Monday, September 01, 2014

Miley Cyrus' historic struggle struggles with history

Miley Cyrus almost has a point here:

Speaking on Australian TV show Sunday Night, the Wrecking Ball singer said: "Elvis, he wasn't wearing the outfits I was wearing, but he was coming out and he was doing like the OG twerking... Like, no one wants to admit that he was twerking, he was.

"He was like sex. He was a symbol of sex but no one would have ever called Elvis a shit because he wasn't a girl.

Cyrus continued to say that she believes she is helping to empower women in the music industry. She said: "It's that double standard and I think I'm doing something for the double standard."
Well, up to a point. For his time, Presley's gyrations were quite extreme, although I'm not sure 'rubbing your arse in the crotch of a man singing a song about how it's difficult to know when you're actually raping someone' is quite what you'd get if you multiplied Presley's pelvis by the social change of the last sixty years.

Leaving that aside, the very fact that Presley gave an interview to the Charlotte Observer in 1956 addressing how people, erm, attacked him for dancing all sexy on stage disproves Miley's claim:
“When I sang hymns back home with Mom and Pop I stood still and look like you feel when you sing a hymn,” Elvis told the Charlotte Observer in June 1956. “When I sing this rock and roll, my eyes won’t stay open and my legs won’t stand still. I don’t care what they say, it ain’t nasty."
But, oh boy, they called him nasty:
Another Christian condemnation of Elvis appeared in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel on April 13, 1957. In it a Rhode Island Roman Catholic bishop deplored “youth’s lionization of a ‘pelvic contortionist.’” Without mentioning Elvis’s name, Bishop Russell McVinney of Providence denounced rock ’n’ roll as “a musical fad which is leading its young devotees back to the jungle and animalism.” Referring to the unnamed ‘pelvic contortionist,’ Bishop McVinney stated that, “his stage antics are intended to arouse the lower instincts. Apparently he is succeeding.”
But why would Miley need to try and reach back to the dawn of rock and roll to uncover a double standard? She could, obviously, just point at how Robin Thicke got away with Blurred Lines. Although having shared a stage with him, that might be a more difficult front to open.

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