It would be silly to ignore all of the news on the Internet today. For now I’m not talking about the historical shut down of our government but rather the letter from Sinead O’Connor to Miley Cyrus. It’s been hard to avoid conversations around Miley Cyrus since her performance on the VMA’s, her videos, her new album, her Rolling Stone feature and, today, all those letters on the Internet.
Conversations, that were at first incredibly annoying to me, have peaked my absolute interest. Conversations that I thought had more to do with the puritanical nature of the American culture’s relationship with female sexuality and pop artists. Miley’s performance on the VMA’s did not freak me out. I loved it. It was hot, and she’s twenty and seemed like she was having the sort of fun any hot gal breaking away from their tween and teen personality would do. That’s what we ALL did when we turned twenty in our own way. Which is usually my reaction. It was my reaction when Lindsey Lohan started doing a ton of drugs just barely post adolescence. My reaction then is what it is now; we all did that.
Then I really started to consider my nineteen to twenty year old self. These two years were easily the wildest of my life. I had recently lost my virginity, realized how easy it was to command a hot guy into having sex with me and danced around wearing barely more than a bra some days. I had sex with women, dated a few women, had threesomes and did hard drugs like crystal meth, ecstasy and mushrooms most weekends. A wildness that is inbred to the animal human nature right? Maybe not. Probably not.
What I so often ignore about my own choices, and the choices of many of these girls, is that they weren’t really mine. They were coming from a childish need to be liked. And in my 19 -20s it was to be liked by men; who seemed to be ruling the world. Men don’t rule the world in a universal sense, but in a government, pop culture, social economic (and often artistic) structure they do for now.
A part of the conversation a lot of the letters left out today (save for M. Connor’s) is that the director of Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball is a man in his forties. He’s a man who has countless pornographic photos of Ms. Cyrus on his blog. Having been a twenty year old woman sometimes on the opposite side of forty year old men’s cameras, that twenty year old woman has very little to do with what’s happening. Sadly most people at that age are still children and still want to look cool. Sadly because they are above the age of consent we all believe they’re aware of what their actions might be communicating. Sadly we’re very wrong.
Its not Miley Cyrus’ expression of her sexuality, or showing her tits or licking a sledgehammer is wrong its that it feels so implicitly like someone else’s idea. I can only guess the ideas of these older men who both want to sell records or just see beautiful Miley Cyrus lick shit around them. Sadly many women will lick shit because a guy thinks it’s hot. Sadly most women will feel uncomfortable or unsafe and justify their actions by saying it was empowering to know they could wield that much sexuality over their audience. Sadly an audience who is primary interest is how hot you make them feel will trample over your most precious parts. Who, or what, is empowered then?