A couple of weeks ago the world was up in arms over Miley Cyrus' VMAs performance. All that tongue-wagging, crotch-rubbing, nude-bikini-wearing stuff seemed to alarm the fuck out of a great many people. We understand why, of course, but we couldn't -- and can't -- fathom why it was such a huge surprise. Anyone who'd seen the video for "We Can't Stop" beforehand (and it has been viewed on YouTube more than 187 million times at this point) would see that MTV's stage was just used as an extension of that already-very-popular clip. And, aside from the obvious cultural appropriation problems, and poor execution of the twerk, we rather liked that video.
This week, however, Ms. Cyrus debuted her new video for "Wrecking Ball," and gave us something to be truly, deeply horrified by. Behold: one of the worst videos ever made:
Having just watched that, we understand that you now immediately want to go and wash your eyes out with salt water. But stay with us for a moment while we run through the five reasons the "Wrecking Ball" video makes us 100 times more uncomfortable than Miley Cyrus' VMAs performance.
1. Nude Bikini vs. Actual Nudity
Miley's actual outfit at the VMAs was that weird furry-bear-face, rave-looking thing. When she stripped down to the "nude" bikini and put that infamous foam finger on, she was nodding to Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" clip (which is seven different kinds of sexist btw). Miley was playing along and poking fun at Thicke's video -- if anything, her weird flesh-colored outfit was funny. In "Wrecking Ball" though, she's actually legit naked and trying to be serious-face-sexy. Which, because we've seen Miley Cyrus grow up in real-time, feels a little bit like accidentally walking in on your cousin in the shower... and then having them hit on you.
2. The Fun Factor
Here's the thing about Miley's VMAs performance: girl looked like she was having a stupid-good time -- just a ridiculous amount of fun. It's interesting that, year after year, young women being sexually submissive on stage is part and parcel of the pop industry (see: Rihanna, Britney back in the day etc.), but if you rub your crotch while pulling "ugly faces" and thrusting like a horny dog, then
"Wrecking Ball" is so darn icky because its scenes of Miley naked and riding a giant ball are intercut with scenes of Miley crying. Watching this video feels a bit like going to a strip club, leering at the dancers for a couple of hours, then popping backstage afterward to try and paw at the sad ones. Gross.3. Cartoon Sexiness vs. Overwrought Sexual Imagery
We couldn't have envisioned a couple of weeks ago that Miley Cyrus would ever perform a less subtle implied sex act than when she stuck that foam finger between her legs and thrust at the VMAs' audience, like an over-caffeinated flasher on a train. Oh how wrong we were. What "Wrecking Ball" gives us -- in a series of incredibly cringe-worthy shots -- are images of Miley Cyrus making out with a sledgehammer. Licking an actual hammer
. And then lying around spread-eagle with it afterwards. Real subtle, you guys.4. Terry Goddamn Richardson
Did anybody in the Miley Cyrus camp bother to research Terry Richardson at all before hiring him to be the director of "Wrecking Ball"? This dude already has a major reputation for being one of the creepiest photographers in the fashion biz -- not just because of his love for photographing young women in poses that sometimes sexualize childhood, but also because of his fondness for allegedly conducting shoots while completely naked and waving his cock around
. It's one thing leaving him in a room with (the very empowered) Lady Gaga while she acts out some stripper fantasies
, but leaving him to direct a video for a young woman who clearly still hasn't figured out quite how to express her post-teen sexual awakening is a goddamn recipe for disaster. If Terry had directed Miley's VMAs performance, it's reasonably likely that an actual blow job would've been involved. 5. Sheer Imagination
At the VMAs, Miley performed a song about living young and free and partying unabashedly. To illustrate her point, she surrounded herself with giant teddy bears, twerking girls and large-buttocked ladies throwing candy at the audience. Here, she's singing a song titled "Wrecking Ball." So she sits on a wrecking ball. And wrecks some walls. Literal much?