In what has got to be by far the apex of the Miley Cyrus “twerking” commentary, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen says the singer’s MTV awards show performance made him think of the Steubenville, Ohio high school rape incident.
She’s a cheap act, no doubt about it, but for me her performance was an opportunity to discuss one of the summer’s most arresting pieces of journalism — a long New Yorker account of what became known as the Steubenville Rape. Cyrus should read it.
The first thing you should know about the so-called Steubenville Rape is that this was not a rape involving intercourse. The next thing you should know is that there weren’t many young men involved — just two were convicted.
Cohen says the New Yorker piece is mostly about the culture American teenagers are now growing up in, one that is “stupid, dirty and so incredibly and obliviously misogynistic.”
Twenty-year-old Cyrus’ bizarre twerking contributes to that culture, the same one that led to the sexual assault of a drunk 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, according to Cohen.
“[A]cts such as hers not only objectify women but debase them,” Cohen concludes. “They encourage a teenage culture that has set the women’s movement back on its heels.”
But really? Rape? Cyrus’ twerking helps fosters a culture that leads to rape?
As an aside, Cohen is also the venerable columnist who was able to relate to Huma Abedin and her decision to stay with her husband and New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner (D), even after he sent online sexual messages to multiple women.