Unsure If You Like Miley Cyrus? Her Definition Of Feminism Will Help You Decide


If you looked up “controversial” in the dictionary, you might find Miley Cyrus’ picture next to the word, as she is certainly no stranger to rocking the boat. Ever since she shed her nice-girl Disney image, she has been pushing the boundaries of edginess and shocking critics left, right and center.

She may not be the music darling she once was back in her ‘Hannah Montana’ days, but let’s not forget her transformation is something we have seen before. Breakout female pop stars have a history of going against the grain and using shock as a way to make a statement. Perhaps it stems from years of being considered second-class citizens compared to men, that these women decided enough was enough.

Madonna did it in the 80s, The Spice Girls did in in the 90s, and stars like Beyonce and Miley Cyrus have been talked about in highly controversial ways. Miley’s online battle with Sinead O’Connor brought mixed feelings to the surface, as Sinead had some great insight into how young women are manipulated by the industry. Miley responded in a not-so-nice manner.

Her performance at the 2013 VMAs left people feeling a little disgusted, especially in relation to Robin Thicke’s involvement. Could she recover from this? We were all left wondering, but in true Miley fashion, she continued to do her thing more determined than ever.

The thing we have learned from observing Miley is that she is still young, and young women go through many transformations in the search for their identity. She just happens to be doing it on a very public stage. Should we be judging? Not necessarily.

One thing about Miley that has interested us is her declaration of a “movement” that she is creating. Admittedly in the past we have kinda struggled to understand exactly what the movement is about. Teaching women to pose half naked?

When she started publicly supporting the ‘Free The Nipple‘ movement, our interests were sparked again. From what we could see now, her movement was less about sexualization of herself than it was showing the world that a woman’s body doesn’t deserve to be objectified and judged despite what she is wearing.

A common victim-blaming tactic in rape culture is to blame a woman for what she was wearing, citing that as the reason for the crime. A very clever Tumblr page called ‘But What Was She Wearing’ shows girls dressed in everyday clothing, some even frumpy and baggy, showing that putting all the blame on a woman’s appearance is not valid.

In a recent interview with The Kit titled ’10 Things That Might Change Your Mind About Miley Cyrus, she talked explicitly about female sexuality and feminism, and to be honest it made us fall in love with her. After all, it can’t be easy being a young woman who is willing to put herself out there in a way that has become so polarizing.

Here’s what she had to say about the ridiculous notion that if a girl shows her ass or boobs on Instagram, she gets more likes.

“If you go on Instagram, the way people make themselves look isn’t the way they are in reality. Everyone is getting Instagram famous, purely because of what they’re wearing, what they look like. You get more likes if your ass looks big, or your titties…it’s crazy. And 15 year old girls are looking at these girls and thinking that’s what they’re supposed to look like, and that isn’t life. It used to be that way with film and models and magazines, but now every girl can tune themselves to look a way that they don’t actually look. People are chasing something that doesn’t exist, a lot of girls.”

She hit the nail on the head. And by saying that, it was not hypocritical, it was making a statement that that is not what she is doing with her image (despite what some may say).


Miley sees the power of social media, and wishes young people would use it to talk more about issues that matter, such as AIDS.

“People stopped talking about it because the fear isn’t as relevant. I was reading that 20 per cent of people that are infected don’t know. Young people are all on Twitter and Instagram, so when you start global conversations it has a much broader reach than it would have in another time.”

Her ideas about feminism are not watered down, either, and in true Miley fashion, she doesn’t apologize for equating what she does as contributing to the movement.

“I’m a feminist because I’m female empowered and I want to give fucking women jobs and I want them out there being leaders and being badass, totally, but I want the same thing for men as well. I think people go out there too strong. That’s what Kathleen Hanna—she was a huge icon to me—she always made it very clear that she wasn’t a dude hater. She’s like, I’m a chick so I’m out there fighting for those of my kind but it’s not mean, like, we’re smarter, we’re better. I think people have overused it so much that it’s getting confusing to girls of what a feminist actually is. Feminist is just about wanting to be equal, not above, not below, equal.”

As for critics who still think she isn’t a great role model, Miley believes it is more important for her to stay true to herself, be open about it, and not fake something for the media.

“People like to put on this front, and I like for people to really know who I am. I act the same in my house or to waiters as I do to executives at record labels, I don’t care. I treat everyone the same. I think being a role model is about how you are when you’re not being [a certain way] for your fans. Be a role model because you’re a good person, and because you’re a good person you should be a role model. Don’t be a good person because you think you’re a role model.”

We’re willing to put our hands up and say our minds have been changed about Miley. You don’t necessarily have to agree with everything she says or does, but it’s important to recognize there is often more to people than meets the eye, especially when the media spin gets out of control.

We applaud any young girl who is willing to go against the grain to be true to herself and stand for the important things in life.




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