VMAs were problematic, misguided

Juan Barquin/Staff Writer

Another year of music videos offers MTV another chance to drag out celebrities desperate to do anything for attention or a better sales record.

The list of offenders runs rather long this year at the Video Music Awards, with one performance in particular drawing the most negative attention upon itself. In an awkward mash-up of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Cyrus sprang around in the same beige underwear Thicke’s video models wore, while
Thicke gleefully grinded his body against a woman nearly half his age.

One could go on and on about the issues with this performance, and yet, the focus seems to stay on the young Miley Cyrus.

It’s clear to anyone who witnessed the events that went on Sunday night that Cyrus is problematic in the way she appropriates urban culture, and yet the blatant sexism in Thicke’s work is quietly brushed under the rug.Much like when Kristen Stewart’s affair with director Rupert Sanders arose, all talk was aimed at calling the woman a slut or home wrecker, while the man took no blame.

Thicke’s free pass here reminds one that even when a man turns a young woman into a sexual object for the sake of a performance, while his wife sits in the audience, he is not to blame.

The blatant sexism of “Blurred Lines” and the VMA fiasco that comes with it overshadows something that has caused far less controversy, and was actually praised by many.

Macklemore, a straight white male hip-hop artist, received an award for “Best Video with a Social Message” for his support of same sex marriage in his song with Ryan Lewis, “Same Love.”

Accompanied by an empty, misguided speech that riveted allies everywhere, Macklemore sealed in his place in the eye of the media as another white idol like Lady Gaga to praise over queer artists of color like Frank Ocean and Angel Haze.

Even someone like Janelle Monáe, with her single “Q.U.E.E.N.,” delivers a more apt understanding about equality and acceptance, especially that of self-love, than the cookie cutter views that “Same Love” expresses.

There are bigger issues at hand than what Miley wore or Macklemore supporting same sex marriage.

However entertaining they might be to watch in the moment, MTV’s VMAs are doing more harm than good by allowing this shameful nonsense to go on year after year.
juan.barquin@fiusm.com

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