Miley Cyrus: role model or a little too much role play?

October 4, 2013 3:51 pm

Miley Cyrus’ much talked about VMA performance: was it an independent 20 year old women challenging social boundaries or merely a naive young girl craving attention?
Although I feel the drama surrounding Miley’s antics was a little over the top, it has raised an important question, why do female artists resort to sexuality or scandal to stand out in their industry?

miley cyrusIn some of the uproar surrounding Miley it has been said that with her performance she blended into the crowd, and her antics ‘smacked of ‘Rihanna’,she simply lacked originality and class. Other female artists were quick to comment on the performance including Kelly Clarkson who tweeted about it with the caption ‘#pitchystrippers’. And Katy Perry, who also performed at the awards ceremony, said when questioned that her performance was scandalous ‘because she kept her clothes on’. But the most influential of all commentary was that of Anna Wintour who described Miley’s shenanigans as ‘distasteful’, and has dropped the star from Vogue’s December issue as a result.

In defence of Cyrus, she is merely a 20 year old experimenting with her identity like the majority of people her ages, yet she is severely criticized due to her public upbringing. Miley rose to fame as Disney’s squeaky clean Hannah Montanna making her fortune and becoming a role mdel for many of the young female fans the show acquired. It is not uncommon for child stars who have grown up in a pressured, public environment to rebel when they come of age and try to distance themselves from a younger image.
In addition to this it is extremely difficult to stand out within an industry without some kind of outrageous trademark, for example take Lady GaGa’s never-ending eccentric wardrobe choices or Rihanna’s constant undressing.

However Miley is just one in a long line of female celebrities who have embraced scandal and sex, and using it as part of their trademark. A prime example being that of Rihanna whose violent on/off relationship with Chris Brown, semi-naked instagram feed and her public love for cannabis has all become a part of her ‘G4Life’ reputation.
And across the pond our very own Tulisa has been rocked by scandal including the leaped sex tape with ex Justin Edwards, her arrest for attempt to sell cocaine to an undercover journalist and her foul-mouthed twitter feed have all joined to form her ‘Female Boss’ alter ego.
So in comparison to other female within her profession is Miley as shocking as she is being portrayed?
Personally I don’t think the performance itself or Miley’s image upheaval is so bad, she is a young woman enjoying her freedom, independence and expressing herself. I mean what 20 year old living in the City of Angels with a multi-million dollar fortune at their feet have a little fun with it? Her image is her business, and we as the consumer (whether we hate it or love it) buy into this. And as for Miley, well she laughing all the way to the bank…

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