)

People won some awards, people presented some awards. There were good performances, there were terrible performances, and there were performances I wish I wouldn’t have seen—most notably Miley Cyrus’s and Robin Thicke’s train wreck of a performance.

The entire time, I was completely horrified and uncomfortable. The dancing, the singing, the grinding is just really awful. All of it. (I’m going to be completely honest– go ahead and watch if you dare. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. You will be horrified. Also, not for young children.)*

Along with the performance, I couldn’t help but be equally horrified by the responses to this performance. Twitter and ever form of social media blew up . (Picture MTV employees greedily smiling, excited that something controversial has actually happened for ratings.) Yes, I am horrified by this performance. Miley Cyrus is problematic for more reasons than one, and I’m not denying that. (Cultural appropriation, anyone?) However, I was thoroughly disgusted by the way people reacted to the performance on Twitter. (Key words: double standards!)

All I kept scrolling through were tweets like this:






How sweet of you, Brian.


What’s Whore Island? Is this an actual place?

 BUT WAIT. Last time I checked, aka when I watched this an hour ago, Miley isn’t dancing by herself up there. Oh no, the 36 year old Robin Thicke was dancing right up with her, singing his song “Blurred Lines” and dancing with a bunch of half naked girls. A few tweets casually joked about getting kicked out of the house.


HERE’S THE CATCH. The most retweeted/popular tweets about Robin Thicke were NOT about him being a whore. Oh no, they were about HOW HOT HE WAS. Oh yes. Robin Thicke performs with Miley, and he’s quite the hottie, apparently.


         Let’s not forget he sings Blurred Lines. Classy? Hm…




Oh, but wait! Miley Cyrus is a whore because she was twerking on Robin. Wait—what?! (Edited for language).


            And wait—it’s Miley’s fault that Robin was dancing with her? WHAT. Since when does Miley need to keep his faithfulness in check?

 Yes, Miley is problematic. With that said, this reaction to Miley/Robin performance is just telling of this greater issue. In our society, when a woman does something sexual ( like twerking against Robin at a VMA performance), she’s a whore. Miley not recognizing that Robin Thicke is indeed a married man and needs to back off makes her a whore. However, there is such a blatant double standard present. Robin Thicke is jokingly criticized for dancing with a 20 year old on stage and applauded for his good looks. He is married, and he is only jokingly criticized for his inability to stay away from the scantily clad ladies on stage (and don’t even get me started on the Blurred Lines song/music video—they’re definitely rapey/creepy/the worst.) The VMAs performance was problematic, but it wasn’t just Miley’s (the woman’s) fault.

Tl;dr (aka the short version for those who didn’t read the whole thing):


PS. Don’t watch the VMAs if you missed it. Be glad you missed it and a read a book or       something.

*If you’re still really interested in the performance, it’s here:

10 Responses to “double standards: the miley & robin vmas performance”

  1. Sarah

    Thanks you!! I couldn’t believe the twitter reactions last night. One I saw included saying something along the lines of Robin Thicke I’m so sorry you had to experience that .. like what? no.

  2. Amy M

    If Robin Thicke went on stage wearing a speedo and danced like a stripper I would call him a man whore. But he didn’t. Not sexist at all.

    • Lesley

      No he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t be taken seriously. It would be considered a joke, and he would be considered funny and ridiculous (because it’s such an absurd idea that a man would dance like that, though for a woman it is nothing new), or ‘gorgeous’ or hawwwt.

      Saying that there is a double standard isn’t saying that there wasn’t anything wrong with Miley’s behavior. She stated that already. Just because he’s dressed in a suit, doesn’t make him any classier, but people act as if that were the case.

      • Amy M

        Dancing with clothes on does make you classier. My goodness.

      • Lesley

        Not when you’re a married man grinding on a 20-year-old girl and singing a song dripping with rape culture. No, I don’t really think he’s much classier.

    • curtispenfold

      I’m with Lesley on this one. A man wears a speedo on stage, he’s just being silly.

      A woman wears a speedo on stage, well, she’s a slut.

    • Pagan

      Amy M got it right. Imagine if the roles were reversed: Assume for a moment that it was Miley who remained fully dressed and Robin had come out on stage wearing, say, a Speedo or thong. If Robin presumed the same sexual initiation; if he positioned himself in a copulation-ready stance; if he was grinding his genitals on Miley without her express consent; and if he mimicked sexual arousal, like Miley, by wagging his tongue like a dog in heat–or perhaps, like many men, by showing a pronounced tumescence inside his Speedo–all in front of a prime-time audience… the audience would NOT be howling with laughter. The Twitter-world would NOT be lauding his behavior. Rather, it would’ve all gone down as an even bigger WTF moment for viewers. Robin would be chastised for his misogyny, for furthering rape culture. He’d be excoriated for his sexual exploitation of a girl nearly half his age. And though the exact adjectives used to describe him on Twitter might be even a little more harsh than they were of Miley, they’d all boil down to a very similar criticism.

      So, is there a double standard here? No, not in this case. They’d each be chastised (and Robin even more so) for doing what most people know isn’t typically aired on prime-time television.

      The decision to even choreograph and include this scene was entirely exploitative on the part of VMAs. Now trying to squeeze-out evidence of a double-standard from viewer response after the fact is likewise an exploitation. Leave this race-to-the-bottom alone.

  3. Robertissimo

    No double standard at all. There’s a large patch of greyscale between a woman whi is comfortable in her own sexual expression and twerking against Robin at a VMA performance. Jeez. Direct simulations of sexual acts and gyration are not art, they’re not feminism, they’re willing, profit-motivated objectification of women as the lowest class around, available at the pleasure of men who stand there with their prison “game faces” on. I have no sympathy or artistic appreciation for either gender in this race to the bottom. So Robin’s a whoremonger, appealing to the lowest common denominator. Nope, no double standard. They all suck, they all misrepresent their gender except for the most debased and compromised, and I for one am tired of seeing garbage celebrated. Forget cultural misappropriation: this is not culture. To equate this gutter crap with African American artists is an insult to us all.


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