Apparently Robin Thicke missed the memo regarding what the nature of his VMA performance with Miley Cyrus would be. He claims that he was surprised when Cyrus started twerking against his groin during their onstage performance at the awards show. “That’s all on her,” he said in an Oprah interview, “I’m just twerked upon.”
Miley Cyrus tells a different story. “He was in rehearsal as much as I was and loving it, people,” she told Ellen in an interview of her own.
It is very likely that he was instrumental in the preparation for the stage performance of his own song. With Miley Cyrus bursting at the seams before the show, promising a historical appearance and catching loads of attention for twerking leading up to the event, it also seems unlikely that she played the twerking card close to the chest during practices.
Popular perceptions of Miley Cyrus and her hypersexual antics aside, Robin Thicke has not had the best track record this year regarding the respectful sexualization of women. Criticism over the video for his single, Blurred Lines, focused heavily on the degrading nature of the women presented. All the men were fully clothed, yet the women wore nude colored bikini bottoms with no tops.
While Cyrus didn’t go topless at the VMAs, she was in a nude bikini, harkening back to the video for the song in which he was performing. One has to ponder what purpose their collaboration served, if not to have her act in an extremely sexual nature during his song. Her performance was controversial in the exact same vein as his song, in that it made many feel like women were being disrespected.
Robin Thicke’s insistence that he was surprised by Miley Cyrus twerking at the VMAs is consistent with his previous lack of ownership regarding his actions and career moves. Examining Thicke’s behavior this year surrounding the making, release and backlash from, Blurred Lines, passing the buck off to Miley Cyrus is right on par with what should be expected of him.
When his song was criticized as “rapey,” he responding by saying that he had a great time disrespecting women. He claimed it was a nice change from all the time he had spent respecting them. He also insisted that the video was not disrespectful because his wife was largely responsible for its conceptualization.
Thicke’s choice to wash his hands of the controversy by offering Cyrus up as a sacrificial lamb is a bit slimey. He is literally putting all of the blame for a shared performance on her, and complaining of the backlash he has received, which is minimal compared to that which she has endured. Yet again, Thicke responds to the need to respect women with a complete lack of grace or ownership.
His choice to phrase his denials of involvement in the incident as something happened to him is evidence of his obliviousness. He is the one who released a song which many argue makes the message “no means yes” a catchy earworm. It seems a little odd to follow that up with a super raunchy performance which he supposedly didn’t consent to. It is just another example of his attempts to bolster his credibility by placing the onus on the women around him.
Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, has been making it a point to own her behavior lately, for better or worse. She has spoken candidly about many things including enjoying drugs and has refused to apologize for her VMA appearance. She is not trying to save face, while Thicke clearly is.
It is difficult to believe that Robin Thicke was truly surprised by the events at the VMAs when Miley Cyrus was at the height of her twerking craze before their collaboration and his song was so sexual in nature.
Written by: Vanessa Blanchard