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SEXIST BEATDOWN: La Cage Aux Miley Edition

So! As you may very well know, by now, this Monday I participated in Harvard’s Rethinking Virginity conference. I talked! I listened! I ate mini-burritos! I Tweeted the whole darn thing, along with many of the other panelists! (Seriously: #rethinkingvirginity. It is a fun hash tag! Look it up.)

The particular panel on which I appeared, of course, was “Debunking the Virginity Ideal: The Feminist Response to Slut-Shaming and Sexual Scare Tactics.” Or, as we were introduced by the REMARKABLY DELIGHTFUL Shelby Knox on the day of the conference, “The Slut Panel!” The ladies I got to be on this panel with: You would, for real, not believe them. Like, Chloe Angyal, who is maybe one of the funniest people I have ever met, and also the most capable of engaging in a spirited discussion of the robotic expressions of Colin Firth in Bridget Jones’s Diary. Or Therese Schecter, who can turn your whole virginity thinking upside down with a word. Or Lux Alptraum, who was our moderator, and can I tell you: Not only is Lux a lovely lady, and very funny, but she moderates panels like Jimi Hendrix played guitar. She knows exactly what to ask, and how to ask it, and when you need to shut up, and she makes the whole thing look  effortless. This panel: I was so thrilled to be on it! (I was also, can I tell you, thrilled to have been described in the Boston Phoenix as “sharp” and to have been quoted in a way that made it sound as if I had points and was not just yelling about Taylor Swift and Tina Fey; I was furthermore thrilled NOT to have been quoted AT ALL in the Harvard Crimson, for lo, I did go off on an extensive tangent re: Brazilians and anal sex before the very eyes and notebook of Alice, the lovely reporter assigned to the story, and also I believe we discussed Penazzling and whether a jewel-encrusted phallus should, in fact, be referred to as “The Dark Crystal.” The reasons for my inclusion in the Slut Panel, I am telling you, QUICKLY BECAME SELF-EVIDENT in that discussion.)

So! On the Slut Panel, we discussed some ridiculous circumstances under which people might call you a slut, in manners overt or covert, or otherwise indicate that they are freaked the fuck out by your sexuality and want you to SHUT IT DOWN right away. They include!

  • Having some sex!
  • Having TOO MUCH of the sex!
  • Having THE WRONG KINDS of sex!
  • NOT having the sex, but being perceived as extremely sexy, due to
  • Having breasts, or
  • Wearing outfits that people think are hot, or
  • Wearing makeup, or
  • “Conforming to patriarchal beauty standards” (read: Having breasts, wearing outfits that people think are hot, wearing makeup, etc.), or
  • Having tattoos? As per Tina Fey. OR,
  • Being extremely comfortable with talking about sex (at least ONE of us on this panel thinks this is massively unfair, and also talked about buttsex in front of the Harvard Crimson reporter). OR,
  • Being a sex worker. This one freaks out even the sex-positives, we learned. It is like: “Sure, I enjoy porn, and support the rights of others to enjoy porn. But YOU MADE PORN. FLEE FROM MY SIGHT, WHORECREATURE!”
  • OR, you know, being sexually assaulted. Yep, some people will call you a slut if you’re sexually assaulted! Or let your rapist go free because they think you’re a slut! This one’s a fucking downer.
  • Which is but one of the reasons you shouldn’t call ladies sluts.

Yes, truly, when people are more angry and disturbed by the fact that Bombshell McGee slept with another lady’s husband than they are by the fact that she might be a motherfucking Nazi, Something Is Wrong With Our Society. But there was at least one common occasion for slut-shaming (and virgin-shaming! Because THAT IS A DEAL TOO, we learned) that we did not discuss. It is:

  • Being a beloved squeaky-clean tween pop sensation who decides it is time to Reinvent Her Image and Be An Adult Now and releases a sextacular music video as a statement to that effect, possibly involving a Goth-inflected bird costume incorporating a single thigh-high boot.

So: That Miley video! Did you see it? Did you hear the hoopla about it? Did you ever wonder what it means for How We At Once Fetishize and Fear and Seek to Control the Sexuality of the Young Women Today? Because Amanda Hess of The Sexist and I are here, and we are going to help you to figure this issue out! But first, a little light music.

ILLUSTRATION: Can’t be TAAAAAAAMED! Can’t be BLAAAAAAAAAMED! It’s in her DNAAAAAAAAAA! Can’t can’t can’t… Can’t get the fucking chorus out of your head, is what you can’t do. DAMN YOU AND YOUR NEWER, MORE ADULT IMAGE, MILEY CYRUS!

AMANDA: Hello!

SADY: Why hello! I have worn my bird cage hat of Serious Analysis to this meeting. My Serious Analysis is: The children! Are they getting too sexy? Specifically the beloved starlet children who live as normal tweens by day, international pop stars by night?

AMANDA: Allow me to answer that question with a prediction: In about two years, Justin Bieber will announce his grownupedness by appearing in a video surrounded by women dressed as sexy aardvarks, or something.

SADY: PROBABLY. I think that’s the next big step for the Beebs. That or allowing leaked photos of his very first armpit hair to appear on TMZ. But dudes don’t have to, like, “grow up” by announcing how sexy they are now. Not the way ladies do.

AMANDA: Yeah, I mean, it seems that the sign of grownupedness is ladies without pants, and so if you’re a lady, take off your pants, and if you’re a man, get some ladies and take off their pants. Lady Gaga has of course complicated this equation by making sexiness also about dressing like bizarre animals. Which is hilarious, because now when you have parents clutching their pearls over this, they also necessarily have to be like “And what’s with the kids these days with the bird costumes?”

SADY: Right? Not only do they have to worry about the teens doing the sexy dances, they also have to worry that their wholesome sons and daughters are going to slaughter everybody in the IHOP and get sent to Bitch Prison. I mean, it’s interesting to me, though, like the whole transition from “innocent” (or “not that innocent” in one notable case) to “I am wearing a thigh-high boot, spinning around a pole, and letting backup dancers lick my face” that so many women who grow up in the public eye have to undergo. Like the ONLY OPTION is publicly performing “virgin” or publicly performing “SEX SEX LOOK AT ME IT’S POSSIBLE I MIGHT BE HAVING SEX.” For ladies. Dudes are just allowed to grow up gracefully, more often. And there’s nothing wrong with being licked! Or spinning around a pole, if you want to do that! It’s just like… she HAS to announce adulthood with these very public, very overt signifiers of sexuality.

AMANDA: I know, I was wracking my brain for young pop stars who have not gone through the Not Wearing Pants phase, and the only ones I can think of are a) Kelly Clarkson, who wrote a song about how she doesn’t hook up and how she can clean up the mess your ex-girlfriend made who probably does hook up because all the kids are doing it, and b) Taylor Swift, who, well WE KNOW. WE KNOW ABOUT THAT ONE. For the record, I’m not a pop star, and I’ve attended several parties where I haven’t worn pants the whole time at those parties. IT HAPPENS. But the dichotomy is really frustrating.

SADY: Yeah. I mean, me and pants have a troubled history. There was a time, Amanda! A time when I was convinced leggings were, in fact, pants! A time when I was TERRIBLY WRONG. And I enjoy taking my pants off in certain conducive contexts, of course, as we all do. Nobody wants to wear pants permanently! Except for Tobias Funke!

AMANDA: Haha Indeed. But so, I was thinking about Thinking of the Children the other day. And how Think of the Children is almost always used as a really transparent cover that adults use to condemn something they’re extremely uncomfortable with at all ages, and then claim that they’re only protecting The Children from it, instead of themselves.

SADY: Yeah. And Thinking Of The Children often seems to involve… not a lot of thinking about how The Children actually tend to behave? Like: My shameful secret is that I actually ENJOY THE HELL out of this video. Not because it’s “empowering,” or because I take ANY of its messages at face value, but because — like Miley herself — it’s so goofy and embarrassing in precisely the ways that 17-year-old-girl rebellion is goofy and embarrassing.

AMANDA: It’s pretty much the Twilight of videos. Except less virginy.

SADY: Haha, yeah. I mean, it’s so high school! Like: She is in a CAGE! A CAGE of your JUDGING HER! But she is a bird that Cannot, as the saying goes, be Tamed! or Blamed! She will do what she wants! GET OUT OF HER ROOM, MOMMMMMMM. SHE’LL WEAR WHATEVER SHE WANTS TO WEAR OH MY GOD STOP MAKING SUCH A BIG DEAL OUT OF IT I WANT TO DIE I HATE YOU I HATE YOU. And then the door slams. And the video’s over.

AMANDA: And then she gives this interview where she Explains, like, what the video is about. It’s about being an adult now, GOD.

SADY: Right! I mean: We talk about growing up in public. But Miley Cyrus, despite (DON’T READ THIS PART, MILEY CYRUS) having released some of my least favorite songs EVER, actually seems to be, like… growing up. In public. With all the associated awkwardness. But that’s the thing, about Thinking About the Children: We have this very idealized normative concept of how a “good” teen behaves and it’s just not in line with these realities. At all! And honestly it is, as you said, just about shoving aside what makes us uncomfortable.

AMANDA: Yeah, and why the fuck are we acting like all our insecurities can be resolved by Miley Cyrus not doing some weird shit in a music video? I’ll also add that Miley’s actually doing pretty fucking awesome at navigating all this stuff. In February, she said this: “My job isn’t to tell your kids how to act or how not to act because I’m still figuring that out for myself. To take that away from me is a bit selfish . . . Your kids are going to make mistakes whether I do or not. That’s just life.” Coming from someone who was EVISCERATED for appearing in a magazine with her back visible, that point is well-taken.

SADY: WHOA. Miley seems really together! In that quote! Sorry, Miley! I mean, yeah: I think the fact that our cultural insecurities CAN be raised by just such a video is pretty telling. Like that not-really-pole-dancing she did that one time, or the Liebowitz shot: A lot of it was just grown men (and women) being all, “I’m afraid this might turn me on! And I’m scared!” And, yeah, you ought notta be eroticizing the teenagers. But constantly monitoring this one specific female teenager to determine whether she’s inappropriately sexy is, like… Not that much less creepy? I think young women’s sexuality is often put in that place of overtly well-meaning, covertly creepy monitoring. Like, we’re SO OBSESSED with young women not being sexual (which they really usually are) that we constantly evaluate how sexual they are. And then there’s all the teen-eroticizing that takes place ANYWAY, because it’s so taboo. And the result is Britney, America’s #1 Virgin, dancing in a Catholic schoolgirl outfit, and later sort of cracking under the weight of how VERY many contradictions she was expected to represent.

AMANDA: Right. I’ll take the bird costume. And the adult hand-ringing: It is extremely creepy, and it’s directly related to people being freaked out about their own interest in Miley Cyrus. But like, for 17 year old boys and ladies, a crush on Miley is extremely reasonable? And Miley is, as I read in a recent story, 17 AND A HALF. A half! She’s almost 18. Let her wear not-pants!

SADY: Yeah, exactly. Like: I think it’s totally fine for teens to be sexual, WITH EACH OTHER. Provided they’re educated enough to not take stupid risks and hurt themselves or others. Even if I was like, “it’s not okay! Stop doing that, teens! STOP IT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I SAID SO,” they would do it anyway. But there’s no safe space in this culture for a young woman to sort of grow into her sexuality, because it’s fetishized and demonized and the fetishization and the demonization are directly connected. So people want you and they hate you and they hate you because they want you and they want you because they hate you and it is basically a wonder any of us gets through it even semi-intact.

AMANDA: Right. It’s just important to make the distinction between OH MY DISNEY GIRL SEXY AVIAN COSTUME WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO OUR CHILDREN! and saying, Hey, it must be hard to be a Girl, Not Yet A Woman in the spotlight and be criticized no matter how you want to grow into adulthood. I will say that the song kind of sucks, in a not-criticizing-her-burgeoning-sexuality kind of way.

SADY: Oh, yeah. I mean, I am not going to the “Miley, your expensive silver corset denotes your Brainwashing By The Patriarchy” place. Not in my lifetime! And I hope I’m not saying that I think she’s stupid or anything — just in a really awkward place, and I kind of find the very awkwardness of the place charming, because I have so been there. Also her Autotune makes her sound like a cartoon animal, though. Which is not a criticism of her sexuality or body, just of the fact that it like squeaks and she reminds me of a Forest Friend offering helpful advice. “You can’t be blamed either Sady! Come with me to my land of mystical enchantments! We’ll have a tea party with all the other bunny rabbits!” EEK.

AMANDA: I can’t wait until Autotune is recognized as a feminist issue


AMANDA: Yes, but on the other hand, Autotune helps to equalize a patriarchal music industry standard which prefers women with naturally pleasant singing voices.

SADY: That’s so last-wave-of-Autotune politics! I prize the sound of ALL voices! Howsoever sucky!



    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink
  2. Kiri wrote:

    That last exchange made me giggle.

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Permalink
  3. Courtney wrote:

    This is the first entry of yours that I’ve read straight through. I enjoyed it. I share many of the same opinions. Thank you for writing this!

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  4. As usual, you two are dead-on and side-splitting. As for that video…is it wrong that I will like Miley so, so much more if she says she intended the nest to be an homage to Barbarella?

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink
  5. Laura wrote:

    Remember when women weren’t EVER allowed to wear pants? This is, like, some kind of strange reversal of that. Sort of. Not really.

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink
  6. Yes, truly, when people are more angry and disturbed by the fact that Bombshell McGee slept with another lady’s husband than they are by the fact that she might be a motherfucking Nazi, Something Is Wrong With Our Society. But there was at least one common occasion for slut-shaming (and virgin-shaming! Because THAT IS A DEAL TOO, we learned) that we did not discuss. It is:

    Can I get a what what? Seriously, I was more horrified at the slut shaming, than even the Nazi stuff – and I’m a JEW. Focusing on the wrong part of story and tedious application of selective feminism is really at the heart of all this. Not to mention the classist aspects of the attacks on McGee – labeling her as “trashy” and various other problematic nature.

    Her class status, race or sexual desires do not concern me. Her bigotry does, and oddly enough folks were quick to suggest calling her out on that wasn’t “productive” or appropriate.

    Thank you for this.

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink
  7. lizzard wrote:

    Best post ever! Hooray for the slut panel!

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink
  8. Robin wrote:

    Where’s my androgynous horde of writhing male dancers?

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
  9. Alicia wrote:

    This video brought to mind the Ascot scene from My Fair Lady — speaking of young women climbing the social ladder amid contrary expectations of refinement/innocence and enormous, ridiculous costumes involving corsets and hats and feathers.

    Does this make Billy Ray Cyrus into Henry Higgins?

    Better point: how much of Miley Cyrus’ ability to navigate the famescape is due to her father’s having some experience within it himself? As opposed to Lynn Spears, for instance?

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  10. Erin wrote:

    @ Robin

    Here you go, Sue Sylvester will help you out.

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
  11. Tasha Fierce wrote:

    I wonder what happened to the days when a celebrity teen at Miley’s age might be preparing to go to college and drop out of extremely public life for 4 years, then emerge all mature and possibly (because we don’t know for sure!) devirginized. I guess that mainly happens with “serious actresses” like Jodie Foster or Natalie Portman. Music seems to be a particularly sexualized form of entertainment.

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  12. queen emily wrote:

    As well as the Important Post-Post-Feminist Politics of Autotune, I feel it’s worth mentioning the complex pop semiotics of the time signature and music production. That glam shuffle has been signifying “sexy’ (journalists love describing it as “slinky”) ever since Goldfrapp dusted it off in 2003 and chucked on some synths. Miley’s following a proud lineage that includes Britney, Katy Perry, Kylie, Xtina, Rachel Stevens and.. umm.. Fall Out Boy?

    I love pop music in all its crappy forms, but why *does* electronic signify sexy?

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
  13. Xandra wrote:

    @ badassmuppet Oh, gosh, I hope I hope I hope the nest is a Barbarella homage!

    This video fascinates me! I feel like we need to talk about it in the context of how there is a history of putting people on quasi-scientific display (and mostly women of color – I’m thinking of people like Saartjie Baartman, you know, the Hottentot Venus, and other people who were brought to the West by colonizers as “specimens”) but I don’t have anything coherent to say on the subject yet so I will just have to go obsess over the video repeatedly until I do! Like, what does it mean for white girl Miley to draw on this racially charged imagery?

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Permalink
  14. Blue wrote:

    SO glad you mentioned the Autotune. That shit always gets to me. WHY CAN’T WE ACCEPT THE HUMAN VOICE AS A REAL INSTRUMENT!?
    Everyone who uses Autotune needs to know that Beth Ditto quote about the female voice.

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink
  15. Eneya wrote:

    @Erin, you’re awesome. 🙂 Sue S. is awesome too. 🙂
    @Sady, did anyone recorder the whole event? I missed it, because I was stuck on this small, wet island called Britain and so far it sounds so cool and awesome… and I really want to see what I missed.

    About the song… damn this girl can’t sing, but I liked the video. Although it makes me cock an eyebrow. Growing up is all about further sexualizing yourself and wearing less and less clothes but only if you are a lady? Why?
    Miley looks… ok, I guess, but she looks kind of uncomfortable in that role. I didn’t believe she is really this wild (always wild, always uncontrollable, always references to animals, uh) creature, more like wants to be and I think this is part of the reason I liked the video – it’s so obvious “Look, I am a big girl now, I wear high heels and no pants” but it’s also incredibly sad in a way. Bumping from one stereotype into another, trying to figure out yourself where and how you feel comfortable and how to feel comfortable in your skin juggling with the obsession with the public of how a lady should look, act, think.

    Pretty exhausting…

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Permalink
  16. Sady wrote:

    @Eneya: Actually, yes! Therese filmed the panel, and some other things. I don’t know how much of it she’ll use, but she’s making a documentary about virginity right now. She runs The American Virgin, which is, and bits of film occasionally show up there, so if you subscribe, you could very well see it there!

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  17. ozymandias wrote:

    I think that some of the slutshaming of Miley is due to people going, “hey, look, Miley Cyrus, my kids listen to– DAMN SHE IS HOT.” Which creates a bit of cognitive dissonance that is expressed in the form of “stop being a slut and making me feel like a pervert!”

    Friday, May 7, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
  18. Afurtiveone wrote:

    First off, I love Sady/Amanda/Sexist Beatdown so much there should be a special Slut Panel for it.

    I have realized that the Supervirgin vs. Megawhore female popstar framework is why at 13 I haaaated Britney Spears, but at 22 am like, “Ah yes, your dance beats, I enjoys them.” B. Spears was this unavoidable massive image of Becoming A Woman (and of course, a Sexxxay Woman! But not a Slutbag Woman, ew!), and 13-year-old me was like “OMG, Britney, stop doing that, the sexy-naughty-jailbait-but-also-a-good-pure-virgin tightrope act! I don’t want to have to do that to be a Grown-Up Type Lady!” Now that I am out of the dystopian hellscape of middle school, I realize that it was not in fact Britney Spears’ personal diabolical scheme to make the whole world a skeezy place for 13-year-old girls, but in fact ZOMGPATRIARCHY! ,etc., so it was skeezy for everyone including her, and at least no international press wanted to talk about my Virgin/Whore-itude, so now I am like “I feel you, BritBrit, we Are Cool.”

    Also, while watching the video of Miley and her SexyGothyBirdFriends doing The Sexy Dancing, I kept expecting Adam Lambert and his equally Sexy Dancing and SexyGothyButNon-AvianFriends from that ‘For Your Entertainment’ video to show up and have a SexyGothyDanceBattle to determine who is the Sexiest, Gothiest,TotallyNotSqueakyClean!OhMyGoshYouGuysIAmTotallyASexualBeing!WhoWouldTotallyHaveTHESEX!11!!-iest of Them All. Which I admit I would completely love to watch- I need to be on the SexyGothyDanceBattle Slut Panel as well.

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 3:03 am | Permalink
  19. ND wrote:

    I love pop music in all its crappy forms, but why *does* electronic signify sexy?

    I’ve wondered that too. I think it’s got something to do with how “electronic” is experienced as non-organic, and how that evokes the future and a post-biologic physicality that’s divorced from sexual reproduction, which in turn signifies (and imagines or proposes or promises) sexualities disconnected from reproductive ends, which in turn untethers and unencumbers sex itself from reproduction, which is what makes sex “sexy.” Or something like that.

    I think that’s why the future is so often imagined as androgynous, not because of gender’s dissolution, but because of its separation from sex as a reproductive function, which totally de-essentializes it.

    That post-biologic post-human feel is what both appeals and repels about autotuned vocals. It’s like compellingly creepy. So real it’s beyond fake. Or is it the other way around?

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 5:35 am | Permalink
  20. Sady wrote:

    @ND, queen emily: I just thought it had to do with the legacy of disco!

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  21. queen emily wrote:

    @ND I think you’re onto something. And of course, these things shift, which has how the electric guitar could be figured as inauthentic (but sexy) early on and is now seen as comfortingly real 50 years later. I couldn’t see autotune going through a similar evolution, though I spose anything’s possible. Oddly enough some underground djs use the old analog Roland 303 synth as an avatar of realness (notoriously unpredictable so sorta-live, and the reference to the origins of acid house in Chicago and Detroit).

    @Sady That too. Curse that Moroder!

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  22. dillene wrote:

    Okay, my question: why is it when women (and usually men) want to sing about being more adult, that means singing exclusively about sex and relationships? Really? Is that the only signifier of adulthood? Maybe I’m just not listening to the right artists, but I want to hear Lady Gaga sing about trying to get a promotion at work and refinancing her mortgage.

    “4.75% APR baaaaby, yeahhhhh . . .”

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 11:18 am | Permalink
  23. Nancy wrote:

    Thanks for sharing the video, I had totally missed it and any hoopla surrounding it. It has served only to deepen my existing confusion on the whole Miley Cyrus issue, because, as a woman myself and as the parent of a young girl, I:

    a) do not find her Hannah Montana persona particularly wholesome or a positive female role model; and

    b) found the pictures of her posing with her father to be *far* more disturbing than the naked-back shot, which I read as a comment on her vulnerability in the context of her already well-underway inappropriate sexualization.

    So, for me this comes across less as a statement of bold, adult female sexuality than as either a foot-stomping teenage declaration of independence or yet another calculated, media-savvy manipulation of popular taste by Miley Cyrus, Inc. I haven’t decided which yet. I’d be more inclined to believe this was really her talking if she had filthy hair and bare feet and was singing an unplugged version of “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” with a few key phrases changed.

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink
  24. Hey Slutty Sady – I think your description of the SLUT panel is at least as hilarious as it actually was! Such a pleasure and honor to share the (imaginary) podium with you, Chloe, Lux and Shelby.

    To answer Enaya’s question about video of the conference, it’s a mixed bag:

    Good news: we did shoot part of the conference and some interviews for the documentary I’m working on.

    Bad news: There were no mikes, so the audio is not at all ideal.

    Good news: I was miked for the whole day for video purposes, so you can hear me repeatedly demand for some love for the older virgins. Also Lux and Chloe might be OK since they were sitting next to me, and Sady’s probably fine cuz she talks real loud.

    Bad news: I’m halfway around the world for the next month or so, so I’ll really only take a look at it in June and will post some choice excerpts then.

    Good news: I’ll let Sady know so she’ll tell you all. Or you can follow along on my blog which Sady gave a link to above.

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
  25. Gina wrote:

    “yet another calculated, media-savvy manipulation of popular taste by Miley Cyrus, Inc.”

    This. Miley Cyrus is a product, one originally designed by Disney, and now being manufactured by the male-owned record industry. I don’t mean to take away her autonomy as a person, and I do think that quote about letting her make her own mistakes shows that she is far smarter and wiser than anyone gives her credit for, but this video is just another part of the Miley Cyrus machine.

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Permalink
  26. pollyb wrote:

    this video made me super glad that my shenanigans at 17.5-yrs-old were not video-recorded and put on youtube/television.
    and if it is any consolation to miley (i still don’t really know/understand who she is), i was slut-shamed and wearing heavy eyeliner and no pants at that age too. in fact, i wear gothy eye-makeup and no-pants to work often. so. these things happen.

    i loved this post! thanks, ladies

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink
  27. julian wrote:

    All this, YES.

    And on a side note, the Alvin and the Chipmunks-esque voice freaked me out just a bit.

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
  28. Lizzie wrote:

    If you’re a queer lady or man, this video is easier to appreciate. For me, at least, it reads as a pretty kick-ass (if unintentional) gay liberation/coming out anthem akin to “For Your Entertainment.” The two songs even sound similar. And okay, “FYE” was musically gross, but its politics were great; the whole “don’t desexualize me/I’m gay and that means I like gay sex/DEAL WITH IT” message was such a breath of fresh air. Miley’s saying something similar, isn’t she? Along the lines of, “Don’t desexualize me/I’m 17 and that means I can explore/express my sexuality in my music/DEAL WITH IT”?

    Even without Adam Lambert on the brain, it’s hard not to hear a queer subtext in the Miley lyrics:

    I’m wired a different way.
    I’m not a mistake, I’m not a fake,
    It’s set in my DNA.
    Don’t change me.

    I can’t be saved, I can’t be blamed.

    Seriously, if she keeps this up and her songs get better, she could become a gay club staple. Shoot, I’d dance to this in a lesbian bar right now!

    Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Permalink
  29. Tavi wrote:

    Hahahahah the girls in my grade think this video is REALLY SLUTTY. They hate the sluts, the girls in my grade! Also when I comment about what The Kids In The Eighth Grade are doing/thinking here, I feel like a spy. And when I use capitals and exclamation points I feel like a Sady Doyle Imposter! So I shall stop.

    Seriously though, I actually do like Miley, as a teen pop star who tells girls to be themselves. I looked through her autobiography and minus all the bible-quoting and “THINGS THAT MAKE ME SAD: PEOPLE WHO HAVEN’T FOUND JESUS”-ness, it made me like her way more. She seems smart and mostly honest. I, as a teenager who is angry and angsty, don’t like Miley Cyrus The Product, but when I put my “But I just want to read Sassy and listen to Hole on cassette!” stuff aside, and think of her as a pop star who will say “I’m not your kid’s babysitter” and will pole dance and stuff, then, sure, I can get behind her with stuff like this video, especially when other people are like OMG SLUT! IF SHE KEEPS DANCING LIKE A BIRD SHE WILL GET PREGNANT! AND HAVE SCARY BABIES! WHAT IF THEY’RE GAY! THAT’S AWFUL!

    Monday, May 10, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

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  1. […] Sady Doyle, reacting to Ms. Cyrus’ new video (embedding disabled) for “I Can’t Be Tamed.,” […]

  2. A Bird in a Cage « random babble… on Monday, May 10, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    […] songs. She is coming dangerously close to “coming soon to a MRT” status. Dammit. As Sady and Amanda said at Tiger Beatdown, if she doesn’t want to wear pants, they can’t make her wear pants, or something to […]

  3. Pop Goes the World « Mockingbird on Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    […] Be Tamed,” which I finally found on iTunes. I have wanted it since seeing the video in this post on Tiger Beatdown. Later, I will be playing it loudly in the car, singing along as I drive, […]