When it comes to music, sex sells. Sex and music seem to go hand in hand, but when does it cross the line into just plain awkward?
Draped in a wedding dress, Madonna, the queen of sexual controversy, shocked the crowds of the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) in 1984 with her unique rendition of “Like a Virgin.”
Jumping forward in time 29 years, we see Miley Cyrus making another sexual statement at the VMAs, dressed in a latex bikini, caressing herself and singer Robin Thicke with a foam finger.
Cyrus told reporters regarding her performance, “Madonna’s done it. Britney’s done it. Every VMA performance that’s what you’re looking for; you’re wanting to make history.”
Madonna had a bad girl reputation that included playing with Catholic iconography like marriage, crucifixes, and alters to express her Catholic upbringing, while at the same time infuriating the Catholic Church.
Cyrus seems to be experimenting with nudity and a party-girl persona to combat the character she played as the lead on the Disney Channel children’s show “Hannah Montana.”
While Madonna inspired teenagers to stand up for themselves and express themselves through fashion, Cyrus has inspired teens to objectify their bodies for attention and that dangerous drugs are the way to have a good time.
“I would choose letting my kids watch a Madonna video over Miley Cyrus any day of the week,” UVM alumna Tennyson Cox said.
It seems Cyrus has put so much emphasis on making a statement that she forgot that she inspires a large group of young women who have been following her since her start on “Hannah Montana.”
For Cyrus to top Madonna and make a name for herself, she had to cross the line between the current version of tasteful and what makes the viewer uncomfortable.
Through lyrics like those in her track “Dancing with Molly,” Cyrus is condoning the use of a drug that is dangerously popular in her fan base.
This separates her from other musicians, like Lady Gaga, who try to make a statement that encourages positive qualities in today’s youth.
With all of the negative backlash from her VMA performance and two proceeding music videos, Cyrus has achieved her goal of making music history, though it comes at the price of her previously decent reputation.
While she lacks the inspiring quality of Madonna, they are both testaments to the fact that sex really does sell.