Yeah, I know, I know. Her outfits were bad, the singing and dancing were worse, the whole thing was a low point in what was already one of the worst VMA telecasts I’ve ever seen. Nothing about this felt good, and I’m not really dying to defend it. But still, does the takeaway here really need to be that the shape of Miley Cyrus’ ass looked funny?
Well, yes, according to Buzzfeed, which used an otherwise par-for-the-course list of “22 Things Miley Cyrus Looked Like At The 2013 VMA’s,” to compare one specific close-up of her butt to “Hank Hill’s Butt,” “the backend of a turkey,” and “an apple, specifically a red delicious” (that last one wasn’t meant as a compliment, to be clear). Even as a response to an act in which Cyrus pretty clearly wanted the entirety of America getting a long, hard look at her twerking, semi-nude body, this seems like a particularly low blow. Maybe not quite as low a blow as this other list Buzzfeed recommended to me as a follow-up read, in which Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan is compared to Rodney Dangerfield and William Howard Taft, but still, not great.
And not a huge surprise, for a show (and, I suppose, a culture) so used to to nearly naked female performers that after Britney Spears’ famously checked-out, worrisome 2007 VMA performance, the biggest cultural consensus seemed to be, “she got kind of fat.” Or in a media environment in which, less than 12 hours after her performance, Mika Brzezinski had gone on the air and concern trolled Cyrus as having an eating disorder. None of it’s surprising, necessarily, but out of any number of things one could consider legitimately unsettling about Cyrus’ performance last night—her continual blindness to the troubling racial appropriation of her own act, for one, or the fact that it just wasn’t that good—the shape of her ass isn’t one of them. Let’s go ahead and leave that out of this.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.