From lopping off her famous bun in exchange for a platinum blonde pixie cut, to her recent split from fiancé Liam Hemsworth, there is no doubt that Miley Cyrus has been a habitual media headliner for the past year. Her drastic image change both off and on stage (how could we forget her wild VMA antics?) has earned her widespread criticism, including an unfortunate slew of GIFs and jokes rivaling that of the infamous Lindsay Lohan, and a jab from Anna Wintour who described her as “distasteful” and axed her upcoming cover of U.S. Vogue. The release of Miley’s music video for the powerful pop ballad “Wrecking Ball,” directed by Terry Richardson, has sparked controversy yet again for miss Miley, and MUSE is weighing in on the celebrity that has the whole world waiting with baited breath for her next jaw-dropping move. MUSE darlings Kelly MacPherson and Claire Pierce offer fresh perspectives on the great Miley debate; MacPherson tells us why she loves the twerk happy singer, and Pierce takes a stand on why the “Miley movement” needs to boycotted.
PRO MILEY MOVEMENT:
Miley Cyrus is the girl that people either love or hate. More accurately, she’s the girl people love to hate. No matter what your opinion of her is, there is absolutely no denying that the world can’t get enough of her. For the most part, it seems as though the controversial twerkster has inspired an army of haters who would like to see her banned from the music industry and stranded on a desert island. I am here to tell you why I am a dyed-in-the-wool MC lover… and why you should be too.
It seems to me like the bread and butter of the anti Miley brigade is the notion that she is a former Disney star who is now (to our horror) an extremely grown up, sexual human being. The past year has seen Miley completely abandon her “best of both worlds” image. In it’s place is a hyper sexualized, twerking, bad b*tch who has made it clear that there is no limit to what she’ll do next. But the fact that she has grown up in the spotlight with a wholesome, girl-next-door image is definitely part of the reason why her behavior is being viewed as so “shocking.” If Miley came into the music industry as she currently is, and the public had no pre-conceived notions about how she “should be,” then the controversy surrounding her wouldn’t be nearly as severe. In fact, among a swarm of outrageous pop stars who obsessively celebrate shock value, there might not be any controversy surrounding Miley.
Though many are sad or enraged to see Hannah Montana fall to the wayward and be replaced by every father’s worst nightmare, Miley is boldly carving a path of her own—one that will probably be remembered years from now. Historically, artists who push social conventions and meet public scrutiny eventually become embraced as iconic trailblazers, and there are numerous examples of this. Think Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” VMA performance in 1984, where she sported a punked-out wedding dress and scandalously flashed some leg. Or, take Madonna’s amped up 2003 VMA performance, which saw the racy singer rocking a three way lesbian kiss with Brit and Christina. Another rule-bending artist, Lady Gaga, shocked audiences in 2009 with her controversial performance of Paparazzi, when she started bleeding and hung herself on stage. Even the legendary Elvis Presley stirred up some controversy back in the day with those infamous shaking hips. These musical icons fueled the rebellious nature of popular music, forcing society to reconsider what is acceptable in their age. If boundaries aren’t pushed, is evolution or change within our culture possible? Absolutely not.
To those who think that the Queen of Twerk has officially lost her mind, Miley has not given us any sign of mental instability. Contrary to the likes of Britney Spears who infamously shaved her head in 2007, LiLo who has basically made rehab her permanent home and Amanda Bynes who I won’t even get started on, Miley’s life outside of her work and wild performances is actually rather tame. Besides receiving constant criticism for what she does as an artist, there is nothing to criticize about her personal life. She has not engaged in any law breaking activity or public displays of insanity of any kind. In fact, one might go as far as to say she’s got her sh*t together. Or in other words, one might say that she’s just being Miley (sorry had to.) But seriously, foam fingers, twerking up on Robin Thicke, and hammers as personal lollipops are the least of our concerns.
Miley’s intense publicity has clearly made an impact: her new album, Bangerz, which is set to be released on Oct 4th , shot to the top five on iTunes album chart. This was based solely on preorders. “Wrecking Ball”’ received a whopping 19.6 million views in its first 24 hours of release. These numbers shattered the VEVO record for most viewed clip, One Direction’s “Best Song Ever,” which had 10.7 million views in 24 hours. Clearly the haters are motivators for Miley. It seems the more people talk, the more successful she’s becoming.
So Miley, as you’re swinging nude on a metal ball with the world talking and watching, remember that this is an image that will go down in history. Oh, and if the haters are getting you down, remember the wise words of Jay-Z: “Twerk Miley, Miley, Miley, twerk!”
Kelly MacPherson, Creative Marketing Team
ANTI MILEY MOVEMENT:
For the sake of journalistic integrity in this debate, allow me to air my personal biases: I’m a Miley Cyrus apologist. I generally think that she gets treated way too harshly in the media, and I do not feel personally victimized by her twerking. That being said, I am glad that Vogue has allegedly canned her cover; and not because she has been “shocking” or “provocative” lately. I mean, come on… I can remember a public school recess conversation about Paris Hilton’s sex tape. We are long past the point of being scandalized by celebrities. I’m glad it has been pulled because the most shocking thing about Miley’s creative production of late (her personal life aside) is how blatantly ripped off from her contemporaries it has been. As a case study, let’s take a look at her most recent attempt at provocation, the video for “Wrecking Ball”:
The video opens with a teary-eyed close up that looks like it has been torn right from a scene in Rihanna’s video for “Stay.” “We Can’t Stop” was written for Rihanna, and it looks like maybe this video was meant for her too. While the implied nudity in “Stay” was meant to connote vulnerability, “Wrecking Ball” seems to employ its nudity in a more suggestive way, putting it at odds with the tone of the song. It leaves the viewer feeling uncomfortable, since her emotional distress really should not be turning people on. Clearly she was trying to emulate the actual most controversial and shocking video of the summer: “Blurred Lines.”
While I will admit that it is somewhat meta for Terry Richardson to rip off “Blurred Lines,” a video that was quite obviously ripping off his own signature aesthetic (seriously, that is what the inside of Terry’s head looks like all the time), Miley stops short of going all the way. Instead she borrowed the beauty look and half-assed the nudity. These lackluster imitations of her peers are something the “new” Miley is doing a lot of. She doesn’t twerk as well as Iggy, she doesn’t do cute/ugly tongue-out faces as well as Cara Delevingne, she clearly gives way more f*cks than Rihanna despite her attempts to cop her DGAF steeze, and we don’t really need an objectophiliac pop star (but if we did, Katy Perry has that covered).
Miley is trying so hard to be a bad b*tch, but copying other people is so very basic. That being said, I still have hope. She has a kick a*s haircut, she’s newly single, and I think she has it in her to turn this period of transition into something awesome and original. I mean, she’s had us partying in the USA since she was 14; she can do better than this. My advice to her would be to listen to King Karl, as we all should: “When people show their ass, that doesn’t bother me. When they expose their feelings, that shocks me.” So come on, Miley. Shock us.
Claire Pierce, Arts Editor
Images: Tumblr (Notion Magazine), MTV