(1) I recognize that many believe that the Steubenville Rape matter technically didn't involve rape. I recognize that the story of what happened is complicated, and I recognize (although I don't agree) that some feel that the "rapists" are now the victims. I know there are two sides of the story, even though I'm fairly sure that one side is blatently wrong.
(2) But I'm pretty sure Miley Cyrus wasn't responsible for any of it, Richard.
Yup, it's Richard Cohen making a connection — improbable and strained as it is — between the Steubenville "rape" and Miley Cyrus at the VMAs:
So now back to Miley Cyrus and her twerking. I run the risk of old-fogeyness for suggesting the girl’s a tasteless twit — especially that bit with the foam finger. (Look it up, if you must.) But let me also suggest that acts such as hers not only objectify women but debase them. They encourage a teenage culture that has set the women’s movement back on its heels. What is being celebrated is not sexuality but sexual exploitation, a mean casualness that deprives intimacy of all intimacy.
I'll try to forgive Richard because he is, after all, exactly the old fogey he purports to be. But what Richard is doing is slut-shaming Miley — i.e., telling her that she has transgressed the code of acceptable sexual behavior. And then cheeses me off a little.
Miley's performance is rightfully being condemned because it was bad. It was a poor performance, and not terribly sexy (to most people). There's a difference between condemning a performance because it exhibited unacceptable sexual behavior, and what Miley did. I didn't find what Miley did to be a transgression of some social mores — I just thought it was embarrassingly bad, creepishly self-involved, and squeamishly derivative of those who did it before and did it better. It read "let's shock and make history" without giving a concern for being, you know, good or entertaining.
But vile as it was, taking what she did and holding it up as the culprit in a rape case (and Richard, it WAS a rape — there was a trial and everything) — well, that's just ridiculous. And offensive. First you blame the victim, and then you blame — yes, I find this incredible — Miley Cyrus.
How about the boys?