jessica tholmer
August 31, 2013 4:00 pm

The first time I remember hearing the word “twork” was in an Usher song called “Tworkin’ It Out” and the song (parental advisory warning here, please) is about making love all night long, and not so much about dancing.

But the Ying Yang Twins debuted in the year 2000, when times were so much more simple, and Miley Cyrus was only eight. (Yikes.) “Whistle While You Twurk” is an entirely inappropriate song that you may or may not still hear when you live in a small town and only have one dirty hip-hop club to choose from. If you watch the music video, you can see that these gentlemen have tons of ladies twe/urking to their sweet rhymes. Also, they have Super Soakers, so that’s cool too.

Let’s take it back even further, though.

Twerking is not an Internet sensation, nor did Cyrus invent it. Ever since that ridiculous “comeback” of the Harlem Shake last year, it seems that the history of these dance moves, as offensive as some people might find them, is lost on most of us. “Twerking” is more of a dance style than a particular move, and besides the inappropriateness of Cyrus’ VMA performance, there really ain’t nothing wrong with a little bump n’ grind.

I listen to a lot of hip-hop music, and I know I may be in the minority when it comes to this opinion, but I think dancing is not offensive, pretty much ever. I believe that anyway in which a person’s body moves to the music should be acceptable. As for Cyrus in particular, I didn’t love her shaking her child-like behind all over a man who could be her father (well, he technically could), but that’s not really twerkings fault! Any dance move Cyrus could have pulled out would have been shocking to the nation because her tongue was sticking out, and we aren’t used to her talking about molly yet. This performance, for our sweet little former Hannah Montana, was always going to be lose lose.

And I would also like to point out that I have heard almost nothing about Robin Thicke’s performance. Sure, he had on more clothing, but it was pretty skin tight for an almost 40 year old man. With a wife. And a kid. Why are we all criticizing Cyrus so harshly, yet we hear nothing about Thicke’s morality? But I digress for now.

But please, people, hate the player, don’t hate the game. Shaking your rump to music is an age-old tradition, and just because Cyrus is a young–dare I mention it?–white former Disney star does not mean she should have the power to make us all turn our noses up in disgust at dancing. This isn’t Footlooseand it is also 2013. Dancing is an art form, and regardless of whether or not you find twerking to be artistic, it is at least a form of expression.

That all being said, I think I officially hate the word “twerk,” and I vote we go back to just calling it what it is: gettin’ low. Or “grindin. Or windin’.

When I was in high school, “grinding” was outlawed at all major dances. I am an incredibly good girl with a strong moral compass and very few scandalous tendencies…though I literally have no idea how to dance “clean.” The way a person dances to music should never fall under such heavy criticism, in my opinion.

Discuss. Do you think it is ever okay to attempt to outlaw a style of dance, or judge a person based on their moves?

Featured image via bbelike.com, Ying Yang Twins image via djservicepack, Miley image via mirror.co.uk.

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