Why Do We Care About Miley Cyrus in “Wrecking Ball”?

Miley Cyrus is "at it again" with her video for new single, "Wrecking Ball." And by "at it again" we mean "being a 20-year-old human woman." 

In place of twerking, Miley is now nude on a makeshift construction site, and as with the VMAs, people have had a lot to say. (Surprise, surprise.) However, unlike the VMAs, Miley's actions in "Wrecking Ball" are not about twerking and cultural misappropriation, they're about her being naked and her intentions while being naked. Well, her intention is to be naked on a wrecking ball, and b) since she's hurting absolutely no one, who really cares?

Shaming Miley Cyrus isn't going to make the world or our society any better for the rest of us. You may not like the video, and that's fine, you don't have to look at it. Miley is a business woman, and she's trying to re-brand. We've all done it. We've all adopted fashions, hairstyles, and makeup that aren't for us in the long run while trying to figure out who we are, but it was up to us (and us alone) to figure out what works and what doesn't. People who judged us and threw insults our way certainly didn't make us feel more confident, or willing to embrace who we were and what we wanted; they made us feel trapped by rules that don't really exist.

The difference between Miley Cyrus and the rest of us is that she's a 20-year-old millionaire who's figuring herself out on a very public stage. In this case, she's naked on a wrecking ball, and she doesn't give a shit. And the reason that sounds familiar is because we've all felt the same way, too. Like Miley, we also rebelled. But unlike Miley, we likely did it on a smaller scale, but one far less monitered by people who might have our backs.

Miley Cyrus is rebelling in a controlled, business-minded way. She's singing about sex and drugs which means she's no different than any of the other number of male artists who sing about the exact same thing. A male musician could take his clothes off in a video and it'd be sexy or hilarious — but if a women (a woman old enough to vote and elect the president of the United States, let's add) does the same, she's slut-shamed and hated on. It doesn't matter that Miley's breaking records with her music, or that she's showing up to gigs, promoting her album, and being present for her fans (a.k.a. doing her job), what seems to matter is her exhibitionism, which, thanks to the wide world of patriarchy, is overshadowing everything else.

If Miley Cyrus wants to take off her clothes in a music video, it's not our place to shame her. We might not do it ourselves, but just because our own comfort zones have different parameters than a 20-year-old millionaire's doesn't mean we can dictate what is right and wrong for her. Let's not forget that this singer is one of the most financially successful people in the world, and that she built this franchise for herself as a teenager, when the rest of us were getting kicked out of class and driving around in vans smoking weed. Miley Cyrus isn't the problem, our willingness to bow down to sexism is. And frankly, until we stop having knee-jerk reactions when a 20-year-old women expresses herself in a way she deems suitable, our media and society have a long way to go.

Watch the video:

Tags: feminism, Miley Cyrus, music, sexism, videos, Wrecking Ball

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  1. Avatar
    • Big City James
    • September 11, 2013
    Great article! Also, let’s be real, this is totally a race thing. Rihanna was the same age Miley is now when she made some really provocative videos and singing about S&M, for instance, and nobody freaked out. A shame that we can be slut-shaming puritans, but somehow worse that we don’t extend the same reactions to other races, and certainly never to men.
  2. Anne T. Donahue
    • Anne T. Donahue
    • September 11, 2013
    This is rad! Thanks so much for sharing your post, Sara, and a HUGE “hell yes” to your comment in itself.
  3. Avatar
    • Sara
    • September 11, 2013
    I completely agree. Most of the negative talk I hear about Miley Cryus is from other women. Women are perpetuating the cycle of linking a woman’s sexuality with morality. Why are they so mad at her? They believe she’s objectifying herself- but actually, by shaming her for her sexual expression, we become the objectifiers.

    I wrote something on this too:

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