It’s official. I’m old. Why have I come to this revelation? Well, besides my hip making a noise no human body part should make when lifting from a chair, I just found out there is a pop culture phenomena all the cool kids are doing that, up until two days ago I had no idea existed. No, not the Harlem Shake, although to this day anytime anyone mentions it I don’t think ‘spastic dance’, I pictured a delicious, creamy drink dessert made in the northern part of Manhattan. I speak instead of the other spastic dance “craze” called Twerking.
This apparently is not something new, but in fact has been all the rage amongst the young and hip (no wonder I have never heard of it) for a while. Because I am neither young nor hip, (different use of the word than my aforementioned “creaking” hip) and perhaps because I have a useless degree in English, I immediately wanted to make sense of the word and figure out where it came from. I figured it must be a time saving combo like chillax or RPatz or Mucinol (that’s what I call my nightly cocktail of Metamucil and Tylenol). So I asked the friend of mine that introduced me to Twerking, (who is in fact my age, but apparently isn’t as unhip as me.) “Twerking is just a name,” was my answer. I didn’t like it. So I looked it up. Wikipedia told me it was “a portmanteau of twist and jerk” after looking up “portmanteau” (I told you my English degree was useless) I was satisfied with this answer (the other answer was “a contraction of footwork”-Boooorring).
But now of course I needed to see what all the rage was and had to find out if I would look ridiculous if I whipped out Twerking at the next party I attended. Turns out I would, I really really would (especially since most of the parties I get invited to now a days are baptisms and house warmings). Twerking is so popular and ubiquitous that several teens have been suspended for doing it in a ‘Footloosetown’ in San Diego. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/05/high-school-students-suspended-for-twerking/
By now you may be thinking, (the five of you who read me) “Why would you even bring up Twerking on a women’s empowerment blog? What’s your point, little miss always has to make a point?” Well, here it is. I watched roughly twenty-five minutes of Miley Cyrus Twerking, culminating in a video for her new song “We Can’t Stop” and was mind blown. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrUvu1mlWco
(My direct plea to the Twerker herself) “Miley I’m glad you’re young and in charge of your life and confident in your looks, but what the hell did I just watch? Aren’t you a Disney star? Don’t young girls look up to you? You have a mega career and millions of people (I’m assuming majority teens) love you. You’ve really done amazingly for yourself, but unfortunately for you, you are a role model and you owe it to your fans to show yourself some respect. If you can influence a lot of people either positively or negatively, why would you act like this and produce of the most bizarre bed writhing video on television?”
It’s bad enough women are made to look like props in male produced music videos. Case in point the song and video “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, which a lot of people are saying has “rapey” lyrics. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2344796/Robin-Thicke-lambasted-rapey-lyrics-video-new-single-Blurred-Lines-song-tops-Billboard-Hot-100-chart.html.
Barf, Robin Thicke. While I literally have never heard any of his other songs (I think he had something to do with the theme song to ‘Growing Pains) and therefore can only judge him on this one that has now made the news for its misogyny, I would think that a man with a wife and children would show just a teeny tiny bit more respect for women then he does in a song where he repeatedly use the phrase “You know you want it” as if trying to convince her.
If men are still going to use women in their music videos as mannequins with no real value but to flit around half naked and serve their sexual desires then women who have the talent, power and influence to be in the music video scene need to step up and show the world we more than fu***able objects.
I’m thrilled that the pop culture scene is littered with females who got there by working hard and being talented and owning their sexuality. So why is this not the image most of our young girls (and boys) are seeing?
We certainly can’t only blame Miley (Or Britney or Paris or Lindsey or Amanda). They are probably doing what they think will sell records or fame or image. I would say that the media has a hand in this as well. They have no problem writing about the Lohans, the Bynes and the Cyrus’ more unsavory exploits. Where are all the positive former Disney stars girls can look up to? Where are their non- sexually provocative music videos? Why isn’t TMZ following them around with cameras while they do hard-core philanthropic work?
There must be some positive young female role models out there. Maybe I’m just not in the right circle. Like I said, I’m old, so if you’re young and famous and I’ve heard of you, you must have done something wrong.
I know that somehow I started this post off about Twerking. As soon as I hop off my soapbox I’m going to go practice the move.