Miley Cyrus Played Miley Cyrus At The 2015 VMAs
This year, Miley Cyrus was asked to host the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, a decision that caused more than a few people to scratch their heads in confusion, or else shake them in disgust. Miley said it best when she said that the only way MTV could stop Miley from performing was to ask her to host.
Perhaps the MTV execs were unwilling to create another media furor the likes of which followed Miley’s iconic and controversial (to say the least) VMAs performance against (literally) Robin Thicke in 2013. Perhaps the opposite is true: that they wanted to bank on as much Miley time as possible to increase ratings. If the art that accompanied the broadcast is any indication, in which cartoon versions of Miley and Robin gyrating featured prominently, the latter is true.
If so, Miley certainly didn’t disappoint. Other articles will document her outrageous outfits, from a silver cut-out number that my mother called, in frustration, “not a dress” (an understatement, in my opinion) and a foam rectangle emblazoned with a rainbow and a cut-out for Miley’s head (an imitation of the ubiquity of rainbow-tinted Facebook profile photos following this year’s marriage equality ruling), but this one won’t. Miley’s outfits are well known, well documented, and despite their outrageousness, not unexpected.
Rather, Miley’s hosting was notable for one reason: That Miley Cyrus is really good at playing Miley Cyrus.
There’s an element of self-awareness to the Miley persona that makes her likable and less “threatening”: she knows how others perceive her, but she’s willing to milk those opinions and her image for all that they’re worth.
We saw evidence of this earlier this week when she filmed a segment for Jimmy Kimmel in which she disguised herself and took to the streets of L.A., asking people on Hollywood Boulevard what they thought of Miley Cyrus. The answers ranged from harsh judgment to a sly knowledge of the real person behind the thick glasses. But all the responses had one thing in common: the awareness of Miley’s outrageous behavior, and its motives.
Many think Miley is going through an extended identity crisis, and is looking to shed her Disney persona. Others just see her as a joke. I find offense with both of these explanations, and offer a simpler one: this is who Miley is.
As she later told Kimmel, when she appeared in pasties and a cape, “I’m a vegan nudist.” She also said that her father would rather she “show her tits and be a good person” than cover up and be an “*sshole.” Despite Miley’s constant honesty, philanthropy, and circumspect, intelligent answers to reporters’ questions, many still brand her an exhibitionist, an attention wh*re, a stoner, a slut.
Well, last night at the VMAs, she used that to her extreme advantage, proving once and for all that Miley and her antics aren’t going anywhere. She has no shame, as well she shouldn’t.
Miley Cyrus played Miley Cyrus to great effect at the VMAs, filming segments to go between her live hosting that emphasized her crazy Instagram posts, her extensive pot-smoking, and her penchant to go topless — hell, she even flashed the camera on purpose, providing the censors something to do (meanwhile, someone in the censor department is getting an earful right now, because efforts to censor Miley’s nipple were unsuccessful). After the nip slip she innocently said, as the broadcast went to commercial, “Oh, sorry, my tit’s out?” Whoops! We see what you did there, Miley.
Miley is so aware what the public thinks about her, and she knows how little she cares, that she’s willing to caricature herself on national television just to make the point that she, in layman’s terms, gives no f*cks. Her final performance is the most concrete evidence of this.
Miley organized an army of drag queens and sang her new song “Dooo It!”, an anthem to pot smoking with the lyrics, “Yeah, I smoke pot. / Yeah, I love peace / But I don’t give a f*ck / I ain’t no hippie.”
This song, if nothing else, is a direct address to her haters and critics and a declaration of independence from caring what other people think of her. Personally, I can’t wait to see what Miley-playing-Miley does again in the future, because if there’s one thing I know about her, it’s that she “won’t stop.”