Controversial? Yes. Self-Indulgent? Yes. Publicity genius? Without a shadow of a doubt. Miley Cyrus is the hot topic on everyone’s lips and her music, particularly “Wrecking Ball,” is inescapable from everyone’s minds. They love to hate her and whittle her down to descriptions like “disgusting”, “classless”, and “vomit-inducing.” Why does she provoke such strong opinions in people? Why is it that Miley Cyrus is deemed an “attention-whore” and yet stars like Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj get applauded for their outrageous behavior? Does it all stem from the country’s desire to revert Cyrus back to her Disney Channel self and deny her the ability to age by her own definition?
Admittedly, Cyrus’s VMA performance was incredibly inappropriate considering the environment and the audience. However, the timeline of events that followed the performance on Aug. 25 was expertly formulated to ensure a publicity riot. The video for “Wrecking Ball” was released Sept. 9 and had 81,028,646 views as of 12:26 a.m. on Sept. 14. For those not mathematically-inclined, that equates to 16 million views a day. Something is not quite adding up; here we all openly object to being named a “smiler”, the title given to Miley fans, and yet we have been obsessively talking about her and listening to her music relentlessly. We can’t stop commenting on her perpetual nakedness, her tongue, her twerking, and the current status of her relationship with Liam Hemsworth (which as of now they are still together for all those keeping up with the rumor waves). Why do we feel the need to judge her so harshly and bash everything she does?
The media was so appalled by her VMA performance that they began to cash-in on America’s distaste for the grotesque happenings that surround Cyrus. When photo stills were released from “Wrecking Ball,” everyone became quickly judgmental of the singer’s new video. In fact, most people were turned off by the video before they had even seen it. Many were offended by her being naked in the video. On the contrary, the video is about so much more than Cyrus’s nakedness. It artistically illustrates pain bundled with the strength and weakness. It’s a beautiful video that highlights emotions that unite people, not isolating Cyrus from everyone else.
Why we must swiftly judge her for expressing raw emotion in an artistic manner is confusing. Cyrus is no longer Hannah Montana and it is clear that she is overcompensating for her previous identity. She is, however, overcompensating because the media is constantly trying to define her through the Disney Channel. We all want her to be the perfectly-groomed princess and role model that we have come to expect from actresses such as Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale. Cyrus has made it very clear that she is not Selena Gomez. Hannah Montana was an insertion point for Cyrus, but nothing more. She has no connection to the character, especially now. In our subconscious, however, Cyrus will always be her alter ego which categorizes her as the “appropriate for children” demographic. When she defies this demographic, we become upset and appalled by her transforming; clawing our eyes out at her blatant disregard for our Hannah Montana nostalgia.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy Cyrus’s music, but I by no means agree with everything she does. I do, however, think she or someone in her camp is an absolute genius. They have found the magical formula for infecting the minds of the American public. Our comparisons to her former self are the only inhibitions that restrain the Cyrus from making a complete transformation. It may take a while for us to accept Cyrus as her new self, but until then we can’t stop listening to “Wrecking Ball.”