Last night at the Teen Choice Awards, Miley Cyrus delivered her latest single "Party in the U.S.A." in an elaborately-staged performance that featured a "blinged-out trailer," "redneck" dancers and a now-infamous stripper pole. Disney has already distanced itself from Cyrus' appearance on the show (which taped Sunday but aired last night).
But the introduction of a stripper pole doesn't always mean that the girl is headed down a seedier path. In fact, she's in relatively excellent company when it comes to pole dancing in music videos. Britney Spears hit the pole in the video for her comeback hit "Gimme More," and while Madonna didn't hit the stage in the video for one of her many reinvention singles "Music," she did spend some quality time at a strip club (with Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G, no less).
In fact, there's no shortage of video clips that explore the art of pole dancing. What about Aerosmith's "Crazy," which featured a twirling tease care of Liv Tyler? Or Juvenile's "Rodeo," which takes a sensitive look at the women behind the poles in your average nudie bar. (Check out the complete "Pole Dancing Playlist" here.)
With the mainstreaming of burlesque and the evolution of stripping as a way to make aerobics more interesting, the introduction of a stripper pole doesn't necessarily mean that Cyrus is going to start taking her gear off and diving headlong into uncomfortable sexuality the way that some of her contemporaries have. Or rather, as Wyclef once sang, "Just 'cause she dances go-go/ It don't make her a ho, no." You certainly don't want your 10-year-old daughter swinging around a stripper pole, but is it any worse than letting them sing along to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" on the Internet?