I feel like I’ve been writing nonstop for the last three days, so this post is going to be a goddamn WALK IN THE PARK.
The VMAs were last night. I literally gagged on her eleganza when I saw on Tumblr that Violet Chachki—the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7—was there, and she is now the background picture of my laptop. To pay homage to other idols of mine, my lock screen is Gigi Gorgeous and my home screen is my husband Nick Jonas. They’re all so beautiful I could die.
Later on, when Miley Cyrus performed with a coterie of drag queens—
Side bar, I love the word “coterie.”
—I kept pausing to scan the faces and find my favorite drag queens. Pearl was there. And I saw Willam Belli’s full-on asscheeks. It was such a moment for the whole community. AND the Happy Hippie campaign people introduced Miley, which makes Gigi’s presence there a lot more understandable, but also Brendan Jordan was there in a stunning off-the-shoulder top.
I really enjoyed the drag queens and the Happy Hippie people, but I felt like they were used as props a little bit by Miley. Her performance was weird as hell, and not in a good way. I almost would’ve preferred—actually, definitely—if the drag queens just performed by themselves. Like, they just acted as jumped-up backup dancers for her. They are titans of performance. The whole thing just seemed like a victory lap for Miley, who has been very problematic lately.
Before and during the release of the Bangerz album, which I loved, Miley amped up the sexuality and the nudity, but it seemed to have a purpose. She was making a statement about how we view women and how we view artists. She was pointing out the underlying misogyny in her industry. It all made sense, in a roundabout way.
But right now I don’t really know what Miley is doing. On Jimmy Kimmel, when he was blushing like a fourteen-year-old as she was only wearing a cape and pasties, she made the point that boobs were okay to show on television but the female nipples were something to be censored. It’s a really interesting point and shows how we still sexualize women’s bodies and take away their autonomy while also expecting them to police themselves so as to avoid stirring men’s lusts.
She’s smart and aware, but I can’t understand the dreadlocks. I don’t know the full history of dreadlocks, and I’m white, so I can’t speak fully about it, but it seems like cultural appropriation at its finest. And when Nicki called her out during her time at the mike—I died—Miley answered with a blasé tone about her.
And it goes right back to the Amandla Stenberg—Kylie Jenner situation. White women appropriating black culture are seen as “hip” and “on-trend,” but black women are penalized for utilizing the same aesthetics. And even as I’m googling Nicki’s name, all of the photos for the articles are Nicki growling, face contorted, at a ditzy, smiling Miley.
Black women who speak out, like Amandla and Nicki, are painted as the Angry Black Woman, which then allows media to brush them aside as “overreacting.” Even as I Googled Amandla’s name to find an appropriate article to link, there was an article about Amandla’s “feud” with Kylie Jenner. Amandla was pointing out Kylie’s cultural appropriation; she wasn’t slinging mud in the middle school playground. She is eloquent and aware, but classified as “feuding” and “angry” and a “jackhole,” according to Andy Cohen (who has since apologized, but it still happened).
I don’t know everything about Nicki and Miley and Taylor, but I feel like Miley is not understanding fundamental things about why Nicki Minaj might be upset. The reason Nicki lashed out at Miley is because Miley believed Nicki was wrong in the great Nicki-Taylor Twitter-feud, and was “Nicki should be more polite. It’s all about openness and love,” and that is so fucking frustrating because, I’m not black, but I can imagine that it must be frustrating to be a woman of color in the entertainment industry who is sexualized and demeaned and forced to watch as a white woman gathers laureates of praise continuously, when you’re both equally successful.
Miley’s answer betrays her privilege because she was born in a world where she was given the option of being nice and polite and open. Nicki had to fight for her place in the industry, and she’s allowed to be angry at the system that continually puts her down. Ugh, I don’t understand enough of this to really be eloquent but it just sucks and Miley is really annoying me right now.
This post wasn’t meant to be a rant about Miley Cyrus, so I’m going to change topics.
Because I’ve been stockpiling posts that will be scheduled to post for the first few weeks I’m in London, I’ve been writing a lot and it’s very emotionally draining. Firstly, it’s hard to think of things to write about because I’m always inside my house—so zero inspiration—and my life is not that interesting. But I’m trying to get the first month—ish—done so that I have regular content for Mondays and Thursdays and I can feel unencumbered to write about London when I want, without scrambling for a full-fleshed post.
Also I have been saving this gif for three days because it very much describes my life right now. Also because Diane Keaton!
That is all—omg, Meryl Streep.