It totally could! Three 6 Mafia member, king of crunk and Miley Cyrus enabler Juicy J has just announced his intention to let one lucky young lady shake her ass to a higher social class. Tweeteth he:
That’s right: just film a video, upload it to Youtube, enter it into the contest, and just like that, you might get to go to college! Be sure to shout out Juicy J and World Star Hiphop in the video, as well as use the Juicy J song “Scholarship,” which is about a stripper shaking her ass for college money, although it is left somewhat nebulous in the end whether he actually believes her. What a philanthropist.
Not surprisingly, many women are taking issue with this idea, even calling for a boycott of the contest. For some reason, they find it degrading that young women (and specifically, young black women) are being asked to shake their asses to convince a crazy millionaire—one who made his millions glorifying guns, drugs, and treating women as objects (i.e. what our grandparents think rap is about)—to give them money for college. I wonder why?
Of course, there’s an argument to be made that twerking can be empowering; just look at Big Freedia‘s pansexual approach whereby people of all kinds are encouraged to express themselves through dance. But it’s important to remember that this is actually an inversion of the pre-existing, heteronormative power dynamic whereby women shook their asses for the gratification of men, a dynamic Juicy J seems not to have moved beyond.
To the credit of everyone participating in this contest, the current “top rated” videos feature no twerking at all, just convincing pleas for the scholarship money. “Being a future business woman,” says one contestant, “I don’t think it’s the smartest thing to do for me to post a video of me shaking my ass that’ll be online forever.”
Unfortunately, however, the fact remains that we live in a society where only the wealthiest get to go to college without worrying about how to pay for it, and where most people have to take jobs that degrade them in various ways if they want a shot at buying their way into a better life via expensive college degrees. So while it is obviously ridiculous, I don’t think you can condemn the #twerkingscholarship unless you are also ready to condemn the whole corrupt system for which it is a metaphor. Coincidentally, I am.