I considered calling this post “feminism, hip hop & Miley Cyrus” but Jay-Z’s lyrics from Somewhere in America are way better & a lot less dry. At first I thought maybe Jay-Z was taking a jibe at Miley; little ‘white girl’ trying to twerk to get internet hits. Instead, it suggests that hip hop culture is now the mainstream. Race, ethnicity, background, country matter not… Hip hop is king. I wish I could twerk. I wish I could rap. It’s all I really listen to. Hip hop, rap & trap. I’m not one for ‘the classics’ at all. Yuck. & sorry if that offends anyone, it’s just not my style in any which way. This post isn’t really to discuss the rap game & where Miley fits into it. Or even her penchant for “twerking” (Miley I love you but what a pitiful attempt. I can’t twerk. So, importantly, I don’t. To my dismay). I am 210% team Miley so I’ve been following her very public spat with Sinead O’Connor. Read about it here.
I’m really disturbed. Not by Miley gyrating half naked. Not by her sitting on a wrecking ball with the chain perched perfectly between her tiny thighs, right in the sweet spot. Not at all by her rapping in 23 (holy shit someone finally made an anthem for a little white girl like me who loves hip hop. Can’t wait to dance to this on tables should the chance arise) but by SINEAD. By her open letter. Actually, by THREE letters she posted on her site to Miley. Brings a new meaning to ‘We Can’t Stop’. It seems Sinead could not stop trying to tell Miley why she is such a horrendous role model & to stop shaking her ass IMMEDIATELY. This is where the feminism part comes in.
I am not familiar with Sinead O’Connor. I had to google her. I think it’s a combination of both being too young, and having no interest in golden old tunes. I did, however, know her as ‘the woman with a shaved head’ for want of a better description. Her face was very familiar. So, she is obviously a pioneer in the music industry and an idol for a lot of people. So I am not discrediting her in any way. More admitting my ignorance. Sinead seems to be a feminist & a trail blazer. So why, then, is she using the most loaded language I have ever read in my life? Likening Miley’s actions to a prostitute, & telling her she is being “pimped” by the industry seems hardly any different to just taking the dive & calling her a whore. She goes on the say that sexuality & compassion are somewhat mutually exclusive:
“If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a fuck about yourself.”
Where to start with this? Being overtly sexual, as a woman, will mean that no one cares about you. Perhaps she means only the music industry, but as a feminist l think this reflects her values & beliefs in general. So, back to it then: if you flaunt your sexuality men (& women, I guess) will not give half a fuck about you let alone a whole fuck or multiple fucks. But you will get fucked, both literally & metaphorically. Also, if you employ an attitude of not overly caring about yourself or taking yourself too seriously, again you are setting yourself up for no one to give a fuck about you. I will reiterate that this may have been meant about the music biz, but surely reflects her values in general. I myself am a bit of a “I don’t give a fuck” kind of girl, like Miley in 23. Is Sinead telling me that this is wrong? That it is anti-feminist to act like a girl who doesn’t really give a fuck about much but being herself & having fun?
My head is hurting because for O’Connor’s desire to empower women, I think she has done the complete opposite. This is not feminism in my opinion. Singling someone out & attacking them for being provocative & wearing little clothing only perpetuates myths about women. “Cover up your tits. Do not swear. Act like a lady. Be quiet. Don’t have an opinion. Be seen & not heard”. I’ve been time warped back to the 1950’s.
I argue, actually, that Miley Cyrus may be something of a GOOD role model in some ways for women. Feminism as a movement or ideology to me is confusing. THIS SHIT IS JUST COMMON SENSE! We all deserve equality. If Justin Timberlake had’ve taken his clothes off & gyrated at the VMA’s it would have been “holy shit so hot did you see it?!”. Miley does it & it’s ‘slutty’. Sinead O’Connor suggested such a thing. Miley, on the other hand, just wants to be herself & do whatever she wants. Every single woman should be able to be themselves & do what they want. I believe this includes wearing skimpy clothes & shaking our asses like strippers if we so feel inclined. Does this actually make us strippers? No. & so what if we were strippers? Women are free to choose whatever career they like & as feminists we should either be encouraging or nonchalant. Not publicly condemn them.
Miley, while I might not want my future daughter gyrating with teddy bears, I myself would like to get turnt up & sip cough syrup with you & be the “bad bitch I really am”. Love or hate Miley, everyone should watch the documentary ‘Miley: The Movement’. Including Sinead. She comes across as a woman deeply sure of who she wants to be right now with a strong vision, & the orchestrator of her own “strategic hot mess”.