Society has become complacent in the media content that is being consumed by adults and children alike. Young children have mobile phones, tablets and ready access to the internet. Some of the more popular social media websites such as Instagram have become a home to a dark and seedy element. A certain famous starlet has been making waves in the music industry this past year and it’s high time we examined the destruction she’s leaving in her wake, writes Sarah O’Brien.
Everyone heard, saw or gossiped about Miley Cyrus’s 2013 VMA performance with the one and only Robin Thicke. People ooh’d and aah’d, shocked, fascinated and horrified all at the same time, struggling for reaalz as to what to make of this child star turned Twerk’la Merkel. The world looked on, struggling to comprehend how any parent, in their right mind, could be party to letting their child gyrate lewdly with a man old enough to be her father, on stage -all in the name of performance.
The performance was indeed so inappropriately suggestive, that Will Smith and his wife Jada, purportedly shielded their children’s eyes. As Cyrus twerked about the stage with a giant foam finger, dressed in a flesh coloured costume and hair in two top knots, stars like Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez watched with a mixture of shock and abject horror evident on their faces.
2013 was the year Cyrus was reinvented, exploding onto the music scene, making a name for herself with the infamously anticipated Bangerz album that boasted songs such as ‘Wrecking Ball’ and ‘We Can’t Stop’ and their accompanying videos, which many have said, encourage and even make light of drug use and sexual promiscuity. Between licking her hammer and forgetting to don her hard hat in wrecking ball, people began trying to slut shame the American singer.
People saw her on stage persona and likened that to her actual character. Maybe they were right-maybe they weren’t, but as things kicked up a notch, Cyrus was accused of everything from black culture appropriation to being the devil spawn. Critics accused Cyrus of influencing her dedicated young fans to take molly. This was down to Miley’s not so subtle reference to the drug MDMA in the ‘We Can’t Stop’ music video. And of course, Cyrus, having a prescription for medicinal marijuana- which is attributed to her anxiety disorder, has also raised many an eyebrow over the validity of that particular claim.
Even her performances during her Bangerz tour, which involves Cyrus pretending to masturbate on stage and her riding a giant hot dog, (Snack Wave Culture Anyone?) can still be looked at through the lens of performance art.
Enter Miley Cyrus’s Instagram account. Word fail to describe the seedy, dark culture that is emanating from some of the shots the 22 year old Tennessee singer has posted. Question were raised over a year ago about Miley’s relationship with famous photographer Terry Richardson, mostly about the nature of the poses Richardson shot. Some of which, included poses that weren’t the typical celebrity-trying-to-get-attention-by-being-naked-and-overtly-sexual kind of thing.
Cyrus grabs her crotch suggestively, prances around topless the usual lark, but it is the vulnerability in those pictures that has set alarms bells ringing in people’s heads. Now many will attribute Miley’s physical appearance to naysayers as the reason they find Richardson’s photography of the starlet- creepy. They might cite her slim build and young appearance as the culprits and sure if it was Rihanna, no one would bat and eyelid.
But Cyrus’s Instagram tells a different story, (heck even at the VMA performance her costume and hair was intended to make her look like a giant baby) Cyrus posts pictures of herself showing nipple and genitals with an accompanying photo shopped (approximately) eight-year-old head attached.
Horrified is not the word. It’s difficult to convey through writing the detrimental effects these kinds of pictures could be having on her fans and anyone who has been a victim of molestation of some form or another. The numerous pictures the young starlet has posted, seem to be feeding into some new fashion craze that in actual fact encourages a warped perception of sexuality and feeds into a destructive and dangerous underworld.
In short, it is this writers opinion that Miley Cyrus’s actions have long surpassed the cheap thrills and fame of celebrity status and have begun to endorse mal-adjusted sexual fetishes. The codes of practise of social media websites such as Instagram, need to be examined closely and society as a whole should ask itself, why is Cyrus’s behaviour on social media not eliciting a more stringent response?