“We’re in 2013. I live in America, The Land Of The Free, and if you can’t express yourself, you’re not very free.”
Ever since this year’s VMAs, perhaps before, even, people have been griping about Miley Ray Cyrus’ new image—her “movement” or “phase,” as some have labeled it, such as Mika Brzezinski (@MorningMika) of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show. On Cyrus’ VMA performance, Brzezinski said:
“I think that was really, really disturbing. That young lady, who is 20, is obviously deeply troubled, deeply disturbed. Probably has confidence issues, probably an eating disorder. And I don’t think anybody should have put her up on stage. That was disgusting.”
Cyrus is obviously deeply troubled? And she probably has an eating disorder? One person strays from the social norm and suddenly everyone in America has a doctorate in Psychology. (By the way, Mika, your last name probably isn’t even real.)
Another naysayer (and likely racist), Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, casually uses Cyrus’ new image to segue into his column discussing a rape case:
“She’s a cheap act, no doubt about it, but for me her performance was an opportunity to discuss one of the summer’s most arresting pieces of journalism — a long New Yorker account of what became known as the ‘Steubenville Rape.’ Cyrus should read it.”
So apparently Miley Cyrus’ new image/movement/what-have-you is perpetuating the objectification of women in America according to further discourse from Cohen, among others. Yeah, hey! Shame on you, Miley, for disregarding traditional standards of how females should look and act, in turn causing us men to rape and mistreat your gender! #SaudiArabiaLogic
Now let’s take a step back and talk about Cyrus’ recent media attention, along with her television special “Miley: The Movement,” which premiered last night on MTV.
Chronicling the four-month long recording of Bangerz, all the way up to her notorious VMA performance, the hour-long special gives a candid look into the life of the Miley Cyrus of today; the Miley Cyrus that one would be a fool to try and dress up like the Disney character she had began portraying seven years ago at age 13.
Is that the issue so many people as of late have been having with Cyrus? I’m looking at you, bitchy soccer moms. Cyrus was once a role model to little kids across the nation, so shall she remain that same role model to the same little kids? Call me crazy, but seems like maybe your kids should have matured at more or less the same rate by now. Guess that’s what you get for opting to breastfeed them until age four.
Comparing anyone roughly Cyrus’ age back to their 13-year-old selves would shock you. Personally, I had never kissed a girl, had zero hair on my body save for a bowl cut up top, and insisted I wouldn’t drink until I was 26, because “that’s the age at which your body has developed to the point where the enzymes can safely process it.” If you then go ahead and give me the Miley Cyrus examination relative to age 13, I’m a hairy, alcoholic, junkie man-whore today! (Okay, “alcoholic” still might have earned its place.)
“There’s something about watching people grow up. People get a connection, they feel like they really know you and get really entitled … Most people don’t have their kid photos put up and then [people are] like, ‘She changed.’ Well, yeah!”
But honestly, I think the majority of Cyrus’ negative feedback arises not from the sense that she’s no longer a “good girl.” I think it arises through the massively unsettling fault line that is best identified as change. It’s not so much that Miley Cyrus’ otherwise refreshing antics are easily hated and thus written off as being “just a phase,” it’s simply that they are different; they changed.
“I’m the same human, I’ve got the same heart I had five years ago,” she says. “All the things about me are the same — same skin, same human — so it’s not a transition. It’s a movement, it’s a growth, it’s a change.”
It’s the same thing that’s got to happen for any healthy human being. Like Charles Darwin said, “Either change and adapt, or fucking die.” Well, the cussing was implied, anyway. In Cyrus’ case, mix in a little bit of a forced, false image from her younger days, pair it with a music industry where thrift shop fur skins is the norm, and obviously simply holding a foam finger isn’t going to give a satisfactory sense of individuality.
I think the general population of America can benefit from Cyrus’ example. With fear of sounding cliché, if we could all just act how we wanted to and say “fuck you if you don’t like me,” we’d be a lot happier.
“We’ve been laughing about all the news because everyone else is so serious. It’s great. Because I’m sitting here laughing, meanwhile you guys are all worked up and frazzled. I’m chillin’. I’m on to the next one.”
Speaking of “On To The Next One,” when Jay-Z approves, you’re doing something right:
Contrary to how several media pundits tried spinning it, Jay-Z was praising Cyrus when he said she represented an old world’s “worst nightmare.”
You can either embrace Miley’s movement, or you can fail miserably trying to stop it. Sure, America loves the safety and comfort that comes with the average and typical, but when new and outlandish things are talked about this much, they don’t often remain new and outlandish for long. Remember when that “homophobe” Eminem performed with outspoken gay musician Elton John, despite overwhelming protest? Or when Madonna and Britney Spears kissed onstage? Yep, both at the VMAs, and both infamous in their own right at the time.
As for you, Miley Ray Cyrus, keep on making the right people happy and the wrong people upset. After all, I don’t know if there’s anything more American than that first quote:
“We’re in 2013. I live in America The Land Of The Free and if you can’t express yourself, you’re not very free.”
Twerk, Miley. Twerk.