Miley Cyrus just can’t seem to get any love.
The release of Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” music video, which has received nearly 50,000,000 views since debuting on YouTube two days ago, has been the latest fodder that has drawn the scorn of many critics.
After her Video Music Awards performance, in which a skimpily-clad Cyrus twerked and thrusted against a bizarrely-dressed, but fully clothed, Robin Thicke, her latest video, featuring full nudity and sexually charged imagery of licking sledgehammers, if one finds that sort of thing sexy, has led to much name-calling:
Trashy. Slutty. Crazy. Sad. Tragic.
But perhaps what is most trashy and tragic is not the former Disney Channel sweetheart growing up, but the society that has created her.
Miley Cyrus lives in a society that the on-screen Hannah Montana, whose glorified pious behavior we expect Cyrus to replicate, did not live in.
Hannah Montana did not live in a society in which women are vilified into typecasts — those who choose to express themselves through means other than their bodies are prudes, while those who choose to express themselves through their bodies are sluts.
Hannah Montana was not trying to break into a music industry that reeks of double standards. Only five of the Top 20 songs of this week are performed by female artists. Yet three of those music videos feature the artists bearing cleavage and thighs, sultry facial expressions and hyper-sexualized representations of the female body.
The music videos of their male counterparts who topped the chart seemed to suffice to sell to audiences without the use of the artists’ sex appeal flaunted.
Hannah Montana did not live in the society in which the song that has topped the charts for consecutive weeks is Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”
Yet, while Thicke’s video featured female nudity — which came in the form of several females prostrating themselves subserviently to a fully clothed Thicke who professes his sexual prowess in the video in the crudest of terms, Thicke has somehow been absolved of the criticism that Cyrus’ video has seen.
Furthermore, while Cyrus’ nudity was simply an expression of her lyrics about being “wrecked” and broken, the female nudity in Thicke’s video expressed his misogynistic, and frankly dangerous, lyrics about blurred lines of consent and “good” girls “wanting it,” despite telling him otherwise.
But Miley Cyrus lives in this world and, unlike her fictional character, must navigate the constructs of a society that demands that women who hope to achieve success in certain fields find the societally palatable balance of
sexuality. That is tragic.
Divya is a senior majoring in mass communications and economics.