Neither Merriam Webster nor Dictionary.com list twerking as a word. In their eyes, it doesn’t exist.
Oxford Dictionary, on the other hand, recently added it to its catalog last month. It defines twerking as: “Dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.”
Urban Dictionary, which probably should have been the first place I checked, defines it as: “the act of moving/shaking ones ass/buns/bottom/buttocks/bum-bum in a circular, up-and-down, and side-to-side motion.”
Let me begin by saying it’s appalling that the Oxford Dictionary has sunk low enough to include this word. Our language is precious. It’s mysterious. It has its quirks and oddities, sure, but beyond that, there’s also some resplendent words like sesquipedalian, abyssopelagic, and flibbertigibbet. And now, according to Oxford, twerking is among them.
How did this happen?
The easy answer is to blame Miley Cyrus. However, I refuse to believe that she is capable of creating a word in the English language. One can make the strong argument that she popularized the word, and I think that is true. But not created it.
And I’m not questioning the actual act of twerking. I know this provocative form of dancing has existed for a long time. I saw it every night in college. On lucky nights when I had my A-game going, I was even the beneficiary of it. In fact — from what I remember back in my day — it was called “grinding.” I had never even heard the word twerking before this year.
It’s the actual linguistics of this term that annoys me. Normally a word’s diction fits what it is, or what it is describing. But twerking sounds like some sadomasochist act that occurs in the private room of some cult gathering.
Can we just all stop saying it? Can we rid it from the world? It seems like the word only comes up anyway when people try to express how much they hate it, so why don’t we just pretend it never existed?
My hope is that it’s just one of those things that became popular very quickly, and will go away equally as quickly. I know it received a boost from the Worst Twerk Fail Ever video, which, as it turned out, was a hoax orchestrated by Jimmy Kimmel.
That video, for those who have seen it, was a social experiment conducted by Kimmel: he and his Jimmy Kimmel Live crew hired a stunt girl to be the clumsy twerker, and then posted it online under a fake username without advertising, promoting or Tweeting about it. In two months, it got 9 million views, and several mentions on news stations.
If that doesn’t tell you the great power that twerking has right now, nothing does.
Hopefully, Kimmel’s revelation will put an end to this abominable fad.
Another word that I’ve heard more times than I ever needed to is “ratchet.” Apparently — again, according to Urban Dictionary — it’s meant to define a girl who thinks she is a diva, but really isn’t.
In essence, it’s just another bullshit word that describes Miley Cyrus.
You know what? When we eliminate those words, can Miley go with them? I’ve held off on devoting a blog post solely to her, because I feel that doing so would give her the attention she so desperately craves. And if you don’t think she desires attention after seeing her VMA performance and new video for Wrecking Ball, in which she is naked at one point, then you are delusional.
Somehow though, Miley remains more popular than ever. That Wrecking Ball video has more than 51 million views in two days, her song “We Can’t Stop” is currently #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it was announced this week that she will be both hosting and performing on Saturday Night Live’s second episode this year on Oct. 5.
Again, how is this happening? The general consensus makes it seem like Miley Cyrus is universally hated, and yet, she’s still everywhere.
I’d say that she has gone the Amanda Bynes route with her downward plunge, but I think that Amanda Bynes is legitimately batshit crazy. Miley, on the other hand, knows exactly what she’s doing. She just doesn’t give a shit.
And who is the loser here? The children of America.
I thank my lucky starts every single day that I grew up in an era full of quality musicians, who, for the most part, were also good role models.
But this generation doesn’t stand a chance. In first grade classes, the word “twerking” will be flashed across index cards, and used on spelling tests.
God help us.