Where Have All The Heroines Gone: Are Women Liberated or Liabilities?
I might be a bit slow on the uptake here, but I’m going to go ahead and put out this post regardless. My sisters and I watched the MTV Video Music Awards on Tuesday, and within the first half hour, were all sat speechless on the sofa, our mouths gaping and our minds frantically trying to recall the days of a young Miley Cyrus singing ‘Best of Both Worlds’ in her blonde wig.
My youngest sister is only 11, and consequently belongs to the generation of children who grew up watching Hannah Montana repeats every evening after school. And now here she was, prancing about the stage in her underwear, grinding up against Robin Thicke, who, it’s worth noting, was fully clothed.
Round 1: Miley vs Hannah
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging Cyrus. I just think it’s very sad that the last thing anyone noticed amongst her twirking and hip thrusting was her beautiful voice. I’m actually a bit confused about what it all means. Most blogs on this, (and there have been a lot), have ridiculed Cyrus and the music industry for the desperately sexist attitude demonstrated on stage. Hadley Freeman wrote in The Guardian about the racist and backwards nature of the supposedly modern musical performances we regularly witness.
Liberation or an Explicit Plea for Acceptance?
I’m all for female liberation, and if Cyrus wants to shake her bum cheeks on stage then that’s all well and good. But I actually don’t think she wants to, as such. It’s more likely that she feels she needs to if she wants to appear mature and confident. I took Cyrus’ performance of ‘Blurred Lines’ at the VMA’s to be a final severing of ties between Miley and Hannah, (much to the disappointment of little girls world-wide). It’s a shame that this talented singer, amongst so many others, seems to believe that sexuality is the key to maturity and popularity.
Where did the Heroines go?
This issue is also encountered in a lot of adult fiction. There just aren’t any heroin’s anymore. Anastasia Steele, along with her inspiration Bella Swan, is a dull blank with no personality, and yet we all read and relished every word of Fifty Shades of Gray. What is it about women that makes us believe we can only be accepted as sexually explicit damsels in distress?
We need more Katniss Everdeen’s, more Lyra Belacqua’s and more Sephy Hadley’s. Jaqueline Wilson’s protagonists are frequently strong, independent females, the most famous of which would be the sassy Tracy Beaker. It just strikes me as interesting that these ballsy heroines only exist within the fantastical world of children’s literature.