Miley Cyrus and the Word "Slut"

By: Maggie McMorrow

Say the name “Miley Cyrus” to just about anyone today and they will most likely have some sort of strong reaction, whether it be good or bad. Over the past couple years, Miley Cyrus has managed to completely change her image and become a very polarizing figure in the process. She has come out with two very daring music videos for “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” both of which have over 500,000,000 views on Youtube and broke the vevo fastest viewing record. Some called the videos “a cry for help” others praised her for “breaking free of her Disney persona,” I personally wonder why people care so much about what she does with her life.

Perhaps the most controversial Miley moment over the past couple of years was her performance with Robin Thicke at the 2013 VMAs. Miley sang “We Can’t Stop” her anthem to being young and living her life without caring what other people think and Robin Thicke, a 38 year old man sang his hit “Blurred Lines” the song that’s lyrics dance between consent and sexual assault. On stage Miley had a foam finger that she gyrated on, stuck out her tongue frequently, and grinded on Robin Thicke. No matter if you support her or are against her, this performance shocked everyone. Perhaps it was because it was overly sexual and inappropriate, or maybe it was the contrast of Miley’s former Disney persona with this older barely dressed woman owning her sexuality and not caring what anyone think. In the music business, the more you are talked about, the more money you make, and as they say “there is no such thing as bad publicity” and this performance was perhaps one of the most talked about in the last 20 years. In the aftermath of this performance, the world tore Miley apart. Parents were concerned that their children were going to be corrupted by their former role model, media outlets were calling her an attention whore, and social media was lighting up to take down the newly “trashy” Miley. Through all of this however, Robin Thicke was barely talked about. This does not make sense to me to this day, here is a husband, father, and 38 year old man letting a 19 year old girl grind on him while singing a song about possible rape. I will never understand how the world is okay dragging Miley while sending Robin Thicke to the top of the charts.

The world will never know why Miley decided to go through with this performance, but I personally think it was a genius move. If you read anything about what it was like to be on Disney channel, the only way it can be described is stifling and controlled. After 5 years as Hannah Montana, with millions of little girls looking up to you, I don’t think anyone can really imagine the pressure that Miley was under. I know that I am speculating here, but I am guessing that Miley was bursting to rid herself of that image. It can be very hard to make the transition from pop childrens artist to one that is taken seriously and often when people try to make such tough transitions, they result to extremes, which is what this performance was. I don’t think anyone could dispute that this performance did not successfully rid Miley of her Disney roots. What I think was rather genius about this performance is that Miley was the most talked about performer in the world for at least the following 6 months, and that is why she did it. Her sales skyrocketed, her music videos are some of the most viewed on youtube, and she did this all while singing a song where she told the world she didn’t care what we think of her. So despite all the backlash from the performance, she achieved amazing success.

The reason that I am bringing this all back up 2 years later is that I recently saw a picture that Miley posted on instagram of portraits of her side by side, one from her Hannah Montana days and a current one. What I couldn’t help but notice is how happy she looked in the current picture, which is why I think she posted it, to show the world that she is much happier now owning who she is. What I don’t understand is why people are so often personally offended by what Miley does with her life. Miley is called a “slut” all time, which is not only an unfair label but an offensive one. Miley is a young woman who is taking ownership of her body and owning her sexuality, which I think should be celebrated. Girls who own their sexuality are almost always associated with the words ‘whore’ or ‘slut’ whereas if a boy talks about something sexual, they are almost celebrated as being a ‘bro’ or a ‘stud.’ Miley is so obviously more happy now than she has ever been before so I think that it is time for the world and the media to stop acting like they own young girls bodies.


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