The night I witnessed a UK twerking contest.
Yes you did read that right, I attended a twerking contest.
Now I’m not completely oblivious to popular culture and have watched Miley Cyrus twerk in her awful performance at the VMAs (a completely separate rant in itself). So I’m going to be bold and say I have a considerable understanding of what twerking actually is.
But to see it happening in front of me with girls volunteering to twerk in front of roughly two hundred people they most probably have never met in their lives was another thing altogether. Naturally (sarcasm fully intended) there were qualifying rounds where four girls went head to head to proceed into the final after which two would get to go through to the grand final in London.
Here’s what I thought of it in five relatively simple points:
How is this actually a thing? – Before the night I knew that twerking was a part of popular culture that had recently received a heap of media attention. But the fact that it had turned from something I’d seen on a YouTube video to a live competition where the future of our country stepped up to compete against one another seemed so ridiculously irrational.
People really volunteered – So there I was listening to the MC asking anyone who wanted to take part to come up to the stage and get ready for competition. After hearing this I was half expecting no one to walk up to the stage. Maybe my naivety had led me to believe that no girl would want to put herself up for show like that.
90% of people there absolutely loved it – Now fair enough, I was at a club night where the main attraction was a twerking contest so clearly people were there who actually liked that kind of thing whether it be through a contrived attachment that they’ve come to as a result of their music taste or purely the fact they wanted to see some girls put their bodies on show. But to actually stand there and see the vast majority of people cheer on and encourage these girls to twerk was something else.
Expression – Of course people are free to express themselves however much they like in whatever way they like, but surely a line has to be drawn somewhere? I understand that twerking is a dance move and like any other dance move it has its place, who knows maybe twerking will be the staple dance move in twenty years and earn its place amongst the Moonwalk and Hustle. But I sincerely hope not.
I actually found myself cheering – So it came to the decision making, and the crowd were asked to cheer for who they thought should go through and there I was cheering for the one girl who I thought I was the best even though I’d just spent the last half an hour shaking my head in disbelief. Whether it was a lapse in my disbelief or a clear showcase of how popular culture can take over I’m still deciding. Then came the moment where I actually felt as though it wasn’t all that bad. But I snapped back into reality upon the realisation that this girl I’m cheering for has a mother and father somewhere who, if they had seen what I’d seen, would not have been too happy.
All that said who am I to tell a group of people that what they quite clearly enjoy is silly, demeaning and quite simply worrying?