I was in Miley Cyrus’ 2013 VMA performance as one of the background bears. I had never done anything in a costume with a mask like that before. I mean, I dressed up as a Pink Power Ranger when I was in Kindergarten and I had a mask on but, I digress… I had never been in a performance where I was purely meant to be gawked or laughed at. I will never forget that performance because it is what forced me to draw my personal line in the sand. After our first dress rehearsal in the costumes with the crew, publicists, performers etc watching us, I walked out of the Barclay Center shaking and crying. Thankfully, my best friends, Kelly and Kerri, happened to be NYC to visit me. They were waiting for me and I walked up to them and broke down. I love being the center of attention, but that was something different. I was being stared and laughed at for all of the wrong reasons. I was being looked at as a prop … as something less than human.
One of the women who was a backup dancer during Miley Cyrus’ MTV VMAs performance — as a bear — wrote about the less-than-inspiring experience for her blog. The woman, whose name I haven’t yet figured out, is a little person (LP is the shorthand she uses in the post) and she explains that up until the day of the performance, she didn’t know what she would be dancing to or as, and that that after what she found to be a dehumanizing experience, she’ll no longer take gigs like this. She continues:
I am not “hating on” the people who are currently doing this, or the little people who decide to do performances in a similar vein. That’s what is so lovely about our world. You are free to do whatever the hell you want to do. … I am simply explaining why I do not do this kind of performance or behavior. If the little person community continues to do performances like this, it is my belief that we will continue to only receive maybe 2% of the auditions and opportunities of our average sized friends. Society will think we’re OK with being laughed at because we still continue to do things that allow them to laugh at us or look at us as props.
The whole post is well worth a read. Hopefully Miley won’t write this woman off as just another hater and will consider her words too. [Holliseum]