Smiley Miley or Cyrus the Virus?

By Dominic Iplicjian-Stephen and Grace Hardman

*Disclaimer: This argument is in jest. We wanted to exploit the ridiculousness of the argument itself*

Dom: One might have hoped that someone as irritating as Miley Cryus would never have been a topic for the student magazine of a reputable university. I feel shameful that I am even giving her credence through this writing; but above the flashing lights surrounding the innocent teenage star-gone sour, I think the hype and fascination has deeper routes, ones that should be questioned and addressed.

Miley, referable as ‘Cyrus the Virus’, represents aspects of social degradation that are not only ignored, but encouraged by MILEYcontemporary media. She embraces the attention like a small child boasting to their enamoured friends about a new birthday present; any attention, good or bad, is enough. She has potential power, but her actions only encourage the modern day phenomenon that any celebrity is worth praise. And for this reason, she should accept my offer of a one-way ticket to a far away land known as Whore Island.

Grace: Listen Dom you misogynist prick, I do not appreciate your ignorance, not to mention your severe misunderstanding of popular culture. I’m wondering what justifies your view that stepping away from the sickly-sweet fictional character of Hannah Montana, and emerging as a hugely successful, beautiful and powerful woman has turned Miley “sour”. Quite the opposite! Arguments criticising Miley as a role model are frequent and scathing, but is this her responsibility? I find it insulting to assume that young girls copy every aspect and ideology of the women monopolising the media; girls are much more developed than they are given credit for. Young girls need to see the variety of women that exist, and these women want to be seen as human; even if this means being a little crazy. One may say Miley is merely showing the “best of both worlds”. And before you try and throw your weight around again, don’t get me started on media attention. Of course she embraces it. The paparazzi’s lights are what nurtured her into a star and provided her with a number one album and single.

Dom: My dear Grace, confused darling… poor baby you must be so tired. There is a difference between a successful businesswoman and power accrued through self-exploitation. I highly doubt that she is in fact in control of her situation; I am, instead, curious to know the views of her presumably male manager when cashing his share of her revenue. A role model you say, and one whose actions are rarely directly copied by her fans. On this I agree with you – I think it misinformed to draw a direct correlation between a celebrity’s life choices and those of the wider public. However, what Miley does, indeed, do is add to the number of public figures who seem unable to find non-sexual and uncontroversial ways to propel themselves into stardom. Her methods only strengthen the illusory idea held in the public consciousness that women, subordinated, can offer barely more than a tug at societies primitive urges, and most depraved instincts.

 Grace: I think what you’re forgetting, (and sweetie it’s your fault, you may have been born with a narrow and shrivelled brain, but slut shaming is socially learnt) is that Miley is only twenty. She is clearly enjoying her life without the guilt you’re trying to imprint on her; Why do you criticise Miley for using her sexuality to promote fame, whilst turning a blind eye to the males in this shallow industry – perhaps you’re just a wanker? When Robin Thick paraded in front of a vulgar statement in balloons, he was yielded as “legend”. Because obviously all females want to be “liberated” by a creepy and delusional middle-aged man. Miley is showing that liberation is not synonymous with men, but instead she teaches women “not to be scared of anything”. This mantra isn’t exactly new, didn’t Madonna pose naked for magazines before Miley was even born? But actually I’m happy about the controversy. The second-wave feminism that surrounded Madonna’s early career died down over the millennium. Perhaps now is just the time to reopen this door and jam it open with Miley’s album to stop it from closing again.

Dom: Sweetheart, are you feeling ok? Have you been eating your greens and drinking enough fluids? You reveal yourself to be naïve and I, on behalf of my shrivelled misogynistic brain, advise you correct this. Fun is all well and good – I love a good laugh, me. But I wonder how much fun the nervous students had when they failed to qualify for ‘Exeter’s Finest Fresher’, and the borderline-rape victims of Leeds’ vulgar ‘Fresher’s Violation’ club nights. Granted, Cyrus the Virus is not the cause of this, but she is definitely a contributing factor, as well as a symptom and victim. Her recent cannabis-smoking charades at the VMA Awards were embarrassing and childish; she paraded down the stage like a ‘wrecking-bull’ in a china shop. We need a paradigm-shift; we need more female mentors and leaders in the public eye. But they don’t have to be holding spliffs, wearing underwear or gyrating on demolition equipment to achieve this.

Grace: I’m beginning to grow weary of this argument and your persistent patronization  It’s disgustingly unfair to pin a teen star against a wider global issue of sexual inequality. But perhaps this is the core of the argument. Maybe we are merely using Miley Cyrus as a metaphor; experimenting whether the world can cope with females promoting their sexuality. Had it crossed your mind that making you feel uncomfortable was the point? What is change without any preceding controversy? Yet equally, the final point you raise is fundamental. Miley surely hasn’t aided the women’s rights movement in a political sense, but she has advertised the word that so many fear, “feminism”. So lets just agree to disagree. Miley certainly isn’t new, but she isn’t going away. I guess we’ll all just have to sit back and watch her next move as she continues to “party in the USA”. Spliff anyone?

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