Let Miley Twerk Shit Out for Herself
After reading both Sinéad O’Connor’s open letter to Miley Cyrus and Amanda Palmer’s open letter to Sinéad, I have to say that I both agree and disagree with points each have made. Miley is, in my opinion, getting out of control with how much she chooses to show off and the ways in which she does so; for this reason, I agree with Sinéad, Miley’s body should be shared between herself and her boyfriend. However, Amanda Palmer brings up some valid points about Miley needing to be free to explore her sexuality, how she and Sinéad don’t truly know what it was like for Miley growing up since she grew up in the spotlight. So now that she’s old enough to explore certain aspects of herself, she’s doing so under the magnifying glass of the public.
Miley has been watched from day one, she needs to assert her independence and womanhood somehow, so she chose to do so through shedding some fabric. This would all be fine by me, save for the fact that so many of Miley’s fans are young girls who have grown attached to the Hannah Montana squeaky-clean image she used to represent. Don’t get me wrong, I love all three women in their own respects, but Miley’s recent actions worry me just as they’re worrisome to Sinéad. While Amanda shares her opinion that unless we allow some of the boundaries set for women in the business to be broken, women will never get anywhere beyond the stereotype that older women cannot be sexy (disagree with her somewhat shaming Madonna for her plastic surgeries etc….I digress), I think it’s also wholly important to remember Miley’s age. She’s currently twenty years old. She’s not thirty or forty, so that whole “older women should be able to prove they can be sexy too” argument doesn’t fly with me.
Obviously at twenty Miley’s going to want to do something to move away from the goody-two-shoes image Hannah Montana set for her, but is getting naked on the cover of a magazine and on Terry Richardson’s blog the best way to do so? That’s a difficult question, one that I won’t answer because I can’t answer it without complication.
Twenty is a delicate age, it’s an in between area, not fully grown up, but no longer a child. Is Miley old enough to make her own decisions? Certainly. Is Miley actually making her decisions or being coerced into them? The only person who can answer that question is Miley. Not Sinéad. Not Amanda. Miley.
I suppose my point here is to let Miley be Miley. No matter how much we may disagree with the way she’s going about asserting her independence. Twenty year old women do not listen to anyone. Not even to their idols. So when Sinéad is, in a sense, lecturing Miley on her nudity and allowing the record executives to “control” her…what’s Miley most likely to do? Here, I agree with Amanda: “There’s no way Miley is going to read your letter and turn around saying “holy shit, they’ve been taking advantage of me this whole time!” She’s been taking advantage of herself, of her youth, her fame and her sexuality…and she knows it.“
The only thing anyone can do for Miley is to stop slut-shaming her for exploring her options, for taking the reigns of her own sexuality the only way she can (i.e. publicly), and doing a pretty damn good job of getting the attention she wants from people. Miley said herself, regardless of whether or not you’re watching her videos so you have something to talk shit about, you’re still watching them. So Miley wins. Miley wins the whole damn thing because attention is attention, controversial, positive, or negative.