Getting shared around social media is Matt Walsh’s hugely popular blog post response to the Miley Cyrus twerking incident.
The article brings up a good point. It is what feminists have been saying for years – that we need to stop victim-blaming women who are raped, and start educating young men and boys, as well as girls.
But what interests me as much as the whole cultural phenomenon of the 20 year-old Miley Cyrus grinding her ass against Robin Thicke’s genitals, is one sentence in Matt Walsh’s post. He feels the need to preface his remark by saying “I’m no feminist.” His article denounces a culture that continues to victimize women, and yet he feels he must divorce himself from feminism, whose whole essence is the study of this phenomenon. Such a pity that Walsh doesn’t want to be called a feminist even though he is one. One of my grade 11 students wrote. “Feminism is the radical notion that all people are equal.” She’s right, of course.
I’ve seen Walsh’s feminist denial before, many times, and it worries me that society is so prejudiced against feminism that writers feel the need to divorce themselves from it to be credible. Having read more than a few feminist publications, I can only conclude that feminism is so greatly feared because it threatens our belief in a tidy white bread Disney world. It recognizes the ugly underbelly of a society that has hushed up rape and domestic abuse – a society that expects women to shut up and put out (and while you’re at it, do the dishes and laundry).
It’s strange to me that while all of the intellectual studies, including psychology, philosophy, biology and economics, challenge our cultural notions, feminism is the one that is most opposed. No one is ever ashamed to be called an economist or a psychologist, but even someone as progressive as Matt Walsh divorces himself from feminism.
And as for Miley Cyrus, I actually feel pity for her – that she felt compelled to debase herself on stage. It’s not just the sexual gyrations (Sex-as-art, though controversial is only controversial in the context of a culture that heavily moralizes sexuality.), but Cyrus’ stunt seemed poorly choreographed and, well… pathetic. Remember that Cyrus was a Disney Virgin – a kid that was groomed by Disney to be a pop-star role model for little girls in a silly world where good girls are dangled as sexual objects, but don’t actually have sex. I imagine that she sees raunchy antics as a way out. Well, she certainly feels the whole weight of her culture’s expectations on her now. I don’t envy her.