I may be a little late on the pro-Miley/anti-Miley dilemma, but I wanted to see how it was gonna play out (and wind down).
From the few interviews and articles I’ve read about her and her career I feel that many journalists who inteviewed her just assumed that she was an adult who had grown-up opinions and therefore they thought they could agree with or challenge them accordingly.
“She says she the “biggest feminist in the world”, but is she?”
“She has a pretty particular opinion on what black culture is!!!”
“Sexual awakening, tell us all about it, deary!”
All these considerations, and many more, come from this and this articles. What interviewers often forget to mention is that Cyrus is, in the end, a 26 year old singer and actress who has been exposed to a very exciting and modern artistic world, but who also lacks some very basic education. This is a kid who pursued a career in music and acting and dropped out of school -from what she says and from the fact that her father happily agreed to her dedicating her childhood to it- it seems that there could be a few things that she could actually sit down and learn. By saying this I don’t mean to disreagard those who don’t have a formal education, but if you want to be/are a role model you have to now what you are talking about, and it better be a little more detailed than “all you need to know in life -for dummies”.
So why on earth do we keep asking her questions that she can’t possibly have an answer to and expect her to give us a pearl of wisdom? Black culture? Feminism? Bring it on! She has to pick up what’s hot, make up her own opinion about it (better if controversial) and then let the world know. This is what she does and this is what she’s being inteviewed for.
Because ignorant people are easier to make fun of. And even when the interviewer keeps a straight face and publishes the interview on reputable magazines like Elle or Cosmo, they are secretly smiling at Miley’s naivete.
In my grandmother’s village there was a man who woke up every monday before dawn and went to the city market, bought 100 kilos of potatoes for 100 liras a kilo and then took them to his village and sold them for 95 liras a kilo. When my grandma pointed out that he was losing money he smiled at her with a knowing look and whispered “If I sell at 95 liras people won’t go to the market and buy from me, so I finish all my stock before next week and I don’t waste money on left overs!”. Pointless to say that he was actually losing 500 liras every week coz he felt the luckiest man in the village since he had no unsold stock.
Of course he was the village fool and everyone laughed about him. But this is really no different; actually, this is worse because it’s cruel. It’s like “let’s go and ask an ignorant and spoilt girl who will be forgotten in two years time what she thinks of feminism!”.
I don’t particularly like her (on the other hand I strongly dislike her father, who allowed all this to happen, as much as I dislike all the parents that hope that for their children instead of something that actually entails them using their brains) but the bottom line is that Miley might be rich and famous and have everything that we secretly wish we had (I certainly wish I made enough money to save some!) but, really she’s a victim of a system. Miley, like many other, is nothing other that the product and the victim of consumerism. We will criticize her, we will secretely listen to “wrecking ball” (because in the end it’s not a horrible song) and we will dispose of her as we have disposed of many. Unfortunately often more of female young artists than male ones.
About feminism… it’s true, she is a little confused about what it is (she clearly skim read a selection of press clippings…), but my question to those who criticize her performances and outfits is: isn’t this what we are fighting for? Feminism is also about women not being objectified for what they wear. Shoshanna Roberts walked around New York for ten hours and got cat-called 100 times (101 if you add the Fox News presenter… idiot…) exposing a culture that implies that it’s ok for men to objetify women. I think her project was awesome and that it really was a wake up call for many, but feminism is also, or in my opinion it should be, about being free to use your body as you wish. Shoshanna was harassed in broad daylight by strangers whom she hadn’t provoked or led on.
Miley WANTS that attention and cherishes it. But the point is that feminism is not a club with strict membership requirements, we have a hard enough time fighting against the women who don’t believe in feminism, let’s try and not lose those who might be a little confused but are fundamentally on our side!
What I really wished Miley has said when confronted with the tongue-out signature move, or the twerking or the outfits can me summarized in five words: “I do it for me”. And that would have shut everyone up.