From the infamous MTV Video Music (insert joke about the last year the network played a music video) Award performance to her much talked about Rolling Stone cover to her mild, semi-funny appearance on Saturday Night Live that gave the show their highest ratings in 6 months in the 18-49 demographic, and it’s almost impossible not to run into anything Miley Cyrus-related. Just do a quick Google search, within seconds you’ll find out what Miley Cyrus is wearing (or not wearing), twerking or not twerking or doing anything that is well, pretty darn inappropriate.

Miley Cyrus-1It goes beyond the radical hair change, the new “stoner” fashion style, the giant foam-finger that was obviously a left over prop from her old Disney show. Over the course of the last four months, it has basically become Miley’s mission to make anyone and everyone uncomfortable.

She knows what she’s doing. Every Terry Richardson-led photo shoot, every profanity-filled cap lock-key-is-broken tweet, every negative comment made against those who her made her millions as a young teenager is a calculated move on Miley’s part to simply get people to talk, tweet, text, and blog about her. What’s actually leading the Miley movement is us. We can’t stop (grr…) thinking about her. That doesn’t mean she’s thinking of ‘us’, ‘us.’ Oh no. Miley is comfortable, actually reveling in, the haze of her hallucinogenic world where she struts her stuff, believes everything she does is ‘banging’ and there is simply nobody else to consider (besides Mike Will Made It-because if he didn’t ‘make it,’ there wouldn’t be a disturbing music video that features teddy bears as large backpacks and the exploitation of life-size Barbie dolls).

miley-wcsBut here’s the thing. There’s nothing original about what Miley is doing. She is not the first female artist to leave her girl next door image and bubblegum music behind. Britney did it with a snake around her neck, a kiss with the queen of pop, a quickie Vegas wedding that nearly tore her family apart and capped it off with swinging an umbrella around outside of a gas station. Christina did by being dirrty and pouring her heart out on a Grammy-award winning album. Mariah did it with a touch of class and some help from Bad Boy, circa 1997. I don’t know why it’s shocking to the public because simply put, we’ve seen it all before. Just a few more years until we see another former-Disney pop princess shed it all because somebody told her it will sell three million records during the holiday shopping season.

So if you’re not a fan of the Cyrus circus, I don’t blame you. If it makes you angry, don’t tweet her or the Smilers. Then you’ll have to brace yourself for an attack (we’re here for you, Sinead O’Connor). Don’t call your local radio station to complain because they’ll just follow your sound byte up with one of her three top 10 singles. If you want to find a way to avoid it, you must learn how not to feed the monster.

Think of this post as a cautionary tale. I wish you well.

Written with StackEdit.

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Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Thank you for saying this, because everyone else fails to acknowledge that this is just Britney in 2013. Yes, it’s racier, but isn’t everything nowadays? I’m pretty sure in Britney’s day had there been “twerking” she and Christina would’ve been doing it with little clothing on, especially somewhere where everyone would see such as the VMAs or a music video. The other difference is of course social media such as Twitter and Instagram that allow for the fast spread of images, drama, and fan attacks.

    Reply
    • Exactly–it’s all about the instantaneous reaction Cyrus (and others) can get from the public sphere. Long gone are the days where we have to wait until the evening news to replay an award show or a sporting event highlight- videos are captured and uploaded on YT within seconds of it happening. I do wonder about the longevity of these careers that are build on shock-and-awe moments heightened by social media.

      Reply
  2. Amanda Palmer wrote an open letter response to Sinead: http://amandapalmer.net/blog/20131003/

    My favorite part of it, and the part that changed my opinion:

    “You and I know it – being a female musician/rockstar/whatever is a pretty fucking impossible and mind-bendingly frustrating job. Our male counterparts are given a way wider playing field than we are. It’s a Chinese finger trap that reflects the basic problems of our women-times: we’re either scolded for looking sexy or we’re scolded for not playing the game. Those who manage to find a perfect balance are rare, and the culture at large seems hellbent on undermining our ability to create that balance peacefully within ourselves. And weirdly, it’s generally women scolding other women…we’re our own worst enemies.”

    Damn. I never looked at from that perspective. I don’t know who is pulling the puppet strings on Miley’s performances (if anyone). But all of my personal favorite artists make waves…Warhol, Morrissey, Hunter Thompson, Ginsburg…and they all seemed to be in on the joke. Maybe Miley is, too.

    Reply

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About Christina Maxwell

I’m a young professional journalist with a dual B.A. degree in Radio-TV-Film and Journalism and I am currently working on my M.A. in Writing, specializing in Journalism and New Media Studies (both at Rowan University). Although my advanced degree allows me to have options in the future, for now, my main goal is finding a job in journalism. I am a journalist at heart. First hand knowledge, original reporting and precisive answers are what I strive for when I'm working. For the past two years, I have done freelance reporting with the Gloucester Township Patch, but my goal is to have a sustainable, consistent job in journalism.

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participatory culture, social media

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