I am really late to the game on this one, but only because I was waiting for anyone in the mainstream media to bring this up. The real issue isn’t that Miley Cyrus twerked during the 2013 MTV Music Video Awards show, it’s that she did a bad job at it. I have no problem with the media’s criticism of Cyrus’ performance. My issue is how the majority of the media have deemed the act of twerking as “obscene” and “vulgar.” Like it or not, twerking is a form of art. Any form of dance, no matter where or when it was invented, is art. I know a number of dancers in my life, and I respect the heck out of their craft. And if something as obtuse and clumsy as interpretative dance can be considered a work of art, then so can twerking. On the other hand, I absolutely do not consider dancing a competitive sport, nor an Olympic event.
Call me jaded, call me desensitized, but I am not offended by twerking. The mainstream culture, (read: “white, middle-class America), has had an overreaction towards new genres of art. Almost every form of art from the 20th century, were originally decried as “obscene” and / or “the work of the devil.” In music, we have(at least): jazz, blues, rock and roll, heavy metal, rap, and hip-hop. (I may be missing some genres, and many other sub-genres, but my point remains). In painting, we have Dadaism, modernism, post-modernism, and abstract. But no form of art has been under attack from the powers-that-be than dancing. (Although video games are gaining ground. It will be interesting how much flack Grand Theft Auto V will receive in the next few weeks.)
I’ve noticed throughout my travels and travails that most people, no matter what their profession or true calling in life, consider themselves both (1) a comedian; and (2) an artist. I find it disrespectful to the professionals of both crafts that the time and hard work is taken for granted. I know what you are thinking, “There are no professional twerkers out there.” Just give it time. But if there is an antithesis of a professional twerker, it has to be Miley Cyrus. (I would love to follow-up with an antithesis” of a singer joke here, but Miley has plenty of competition for that title.) No matter what you think of her singing skills or acting skills, her dancing skills are much, much worse.
I just can’t wait for the next big dance craze. I’m sure it will be energetic, titillating, and an immediate backlash from the conservatives. And most assuredly, it will make twerking look tame and pale in comparison.