Oh Miley...won't someone think of the children?

If you reside in the west and have a penchant for pop culture, you'll be fully aware of the insane poorformance that went on at the MTV awards on Sunday. Not Lady Gaga doing her quick change cabaret routine but former child star, Miley Cyrus. If you've not yet witnessed the carnage, well you've got Google.

Now I'm no prude. I worked as a dominatrix for ten years and have seen things that'd make your eyelashes curl all by themselves but I found myself agog in front of my computer screen (much like Will Smith's family). I'm not going to do a step by step analysis through the many fails, far superior writers have done so here and here.

Miley has murdered her Hanna Montana persona in a rebellious, highly sexed fashion. Now I adore women who are sexually empowered but the whole things is uninformed, naïve and makes her look a victim of the viscous pop starlet money making machine (that are laughing all the way to the bank, as are MTV what with the heightened media attention) than someone in control of their sexuality. When Madonna pouted and rolled around on a barge in Venice in the 80s, there was a knowing look in her eye and her tongue firmly in her cheek (not hanging out like a gecko).

There are many young people out there who are yet unable to separate Hanna Montana (a character force fed to them through the evil masters of child manipulation, Disney) from Sexpot Cyrus. How are they supposed to view this?
Girls are already force fed by the media that appearance is of utmost importance where you must look like a plastic doll with perfect skin, hair, teeth, tits and vagina to be desirable. Miley's bypassing the inane facade and telling them to shove your lady parts into the misogynist crotch of someone twice your age and 'twerk'. Yeah, that'll get you attention.

I'd hate to come across as a Daily Mail reader but what of the parents that encourage their children into show business? I'm looking at those pushy stage Mums and Dads, living through their children, who hassle them to be a star through kiddy pageants, high endurance disco dance competitions and auditions for endless adverts, TV show and films. Yes there are some kids who love to perform and are destined for a life of showing off, but there have been enough reality shows and documentaries on this subject that show that most of these children just want to have fun and be kids.

Despite the plethora of child stars 'gone bad', it seems we still have yet to learn. Judy Garland, Britney Spears,
Macaulay Culkin , Drew Barrymore, Michael Jackson, Lindsay Lohan and now Justin Bieber have all had their falls from grace paraded before us. Growing up is tough as it is, having to work like an adult and do so in the glare of the public eye must be bloody terrifying. There must be a need to maintain the high that comes from mass attention, small wonder so many crack and drive off the cliff so to speak.
Parents who push their kids into this world need to take a look at themselves. Yes their offspring may look cute all dressed up but do you want to have a good relationship with your kids once they've flown the nest or a hot mess? Love them and let them be kids. All kids need and deserve love. Real love, not the fake love and adoration that fame brings.

Lets hope this event stirs up more mainstream discussion about the sexualisation of girls and how they are presented in the name of entertainment. This might just be the tipping point.
In the meantime, Lady Gaga is probably in her vessel, weeping into a baroque hanky made of Dodo skin that someone managed to upstage her so spectacularly.


Queens of Pop and misogynist queens

Queens of Pop, two gay brothers from Manchester of Youtube pop parodies and Smiffy's wigs, have withdrawn from Manchester Pride because of the furore surrounding their Will.I.Am parody video.
The offending video has since been removed but basically they changed the lyrics from his (frankly awful) song 'Bang Bang' to that of him being a massive homosexual and getting up to all kinds of gay naughtiness.
It wasn't the outing that caused the most offence (Will.I.Am, we all know love...) but that two caucasian boys blacked up in a Black & White Minstrel Show style with added jazz hands. They also implicate that all gay men have to offer the world is STDs and casual sex with the line “give all of the aliens AIDS”. We really don't need to reinforce this idea, the Daily Mail have that stereotype locked down.
I've had my eye on the Queens of Pop for a while and quite like their Girls Aloud video but they generally portray pop princesses as grotesque female stereotypes. Why not the same online ho-ha over that? There was no public petition or outcry for their Atomic Kitten parody (where they send up Kerry Katona as a drug addled mess). Why do we (and rightly) get so uppity and offended when someone ridicules race, but not gender? Is it because we've become accustomed to men in wigs being nasty about women that it has become an accepted norm?

While I respect the camp of trad drag (the tradition of a queen in a solid helmet wig, diamanté necklace and sequinned gown) unfortunately many have their view of women stuck in the 70s. I recently saw a show at one of the gay show bars in London where the established queen did karaoke for 40 minutes (not necessarily a bad thing) but the banter was painful and awkward. It all focused on cocks, naff sex talk and being hateful about lesbians. Again and again ad nauseum. I wasn't offended by the lesbophobia, it just wasn't funny. And dated, oh so dated.
This is my issue with the offending Queens of Pop video, it wasn't funny. I've no problem with offensive comedy, I adore Brass Eye for example. All comedy is based on someone or something being laughed at or mocked, but if you're covering a controversial subject, it needs to be smart, knowing and funny, not cheap unhelpful clichés that have been repeated endlessly.

Where does this culture of misogyny among trad drag come from? Is it because of their sexuality (frequently gay) that they are repulsed by women? Do they prefer to keep women at arms length as distant beings, without having to deal with the reality and unfamiliar nature of female biology? (FYI, despite looking like plastic sex dolls, all your favourite pop stars bleed. Oh the horror!?)

Misogyny is at the route of homophobia. It's no coincidence that as women have gained more strength and equality in the west, rights for queer people have improved. There is still a lot of work to be done in both camps but surely the whole point of drag is to champion strong, fabulous and incredible women, not deride them for a limp, tired laugh?
Whatever your relationship with women, we all came from a vagina, get over it.

Lets hope the Queens of Pop can learn from this incident and think a little more about the messages they are sending as they influence the next generation of drag.
And please invest in some decent makeup girls, you're (in)famous now.