Press Line Photos/Splash News Online
Alex Heigl
November 20, 2015 01:00 PM

Miley Cyrus kicked off her Dead Petz tour in Chicago on Thursday with an outfit that, well, not so much defies description as it violently assaults description with an improvised weapon before discarding the body in the East River.

Thigh-high silver boots, an S&M bondage top with included prosthetic breasts, a huge purple wig that vaguely resembled David Bowie’s hair in Labyrinth and, lest we forget, a massive, spiraled strap-on.

Pause.

Now, this is largely par for the course for Miley. Do you remember at her VMAs closing performance when she detonated a glitter cannon between her legs? This is all just Miley being Miley. At one point, she also just wore a giant smiling sun as a dress and a top that was simply a pair of massive letters spelling “Do.”

But what’s interesting about that first outfit is the lineage she’s placing herself in by choosing to wear that thing. It’s possibly a nod to the tradition of “packing” by female-to-male transgender people, which is, well what it sounds like: Putting something down your pants to give the illusion of having male genitals.

Lady Gaga famously stuffed her pants when she appeared as her drag king alter ego Jo Calderone at the 2011 VMAs, and at one point appeared on the cover of Q wearing a strap-on.

Before Gaga, however, there was Peaches. The consistently boundary-pressing singer and rapper, whose songs you may recognize from Mean Girls, the second Jackass movie or even Lost in Translation, is famous for confronting gender norms with her music and performances, frequently appearing onstage in little more than hot pants, a bra and a strap-on.

And as far as 2015 goes, Miley’s even later to the prosthetic-junk party than Grace Jones, who performed at the Hollywood Bowl in October wearing a tribal-pattern strap-on and, well, little else.

So as it turns out, Miley’s following in some pretty big footsteps. But given that this was just the first stop of her tour, she’s probably going to up the ante as things go on. We can’t wait.

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