Article by: Aparna Mohan
Photographs collated by Charlene Mamaril from: Terry Richardson
Daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus first rose to fame as the star of Disney’s Hannah Montana, whose immediate success propelled her to teen idol status. What followed were an increasingly successful career as well as the gradual transformation into a twerking, tongue-wagging, and scandalous singer who has stopped at nothing to shed the Hannah Montana image and kick up the sex appeal.
Undoubtedly, her outrageous antics, such as simulating sex acts with a foam finger and swinging naked on a wrecking ball, have caused widespread outrage, but it has also rekindled a fresh debate about feminism and women in the modern world. The question, then, is if Cyrus is helping bring feminism a step forward or backward.
High school English teacher Peter Curry says that “the fact that [Miley Cyrus] decided to perform such an act [at the VMAs] is reason enough to show that feminism is still relevant,” but Curry thinks Cyrus has skewed feminism when he says the prospect of her becoming a “role model for young women is pretty awful.”
CNN reporter Dean Obeidallah believes Cyrus’ antics do nothing more than feed her addiction to fame and instead she could be using it to improve the world – for example in the footsteps of Lady Gaga, who advocates gay rights.
Senior Shivani Phadke looks at it both ways: “You could say she set [feminism] back because she seems to promote the objectifying of women, but at the same time, [Cyrus] embraces the right that women have to feel pride for their bodies without being judged for it.” And then there are people like Jessica Grose of Elle who, while accepting that Cyrus has made mistakes, recognizes her young age and asks: “Is it fair for us to judge someone who is still figuring [out] her identity…?”
Regardless of what we think, it’s safe to say Cyrus has allowed us to reconsider our views on taboo and the social acceptance. Also, as Shivani points out, “Cyrus as an artist holds the right to express herself in whatever way she feels valid.”