Sinead O'Connor is (mostly) right about Miley Cyrus. Now let the ageism and sexism begin!

I won’t deny that there were parts of Sinead O’Connor’s viral letter to Miley Cyrus that bothered me.

To say that “your body is for you and your boyfriend” irked me a little for heteronormative reasons but also because it seems frame the female body as some kind of private gift only your boyfriend gets access to. For O’Connor to put herself in the position of “mother” to Miley (“it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love”) is also bothersome because, well, simply because one is an older woman, that shouldn’t make a person necessarily a “nurturing” or “mothering” figure (though I get that O’Connor might feel “protective” of Cyrus in some way). I don’t find the woman = mother stereotype to be particularly useful, progressive, or accurate. Also, Sinead is not by any means Miley’s “mother.” Beyond that, the phrase “young lady” reads as a scolding from your teacher back in 1953.

But to dwell on these flaws is to miss the primary (and the most relevant) point of the letter, which is this: sexualization does not equal empowerment.

O’Connor tells Cyrus that which all girls and young women should know (not just celebrities, though it does impact young women in the entertainment industry particularly), which is that those who encourage you to objectify yourself, those who give you attention because you are appealing to men, those who tell you that power comes from desirability are wrong. Those people don’t care about your well-being and they don’t care about female liberation and empowerment. In Miley’s situation, they care (as O’Connor points out) about profiting off of your naked ass.

The point many are glossing over amongst nonsensical commentary around “slut-shaming” and “judging” is this:

Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.

Having been in the music industry herself and having lived longer in this world than Cyrus, O’Connor is perfectly in her right to position herself as a mentor of sorts. Of course these days it’s popular to throw older women under the bus, as many immediately did, turning O’Connor into your old, no-fun, prudish, mom. This isn’t just a trend that’s popular with mainstream sexists, but with the third wave as well — you may have encountered sexist/ageist attacks on second wave feminists who are regularly accused of being “sex negative” or “stuck in the past” or whatever else we like to say to dismiss women who know more than we do. Sorry, but every 20 year old thinks they know it all. But 20 year olds, in fact, know very little. This isn’t to say that young people must necessarily defer to their elders in all circumstances, but playing to ageist, sexist tropes just makes you sound like a catty, obnoxious, teenager.

Cyrus goes one step further into the misogyny dung heap, accusing O’Connor of being, essentially, “crazy” and making fun of her struggles with mental illness:

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 5.03.23 PM

 

Some took the obvious “women aren’t victims!” route, trying to frame critiques of a sexist industry and culture as a form of disempowerment in and of itself.

The rest immediately began to accuse O’Connor of “slut-shaming.” And to those folks, I have to wonder if you even have any idea what you are talking about. Objectification and sexualization have nothing to do with female sexuality. Cyrus is not “doing her own thing FUCK YEAH” — she is marketing a sexualized image for profit. And primarily, as O’Connor points out, those who profit from this image will be powerful men who will remain rich and powerful long after Cyrus has been used up and discarded.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 5.01.48 PMSlut-shaming isn’t a real thing, for starters (it’s just misogyny, lovies), but what we need to understand about this COMPLETELY OVERUSED term is that being critical of a culture that pressures women and girls to pornify themselves and offers them few other options in terms of gaining self-worth and power, is not the same as being critical of an individual’s sexuality. This is an image Cyrus is presenting to the public (or being pressured to present) — it’s about representation. If you can’t differentiate between that and Miley’s private desires and/or sex life, then you may want to tread a little more lightly when entering into conversations about feminism and female liberation.

O’Connor says that which we can all see is true: the music industry will try, with all their might, to exploit young women — to “prostitute” them, as she says; meaning to use their bodies and sexualities to profit.

Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked.

From Terry Richardson’s recent photo shoot with Miley Cyrus

And here’s what O’Connor knows that Cyrus, and many other young women (including myself at that age) don’t know: that power you feel — the power you get from having men want you — is fleeting. Further reinforcing this particular kind of imaginary “empowerment” only perpetuates the idea that, without sexual appeal and without youth, women are useless, irrelevant, and invisible.

While disgusting Terry Richardson (who, by the way, is known to be a sexual predator) is busy turning Cyrus into soft-core porn, we’re all busy trying to make sure everyone knows how empowered! and in charge of her own sexuality! Cyrus is; telling anyone who dares to state the obvious that they are judgy slut-shamers. Why not point your busy twitter fingers at the exploitative industry or the pervy Richardson rather than at those who tell the truth, that “the music business doesn’t give a sh– about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted”?

What O’Connor says is (mostly) right: “Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. We aren’t merely objects of desire.” And she deserves to be listened to and respected, not mocked.

 

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • JA

    Right. On.
    I really did not like the way she kept saying “like a prostitute” wih such haughty disdain, either, but this: “kindly fire any motherfucker who is not alarmed: they do not care about you” is gorgeous.

  • Donna Gratehouse

    So why didn’t O’Connor simply direct her message to the men in the entertainment industry and elsewhere who objectify women? Why lecture Cyrus about it? Is it because she regards the men as “animals” incapable of controlling themselves? How sexist of her.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I see your point, but I think O’Connor makes some important points about the fact that sexualization doesn’t = empowerment. A lot of young women fall for that myth (because they are told to do so/don’t see many other options)… I took this a criticism of the industry more than criticism of Cyrus, but I agree that we should be focused on systems more than individuals.

    • hellolondon

      There is no such thing as reverse sexism.

      • Donna Gratehouse

        I agree. It’s plain sexism to assume that men are raging beasts incapable of controlling their lust so the onus is on women to keep them in line. Anti-feminists actually take as dim a view of men as they do women, but I’m sure you already knew that.

        • Coromandel

          I repeat, “Huh?”

        • Lesbian By Choice

          Only women can be oppressed on the basis of their sex. Men cannot be victims of sexism. That is what hellolondon said. No such thing as reverse sexism. Men cannot be victims of the system they created for themselves.

          • Linda

            To be fair, a lot of men alive today weren’t really involved in creating that system…

        • Right. So Donna is accusing Sinead O’Connor of sexism. Got it.

    • Missfit

      I think the men in the entertainment industry already know this; they just don’t care. I think it starts with us, woman to woman, women together, arriving to make changes that will truly benefit us. For that, we have to stop believing and feeding the lies propagated by the intertwined and powerful sex and entertainment industries and get rid of the ‘generation gap’ which pits younger women against older ones. There are powerful forces that put pressures on young women into acting a certain way and distancing themselves from older women (by fear of the knowledge they carry I guess). By the time they come to question the system and actually listen to women who came before them, they have already fallen into the pitfalls men wanted them to fall into. This results in women having to re-invent the wheel with each new generation. Yes, we have made gains along the way but these gains remain fragile and there are more to be made.

      I am not even reading the linked articles referencing to slut-shaming and agency and blablabla. Sexism is never addressed while literally jumping in your face. More and more, I avoid mainstream media and limit myself to feminist media sources. Thank you for reporting this, I am glad to know that someone like Sinead O’connor have said this.

    • lizor

      Donna – I’m sure if O’Connor had done as you said there would have been a pile-on about her not respecting Cyrus’s agency and ability to make her own decisions. Appealing to the music industry pimps and talking about Cyrus as if she an unwitting pawn would have been [perhaps legitimately] read as reiterating their reduction of her.

      Besides, which strategy do you honestly think would be more likely to yield results?

      • Donna Gratehouse

        Yield results over what? What’s the goal? Getting Cyrus to behave more “modestly”?

        • Missfit

          The goal would be for women to stop having to resort to porn sex representation for visibility. You think such behavior is born out of an inner desire to lick tools? That this has anything to do with female sexuality or empowerment? Why are the men so modest then, why don’t we see them licking toilets why not? Are they sexually repressed? Or would they find that degrading? Is this the reason why they like seeing women doing these kinds of things so much?

          • Candy

            This, a gazillion times over. I laughed because it’s so true, then I cringed.

    • Coromandel

      Lecture? Animals? Huh?

      Cyrus said O’Connor was a role model of hers and that sparked a media frenzy for a response from O’Connor who chose this as her response.

      O’Connor gave the men who control malestream media a damn good shredding, as everyone who isn’t hellbent on picayune criticism of O’Connor can see.

    • Amy

      You can’t be sexist towards men. You can discriminate against men for simply being men, but they will always have the upper hand and privilege over women. Sexism is structural, just like racism.

  • Thank you Meghan, I was feeling really lousy after reading the death-by-a-thousand-cuts “tone arguments” and daisy chains of straw men being strung on the Stop Porn Culture FB page, by people who clearly cannot tolerate to see the word “prostitute” in print.

    Response to JA’s “I really did not like the way she kept saying “like a prostitute”…
    She did not. Re-read the piece. She used “prostitute” as a verb, as something the industry was doing to Cyrus and to other young women. Only once did she use it as a noun – “don’t let the industry make a prostitute of you” -, clearly again a transitive action by the system, not a judgment on prostituted women. Being sexually exploited for money is a process and it sucks: she has lived attempts at treating her like this and ought to be allowed to say this without being tut-tutted.

    Good night.

    martin

  • Excel

    Too little, too late. I half expect a follow-up letter to JFK telling him to duck and the passengers of the Titanic warning them not to get on.

  • czf

    Hi Meghan.

    I wanted to stop by and comment on this post. You’ve pulled out a 4-word description of Sinead O’Connor form our piece (“old and no fun”) and attributed it to the mainstream sexist rejection of O’Connor, and described us as throwing her under the bus.

    This is distressing, and out of context seems plausible. Among our core principles at The Stake is rejection of this kind of behavior. The quote you pull describes a rejection of O’Connor by Miley Cyrus or others, not our own. Sinead is neither old, nor is she no fun.

    There are few who are more supportive of Sinead O’Connor’s work and activism than I am, having followed her career for 20 years and been inspired by her courage and faith to live well and treat others with dignity. That anything I’ve done could be seen as throwing her under the bus breaks my heart.

    Working against the sexualization of young women’s bodies, the crisis of violence against women, and the commodification of youth is central to the work of The Stake and my writing and activism elsewhere.

    If I failed to make that clear, that’s my fault. But I don’t want your readers to think The Stake is a place that engages in any such behavior. What we do at The Stake could be of interest to your readers. I’d hate for us to be mis-characterized by a poor turn of phrase.

    Thanks.
    czf

    • Meghan Murphy

      Hi there,

      Thanks for the clarification. I was referencing this sentence: “It’s perfectly acceptable for Miley Cyrus to reject the lecture of an old and no-fun Sinead O’Connor. She’s an adult; she can do what she wants.”

      I’m happy to know that you weren’t intending to support this kind of ageist and sexist stereotyping. Perhaps you might consider rephrasing that sentence as it does read literally…

      In any case, I’ve edited the link to reflect your clarification.

      Thanks again
      Meghan

      • czf

        You mean the indefinite article did not clearly express that this interpretation of O’Connor was but one interpretation attached to Miley Cyrus, and not to the author?

        The post has been edited for clarity.
        c

        • Meghan Murphy

          Yes. I sounded as though the writer was saying: “It’s perfectly acceptable for Miley Cyrus to reject the lecture of an old and no-fun Sinead O’Connor. She’s an adult; she can do what she wants.” Were you meaning to say that this is what Cyrus was thinking? Or that others were thinking?

          Thanks again for clarifying — appreciated.

  • LLE

    If O’Connor only answered to the exploiters, we would have say that she was ignoring Cyrus. The letter was directed at Cyrus as a warning from a concerned older singer who faced the same situation back in time.
    And making it public is about telling every young woman through pretending to speak to Cyrus only.

    What is sexist about warning a young woman that she is swimming into deep sea encouraged by sharks?

    • Donna Gratehouse

      Maybe that characterizing men as “sharks” absolves them of responsibility for their behavior?

      • LLE

        Animal metaphores are indeed easy and problematic (and I as a vegan especially should avoid it) for sure, now, the fact that Cyrus is surrounded by predators is not even a question. And that is not about absolving them: it is about telling how dangerous they are. Predators, real ones. Far more than sharks really are (except if you are a fish I guess, but i think sharks don’t feel the need to track dows preys one after the other. They probably take breaks? Humans predators don’t).

        ” It’s plain sexism to assume that men are raging beasts incapable of controlling their lust so the onus is on women to keep them in line.

        And who said that here? That the discourse patriarchy is building to maintain an atmosphere of fear among women (men have and incredible strengh and it could get out of control if you don’t keep your mouth shut : fear them, do not defy them, speak bad at them and don’t forget to laugh at their misogynists jokes or it could have serious consequences). Men are not beasts of course, but they are raised by having and to have power over women. And because of that, many of them are dangerous to us, from an extent to another.

        And by the way: I am new to this website. Are you a troll?

      • Flávia

        look, even thought i think you are being a little bit obnoxious, i will try to answer in an OK manner. i know we are told men are sexual beasts that “simply can’t control it”, therefore it is not their fault. but honestly, i don’t think this is what sinead o’connor wanted to say, or anyone else in here. in this particular case, i think what was being said is that men were brought up to abuse and take advantage of women. not because they are inherently like that, but because we live in a system were men have power over women. this is no excuse for their behaviour either, because they are not acritical beings that just “take things as they are”. if they had any intentions on being nicer persons, they would be! and they would take a deep look on they violent behaviours and try to stop them. but they don’t, because they WANT to be in power, they want all the benefits that come along with it. and people might say not all men are like that, or that some women are bad too; which is true, but the vast majority of abusers are men. simple as that.

        i think sinead did not write to the men in music industry, because they will never change. they make huge profits out of it, and probably sexually assault women every now and again. they get their kick out of it. they won’t change. and that is not her point. she wanted to spread a message to women, not to let themselves be prostituted (in her words. you can say be taken advantage of based on their sex, reduced to objects of sexual desire, bla bla bla)because they are worth more than that! their worth does not lie solely on how well they pretend objects are penises and lick them or show their crotch in a way it suggests there could be a penis in there.

        also, she does not say women should be the ones to keep men in line AT ALL. she quite literally says women should feel free to shoot those motherfuckers down. i mean, honestly? don’t put words that don’t exist in there.

  • Kylie

    I understand your point about ageism and do think it is important to allow younger people to learn from those older than them; however, ageism also works by suggesting that younger people have no clue/no maturity/no decision-making skills/etc.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I don’t think that younger people have no clue/maturity/decision-making skills at all, but they have significantly less than they will in ten, fifteen, twenty years… My main frame of reference is my own personal experience…

      • Me

        The men running these businesses exploit the inexperience that comes with youth, obviously.

        Pedophiles are often very clever and effective at giving kids/youth a sense of power and daring and “independence”, only to pervert that and turn it into sexual service for themselves.

        Somewhat unrelated, you can make a safe bet that Terry Richardson masturbated to someone getting horribly raped and brutalized on screen the very same day he shot that “soft-core” of Cyrus, and the day before that and the day after. So I don’t see it all as very “soft-core” and I wonder how far in the safe distance can rape and sexual abuse be from a photo shoot like that? Clearly what they have in mind is a kind of prolonged sexual exploitation of her.

        • Meghan Murphy

          Very true (re: Richardson). I suppose I said “soft-core” because there was no literal sex, just pretty pornographic imagery.

          • Me

            Yes, of course, I didn’t mean to criticize that choice of words, and I also didn’t mean to imply that hard-core wouldn’t be much worse. Just that these people keep pushing the limit and keep redefining what goes, saying now this is still okay and now this, where in reality about nothing they’ve ever done has really been okay.

          • Meghan Murphy

            Oh totally. I agree!

  • ivy

    I agree with Sinaed O Conner….It is depressing as hell how men get respect for being talented, or intelligent or whatever. Women however are just supposed to be sexy. How in the world is that empowering?

  • Margo

    I appreciate Sinead’s letter and this article. What keeps striking me is how limiting, well basically impossible, it is to address the pornification of the culture, the sexualization of young girls, etc. within the framework of personal empowerment. It’s a social problem that’s doing great harm to all women and humanity as a whole. None of these horrors can be ended by people acting as individuals as if being objectified or exploited or raped is a personal problem. It’s true that ‘sexualization does not equal empowerment’ but empowerment should not even be the goal. Most people talking the talk of personal (or identity group) empowerment have given up on or were never about ending patriarchy. For that, you need a society-wide revolt against this revolting culture and the system that culture grew to reflect and enforce needs to be called out as the root. This is not to say that Sinead’s letter was no good because it didn’t do that. In some ways it did address the broader society and it was one artist reaching out to another and has real value and content. The point I’m trying to make is that I think the framework of what is and is not “empowerment” is not the question.

  • Lesbian By Choice

    Being a prostituted woman is not something to be ashamed of. How sad to say otherwise. Her careless words perpetuate hatred of the prostituted class. Also offensive to call someone like Miley so rich and privileged “prostituted”. Most prostituted women live in poverty, the prostituted women of Nevada are trapped in the brothels, taxis are not even allowed to drive to them. Many parts of it are pure misogyny rather than just problematic still happy to see a feminist deconstruction as always.

    • Lesbian By Choice

      I mean for Sinead to imply that being a prostituted woman is something to be ashamed of, not you btw.

    • “Being a prostituted woman is not something to be ashamed of.”

      No of course not. Neither is being hit by a bus, but one does try to avoid it. “Danger” signs at steep and unstable cliffs are not “shaming”. Fishers bait their hooks to make the hooks look like a yummy meal, not a horrid death. Giving someone a heads up that something that looks attractive on the surface might be toxic and terrible harmful is not shaming. It’s human decency.

    • Flávia

      i don’t think sinead said prostituted women should be ashamed of themselves. i think she has a very good choice of words in this case, honestly. she could have said “prostitutes” but she didn’t. she said “prostituted women”, which implies they were led to that path by the agency of other people (more specifically, men). these women were forced into prostitution by men. i don’t think she says miley cyrus is a prostitute either, i think she is using that imagery because miley is doing a “make believe” sexual act in front of cameras for attention and money (and sinead assumes men are the ones telling her to do that).

      that image that women are being forced into sexual abuse is just so strong. it is the opposite of “sex workers”, you know, those women who CHOSE to be in the business because they love their jobs. those women who have pretty nice lives, and some even that do tricks to pay for their uni. she didn’t go for this imagery, because prostitution is not about individual choice. it is about the violation of women on a systematic basis. and it is about the erasure of that violation, on the grounds that since these women receive some money it is just a normal trade between people and all is okay.

  • Jim Bunnelle

    Thank you. Finally. The first sane piece I’ve read on this entire fucking thing. I can’t even believe some of the so-called “feminist” shit that has been written about this. “Calling out sexual exploitation for profit” equates to “slut-shaming”?! “Slamming fucked-up capitalist patriarchal power structures” equates to “mothering”?! Are you fucking kidding me?! If you dumbshits are the future of feminism, we are DOOMED!!!!

  • Henke

    Capitalism has no morale, doesn’t care about personality, doesn’t care about anyones well-being.
    It can’t get more obvious that the dominant culture (in which capitalism is rooted) is turning everything into a product to be sold and used and women’s bodies are one of these products.

    A person doesn’t mean a thing anymore. We are all, regardless of sex, being called consumers instead of human beings.
    We are seen as human resources from more and more companies, a resource is something you use and throw away.

    I’m personally so sick of this society. So sick of being a part of it.
    And its so frustrating that things just seem to get worse in every aspect.
    I would like to say to Cyrus and everyone else too for that matter, reflect upon the world you are born into; Go out into a forest (if possible)
    Stay there for a few days. Breath in the air, listen to the land, connect with life!
    Feel and think. Reflect upon what society we are born into, what the dominant culture has made so many of us humans become and what it makes so many of us do.
    We are taught, since we are small, that we are civilised, but this isn’t civilised or is it ?!
    If this truly is what civilisation is and what being civilised means and represents. Then one of the biggest lies is that civilsation is good for us.

  • Lilith

    Cyrus on the Alan Carr show,http://www.channel4.com/programmes/alan-carr-chatty-man/4od#3576018
    Discussion of the making of Wrecking Ball starts at about 40:00.

    Part of the exchange

    Carr: ‘Why do you find sledgehammers such a turn on?’
    Cyrus: ‘…I was kind of joking, but kind of serious. Cause I was there with Terry Richardson who shot it, who was like kind of down for anything. And like you can just kind of really be into whatever you want.’
    Carr: ‘Because he’s really pervy, isn’t he. He loves it.’
    Cyrus: ‘I just kind of started licking it cause he told me to do sexy shit and I was like, errr, I don’t know what to do so I’m going to lick this and I was kind of joking and then he was like “keep going, it’s great, it’s great, it’s great” so then I just kept making out with it.’
    Carr: Do you reckon he’s getting more out it than you are?
    Audience laughs, as does Cyrus while looking uncomfortable, bringing hand up to face covering mouth.

    be into whatever you want
    he told me to do sexy shit
    I don’t know what to do
    he was like “keep going, it’s great, it’s great, it’s great”
    …so then I just kept making out with it

    • vouchsafer

      “be into whatever you want
      he told me to do sexy shit
      I don’t know what to do
      he was like “keep going, it’s great, it’s great, it’s great”
      …so then I just kept making out with it ”

      It’s the fun-fem philosophy in a nutshell, right? Be into whatever you want . . . unless it’s intelligent critique, if you’re into intelligent critique, don’t be, because that’s not cool. sigh.

      I was relieved to read O’Connor’s post because it gives me a resource to use to counter the “be into whatever you want” kind of porn culture message that we’re being marketed in coversations with my children about society. I applaud O’Connor’s intentions, just as I applauded her message when I was a teenager. When others were tarting themselves up she was shaving her head and speaking out against the trope of turning women into barbie dolls, and it was because of her that I first started to explore my feminist side. I’m relieved to see her counter-culture sentiment is alive and well, and relieved that she still cares enough to bother writing this letter.
      It’s one thing to throw your hands up and say, “This culture sucks” and be done with it. It’s another to try to do something about it, which O’Connor is.

      And as for Cyrus’s response of tweeting the mental illness stuff, well, it’s proof that what O’Connor said made her uncomfortable. “Sinead must be crazy to imply that this was something I would not have chosen for myself. I chose this . . . right? I was empowered . . . wasn’t i?”

      It must be such a such a difficult and confusing time to be young and be a girl, when “choose whatever you want” actually means “you have no choice – act porny”.

      • Lilith

        I don’t read it that way….

        Cyrus is told by Richardson “be into whatever *you* want”. That’s what every good liberal says, I don’t think even Meghan would demur from it. You like what you like, doesn’t make it palatable or feminist or whatever.

        Richardson tells her “to do sexy shit” – not what she wants, what Richardson wants

        Cyrus says “I’m like, errr, I don’t know what to do” (i.e. there is no ‘whatever *you* want’ there to express what innately ‘sexy’ might meant to her)

        And into that void of her not knowing floods a premade pallocentric fantasy of what ‘sexy’ means, which is then encouraged and validated by Richardson.

        That’s my reading of that exchange.

  • sporenda

    “inead to imply that being a prostituted woman is something to be ashamed of”

    I don’t think she implies that being a prostituted woman is something to be ashamed of, just that it is being exploited and degraded.
    If she said something like “don’t let them rape you!”, it would not imply that being raped is shameful.

  • Damien Otis

    why are we criticizing Miley Cyrus and not the sex media industrial complex that keeps this shit going? we need to be more upstream about this.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Um. The “sex media industrial complex” (I don’t know what is, ftr) is exactly what we’re criticizing. Also patriarchy.

  • Eve Palmer

    Sinead wasn’t implying that a prostituted woman should be ashamed. These commentators who suggest her comments target the victim are only further encouraging a sense of helplessness among women who feel trapped in a life of prostitution (“literally” or figuratively). These supposed sympathizers of women who sell themselves (whether willingly or under varying degrees of duress) only further strip them of the power to walk away. It is hard to change your life when all options seem completely out of reach. But no one ever succeeds in beating the odds by seeing themselves as helpless victims. The victims should be called upon to fight their way out. As someone else pointed out, Sinead directed her comments to the only person who can save Miley.

  • sporenda

    The pornification of Miley Cyrus dates from the Spring of 2012, when she hired a new manager, Larry Rudolph.
    This guy is definitely an expert when it comes to turning a young girl next door into a soft porn star: he was managing Britney Spears’ career at the time of “ I’m a Slave 4 U ”, the first “hot single” of the singer.

    Every year, the industry creates and “discovers” a new flavor of the month blonde, they pimp her for all they can get, chew her up, spit her out when she is worn out and turned into damaged goods by the intensive pimping and the psychological destruction caused by it.

    It’s the same with porn actresses who last 2 or 3 years in the industry, as the porn dudes ask them to accept more and more degrading and physically damaging acts, which they do– until nobody wants them.

    If you want to know what Miley Cyrus is going to look like 7 years from now (or even less), look at Britney Spears.

    • Pkrt

      Yes!! Thank you for pointing it out, it’s kinda like stating the obvious but at the end of the day no one talks about this – this is the fist comment I’ve read that mentions it.

      This is the same old s***, repeated history: she’s going to be the new Britney. Everyone should watch South Park, they warned us this was going to happen to Miley Cyrus in the episode ‘Britney’s new look’, and that was in 2008, 4 years before she hired this dude you talk about.

      The 3rd wave feminists who claim this is empowerment really need to stop and think for a minute, because it seems they have all misunderstood what this letter was about.

  • Laur

    For those who are saying Miley is *choosing* to be in these videos, yes, she is. But what do most music videos look like? They have continuously upped the anti on the objectification of women over the years. In a world of actualy choices, Miley could say she prefers not to lick a hammer, or twerk, or say stripping and the party life are the only things she cares about. Mysteriously (or not), all the most played female singers today are “choosing” to take moves from strip clubs and say in their music that all they care about is money, partying, and sex. Where is the choice here??

    Since Sinead wrote an “open letter,” to Cyrus, I don’t know that she seriously thought Cyrus was going to say, “yeah, you’re right,” and suddenly go public and say she regrets all her dance moves. But the letter is also being read my women who ARE exposed to Cyrus’s video. And it’s bringing up a much-needed discussion about how much “choice” women have, when we do want to be successful as defined by capitalist, male supremacist, white supremacist culture.

    Furthermore, for years now, many of the same (male) directing of pornography have been directing music videos. Since most men watch pornography, they feed off a pop culture that has become increasingly blurred with pornography itself.

    Men could start demanding something else in their entertainment. They could stigmatize men who do watch pornography and pornographic entertainment. Social isolation/stigma is a really powerful tool.

    • lizor

      Exactly Laur. I find the whole “individual choice” nonsense almost unbearable. Young women who cut themselves are also making an “individual choice” that is detrimental to them and is most certainly exacerbated, if not entirely caused by a hostile, oppressive and all-round toxic culture.

      Honestly, this neoliberal Thatcherian bullshit makes me ill.

  • Henke

    I read in Swedish press today that Annie Lennox got involved in this too and gave some critique against the musicindustry (and esp. directed to these kind of music videos) in which she among other things wrote that “the music industry is selling porn in the disguise as music” which I thought was a very honest description.

  • I am so glad I found this site. Finally a feminist who recognizes the truth about pop culture and “slut shaming” without being a radfem. Practically everything here sums up my opinions. Exploitation is not freedom.