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Gender or Genre?If you’ve been living under a rock recently, or just have no care for any of today’s popular music, then you won’t know about the whole deal with Miley Cyrus. We once knew her as Miley Stewart, the normal girl by day and by night the rockstar, Hannah Montana, living the ‘best of both worlds‘. But now that’s all changed. She is no longer a Disney princess but is now a twerk maniac who smokes some weed on the side. But is it true what Sinead O’Connor said, is Miley being ‘pimped’ by the music industry? And is it the same for other female artists? These are questions with no easy answers.
Throughout the years, there have been countless times that women have used their sex appeal to sell a record. Madonna’s 1992 music video for ‘Justify My Love’ had images of bondage and voyeurism and was ultimately banned by MTV. This just led to even more interest and the single is still making money 20 years after it’s release. Rihanna’s ‘Pour It Up’ music video (which was released on the 2nd October of this year) featured near naked pole dancers and a lot of twerking but was not scrutinised as much as Miley Cyrus’ music video for ‘Wrecking Ball’ or her video for ‘We Can’t Stop’. Is it because of how much Cyrus has changed over the years or is Rihanna seen as a more respectful artist? One thing’s for sure, after the release of ‘Wrecking Ball’, I have seen far more music videos on YouTube with the word ‘Explicit’ after it - maybe it’s because it has over 280 million views?
Whether they like it or not, females in the music industry are role models. Miley’s confidence is something that should be spoken about more. Everyone knows who she is and she gives off this persona that she doesn’t care what people think about her. She’s on top of the music industry at the moment, which is usually a male haven. But, Sinead O’Connor puts it better than I do, “the message [Miley] keeps sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted…it’s dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. We aren’t merely objects of desire.” While it’s great that Miley and many other female singers are comfortable in their skin, but, due to how society works, the naked body is overtly sexualised and they start to become “objects of desire” without one even realising it. Charlotte Church, in an hour long lecture for Radio 6, added that “the culture of demeaning women in pop music is so ingrained as to have become a routine.” Unfortunately, this is true in other forms of entertainment and society in general.
But because of people focusing on this argument, we forget about the commercially successful pop women who avoid the controversy around them, for example, Emeli Sande and Taylor Swift have both outsold Rihanna this year. But another female has been talked about a lot recently as well as Miley Cyrus and that’s Lorde. Not because of anything controversial but because of her music. Her current single ‘Royals’ has been number one in America for three weeks now and her new album ‘Pure Heroine’ is currently the ‘album you should listen to this week’ according to The Guardian. There’s also M.I.A who is controversial but in the political sense, showing that women can and do have a say in what goes on around them and we shouldn’t be afraid of voicing our opinions. So while everyone else talks about the day to day life of Miley Cyrus and what she‘ll do next, why not think about other women musicians who are trying to be heard in a man’s world?
It’s never easy to answer the question, are you doing it for yourself or for others? And that’s one of the reasons why this debate about Miley Cyrus has been so huge. After all this, maybe, just maybe, she is ‘just being Miley’.
Pictures are from Tumblr