Miley Cyrus More Offensive Than Page 3?

The point people keep missing with regards to Miley's somewhat tasteless performance at the VMA awards and inwardly (and outwardly!) cringe with cries of "Think of the children!" is the context in which she performed these antics.

Miley seen as more offensive? Really? What world are you in in which a confident, strong, single female, who rose to fame through singing on the Disney Channel and then breaking into pop music, strutting her stuff and basically laughing at Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines (and Robin Thicke himself) while all the time looking like she was having a ball is more offensive than a similar aged girl passively standing with her boobs out to be objectified and ogled, only granted the column inches because she has her breasts out?

I'll tell you which world. The one in which sexual freedom is a myth. Rags like The Sun and The Daily Mail slut-shame on a daily basis but are happy to use the same women's images to promote and sell their publications. That is not freedom, it is exploitation, subjugation and objectification.

Let us not forget the same newspaper refusing to remove their topless feature also told Miley Cyrus to 'put some clothes on' and referred to one of the women most featured for her body in their newspaper, Helen Flanagan, as having her brain 'missing'.

In this world there were pages and pages and pages of articles regarding Miley's VMA performance. Not so many regarding Wrecking Ball though, the video that was actually created specifically for the public domain in which she simulates fellatio on a sledgehammer...

The point people keep missing with regards to Miley's somewhat tasteless performance at the VMA awards and inwardly (and outwardly!) cringe with cries of "Think of the children!" is the context in which she performed these antics.

She was at the VMA awards, an awards ceremony well known for controversy. Have we already forgotten Madonna and Britney's kissing? Diana Ross grabbing Lil Kim's barely covered breast? Rose McGowan in her see-through dress with just a thong covering her genitalia? Kanye West jumping on stage to discredit Taylor Swift? It's not like when watching the VMAs we would expect them to be appropriate for children, is it? It's an awards ceremony broadcast after the watershed.

Her provocative dancing may have had similarities with Rihanna's awful X-Factor performance, but it was NOT X-Factor. It was not intended for a family audience. The onus here lies on the entertainment and 'news' (yep, that word again) industry that plastered her performance all over place and the audience changed. This was not Miley's doing.

I am reminded of the "We should change porn because children can see it online" argument at this point to which my response will always be, "No, we need to stop children accessing porn in the first place and educate them on it". Adult material should stay adult.

Now back to Page 3. As I already mentioned, the woman on Page 3 is passive. Nothing suggests she is in control, or in fact even has a brain. The only time The Sun even suggested these women might think for themselves was with the news in briefs 'feature' which has thankfully been removed after it became clearly satirical and attributing quotes worthy of Stephen Hawkins to the women. More suggestive of a lack of intelligence than a platform for them to talk about their own beliefs and opinions.

Then, of course, there is the context. I agree that, although passive, the image in itself is not offensive. A woman's body is not offensive. Breasts are not offensive. But when that image is placed in a newspaper of which Leveson said "the Page 3 tabloid press often failed to show consistent respect for the dignity and equality of women generally, and that there was a tendency to sexualise and demean women." (p. 664) then we need to consider the image in context.

Let me give you an example. If I placed a picture of a beautiful woman of colour on a crucifix alongside an article regarding the way the industry treats women of colour in the modelling profession it would be considered metaphoric, thought provoking, not offensive. If I placed that same picture next to a BNP party broadcast it would be inflammatory, racist and offensive.

This is the same problem with Page 3. I have said it before, and will say it again. Breasts are not bad. Enjoying looking at breasts is not bad. The ability to source material with naked breasts in is not bad. Breasts being alongside what is meant to be a publication of 'news', in a sexualised context, alongside misogynistic and sexist treatment of women, however, is terrible.

At least Miley kept her clothes on on the Disney Channel.


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