This is a sign o’ the times, my dear readers, and most definitely not in a good way:
LONDON – Twerking, the rump-busting up-and-down dance move long beloved on America’s hip-hop scene, has officially gone mainstream. It’s got the English dictionary entry to prove it.
Britain’s Oxford Dictionaries said the rapid-fire gyrations employed by U.S. pop starlet Miley Cyrus to bounce her way to the top of the charts had become increasingly visible in the past 12 months and would be added to its publications under the entry: “Twerk, verb.”
Although Cyrus’s eye-popping moves at Monday’s MTV Video Music Awards may have been many viewers’ first introduction to the practice, Oxford Dictionaries’ Katherine Connor Martin said “twerking” was some two decades old.
“There are many theories about the origin of this word, and since it arose in oral use, we may never know the answer for sure,” Martin said. “We think the most likely theory is that it is an alteration of work, because that word has a history of being used in similar ways, with dancers being encouraged to ‘work it.’ The ‘t’ could be a result of blending with another word such as twist or twitch.”
The definition: “Twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.”
We’ve come a long way, baby. Or, er, not really.
The best response I’ve seen to the whole Miley Cyrus video music awards “performance” controversy comes from a blog called “Roadkill Goldfish” – with a headline that reads “Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you“:
Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you.
Yes, this is what happens when you constantly hear everything you do is awesome. This is what happens when people fawn over your every Tweet and Instagram photo. This is what happens when no responsible adult has ever said the word “no,” made you change your clothes before leaving the house, or never spanked your butt for deliberate defiance.
Why would I [embarrass you by twerking you myself]? Because I love you and I want you to respect yourself. Miley Cyrus is not edgy or cool or sexy. She’s a desperate girl screaming for attention: Notice me. Tell me I’m pretty. See how hot I am. I know all the guys want me. All the girls want to be me.
You probably know girls who will emulate this behavior at the next school dance. Don’t do it with them. You are far too valuable to sell yourself so cheaply. Walk away. Let the boys gawk and know in your heart that they see only a body that can be used for their pleasure and then forgotten.
I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt sad because I haven’t gushed over everything you’ve done. My role is to praise when praise is due, but also to offer constructive criticism and correction when it is needed as well. I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt demoralized because your Instagram following isn’t in the thousands, and I’m sorry those “selfies” can never capture how amazingly beautiful you truly are. I’m sorry if you’ve ever wished you had a friend instead of a mom, and I promise you that I will probably get worse when you hit high school.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
There is a difference in the arts/entertainment world between being provocative and being trashy, and Miley went wayyy beyond trashy. I know she wants to shed the “Disney little girl” image and be taken seriously as an adult but there are ways to do it that don’t involve disrespecting yourself. As Twitter user @SmallgGay wrote:
So many levels of wrong. And as for her supposedly much more “mature” adult “dance partner” Robin Thicke, he has “rape rape” lyrics he needs to answer for. National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote:
While much of the focus today is on Cyrus, since she was the exhibitionist, there should be a bit more on Thicke and his contribution to American culture this summer. I wouldn’t recommend too much Googling about “Blurred Lines,” particularly if you have kids around, but consider his warm Today Show welcome this summer. “Blurred Lines,” which he performed last night at the VMAs as well as on Today a few weeks ago, has been described as “rapey” for its “I know you want it” repetition. Asked about criticism of the song in the most softball of between-song interviews, he explained that the song is actually “a feminist movement in itself.” Thicke after all, sings, “that man is not your Maker,” as he’s trying to keep “the hottest **tch in this place” from being “domesticate[d]” by another dude.
Sick. And in no way “art.” And people wonder why conservatives devote so much time to discussing our cultural decline?
What is the answer to “twerking” and other troubling signs our “entertainment” culture is rotting to its very core? As I wrote on Twitter a couple of days ago, FCC censorship isn’t the answer. I just think society should to do some soul searching, elevate its standards. Reverse course. Everything now is done to appeal to the absolute lowest common denominator. Nothing is left to the imagination – at all. FULL STOP. Almost everything is made now to appeal to baser urges – not anything more meaningful. There is no right or wrong anymore. The definition of “family” and “marriage” is whatever you want it to be. Heck, you don’t even have to be the gender you were born as anymore. If it feels good do it is the name of the game. And most songs/movies/shows now that are supposed to foster “meaningful dialogue” are left wing in nature so much so that if you don’t immerse yourself into their little group-think coalitions then your opinions are not welcomed. Period.
I know music and movies and TV shows are, to a large extent, supposed to be about fun, excitement, and “getting away from reality” but somewhere along the way it became fashionable to promote yourself and advance your career using “shock tactics” that indicated to anyone with a shred of common sense that you had zero self-respect and just flat out didn’t care what type of image that projected to the broader audience (including young people). Miley Cyrus, sadly, isn’t the first to “go all out” but she’s one of the most notable considering what helped make her famous (Disney) versus what she’s done now (using children’s toys and her body in sexually degrading ways to try and shed that image). The bottom line now is that it’s all about “getting to the top” using any – and I mean ANY – means necessary, and that needs to change. That “twerking” is ‘finally’ being added to the dictionary only emphasizes this point.
Sidenote: For “feminists” reading this who believe the rants of conservatives about Ms. Cyrus’ behavior are “one-sided misogynist rants about women only” consider how many of us have also written about the degrading-to-women nature of rap music before you go spouting off without all the facts. Thanks.
What do we do?