After wearing the early 1990s on her ass last night, Miley Cyrus went onstage to perform her still-popular song “We Can’t Stop.” And once again, it felt like Miley went onstage to cause controversy. This time, she smoked a joint in front of people (so subversive! what rebellion! way to show all those people you have lungs and access to weed!). But that’s not what struck me as controversial (hi, Snoop does like that 8 times a year); it’s the fact that she twerked on a little person and, once again, Miley managed to utilize a human being as a prop.
Not only did Miley twerk (ugh, I used to add a big ol’ disclaimer about how she doesn’t actually twerk but that battle just feels futile at this point), she also groped the dancer’s breast and spanked her. I can see how people would not find this offensive; I, for one, was initially conflicted on whether or not to even write this post. After all, if this woman is a-okay with the situation, then it’s not an issue, right? Well, sort of. The issue is more the way Miley is using specific groups of people.
But then I remembered the Reddit AMA that an actress who is a little person partook after performing with Miley during the VMAs, and this particular quote of hers:
“I had never been in a performance where I was purely meant to be gawked or laughed at. I will never forget that performance because it is what forced me to draw my personal line in the sand. After our first dress rehearsal in the costumes with the crew, publicists, performers etc watching us, I walked out of the Barclay Center shaking and crying. Thankfully, my best friends, Kelly and Kerri, happened to be NYC to visit me. They were waiting for me and I walked up to them and broke down. I love being the center of attention, but that was something different. I was being stared and laughed at for all of the wrong reasons. I was being looked at as a prop…as something less than human.
“…For the first time I felt truly ashamed of being a little person. We were being used simply because we were little. It felt like society still saw us as a joke, despite the fact there is literally nothing different about me other than the fact I am small. You would never make someone with Down Syndrome to come to your party as an “angry retard”. (I have been asked to go to a party as an “angry elf”).”
Yeah, so this isn’t just people speculating on the hypothetical thoughts of those who have performed with Miley; this is straight from the mouth (well, keyboard) of somebody who felt “truly ashamed” after being a prop who felt like her sole presence was intended to be “gawked or laughed at.” Not okay.
In addition to her performances, Miley has literally flown out groups of little people to be at her party. When you see how this was described by a “source,” it makes you sick:
“Miley wanted the most over the top ‘Madhouse’ ever so she had Jeff bring the cast from Los Angeles including monkeys and little people,” a source told RadarOnline.com.
“She wants this to be an outrageous party and it she’s planned a lot of surprises for everyone who will be there. Miley isn’t doing anything small scale anymore, everything is a huge dramatic production.”
Monkeys and little people. Monkeys. And. Little people. You know, because they’re the same thing in her mind — fun party elements to make things “outrageous” and to entertain her guests.
Miley doesn’t seem to actually value these human beings as, well, human beings with individual personalities, capabilities, thoughts…she apparently just sees little people as a means by which to gain notoriety and to have a more memorable broadcast. It is certainly not problematic in the slightest to hire a woman who is a little person to perform with you; the problem is that Miley isn’t hiring little people because she thinks these dancers are talented performances.
Yes, I am sick to death of hearing about Miley Cyrus doing this, Miley Cyrus doing that, Miley Cyrus licking things and groping people and using humans as elaborate, decently-paid props. But considering this is who our current pop culture — whether we like it or not — revolves around, it’s necessary to discuss. I hate the fact that Cyrus still has fans despite saying things about Trayvon Martin, about Jews, about trans* people, about wanting to make her music “Black.” And I hate the idea that because she is as inexplicably admired and revered as she is right now, she may be able to sway others into having the same shitty mindset she does. Can’t we just skip to the part where she gets arrested, goes to court six times, gets off six times, tells all her fans to fuck off while drunk and then comes out with a line of designer energy drinks called “Can’t Stoppage”?