On Miley and Misogyny

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In the first semester of my last year at university, I took a Gender Studies class. It definitely helped shape the way I view gender and sexuality and all that other super interesting stuff that people really should talk about more. Then in my second semester, I took a class called Disney Studies. You might think that taking the classes in this order has ruined Disney for me, but it hasn’t. I understand that Disney can be a little problematic at times, but they started making feature films in the 1930s, and of course society then was very different to nowadays. But I don’t even want to talk about Disney– I want to talk about life after Disney, in particular, Miley Cyrus.

First of all, I get why people are complaining that she’s been a little risqué, especially when the Disney Channel are still playing repeats of Hannah Montana. She is bound to still have younger fans. But she’s a twenty year old girl, of course she’s going to want to shed her child star image. As far as I’m aware, she’s not even signed to Disney anymore. So it’s really not up to her to keep acting like Miley Stewart or Hannah Montana for the sake of your children. It’s up to you to parent them, not a celebrity they may or may not like. If you think that seeing Miley twerk, pose naked in a music video, or talk about drugs is gonna corrupt your kids, you’re probably not doing the best job of parenting. Just like me watching violent and scary movies as a kid hasn’t turned me into a serial killer, seeing celebrities I like party or take their clothes off hasn’t made me want to do the same either. I made my own choices, television didn’t decide for me.

But it’s not all about the parents. Even people in the same generation as Miley are criticising her– but this is a much wider problem that I’m not going to get into. I’m sure everyone has done something embarrassing or questionable at one point in their adolescent or young adult lives, and just because yours didn’t take place at the VMAs doesn’t make it any less awful. Miley grinded on Robin Thicke. Yep. One my my best friends once grinded on a guy from our college and everyone found it awkward and hilarious, but no one started an Internet hate campaign about her. My problem with this is, if you think Miley grinding on Robin is wrong… why isn’t it bad that this thirty-six year old married man with a three year old kid is rubbing his junk on a twenty year old girl? Because guys can do that? Because they’re supposed to get laid as often as they can? When women can only be a virgin or a slut with no in between? I’m not saying I condone what Miley did, but I’m also not saying I’m against it. It’s her body and her choices, and I shouldn’t have an opinion on it. And neither should you.

But the VMAs and We Can’t Stop are old news, right? Now everyone’s talking about Wrecking Ball, which I think is a pretty awful video, but not because she takes all her clothes off. And I understand what people are saying about how being naked shows how vulnerable she is, and I get that, I really do (I did an English degree, making up ridiculous meanings is what I do). And it was directed by Terry Richardson, so of course she was gonna be naked. Miley can be naked all she wants, especially when she looks so damn good without any clothes on. But besides that, Wrecking Ball was Miley’s obligatory tortured-soul-love-ballad, which has become something of a right of passage for former child stars. And before she takes her clothes off, Miley is wearing a very simple white outfit with minimal makeup. Sound familiar? Yeah, of course it does, Demi Lovato did it in Skyscraper two years ago. I like that video better, but again, it’s not because Miley’s naked. Are we getting the general idea of this post yet? If Miley wants to be naked, then let her be naked. Admittedly, when she starts licking the sledgehammer, things get a little weird. And even me and my BA in Bullshit find the ‘oooooh it’s because she loves the pain he causes her’ excuse a little thin. But I’m not saying she’s an abomination, or a slut, or anything else. I just don’t get it, and that’s okay.

Miley obviously wants to break free of her Disney image, and that’s totally normal and we should respect that and stop telling her she has younger fans. Because she’s always going to have younger fans, so when does it stop? Demi was a Disney star; now she has a successful music career, is a judge on the X Factor, and plays a gay character on Glee. Selena Gomez was a Disney star in the same era too, she even guest starred on Hannah Montana; then she played a party girl in Spring Breakers and released a new album just before Miley is releasing hers. I actually like the video to Come & Get It a lot more than Wrecking Ball and We Can’t Stop, but like I keep saying, that’s not because of the clothes she’s wearing. Selena could have easily done that video in a cute little underwear set like Miley did and I still think it would be a better child-star-transitioning-to-adult-video than what Miley created.

I’m still not really sure what the point of this blogpost was, as I don’t think I’ve really contributed that much to the discussion. But I keep seeing all these Miley Cyrus arguments pop up on my Twitter and Facebook feeds and I find myself writing the same defence replies each time, something that is quite hard to do in 140 characters. I in no way consider myself an expert in feminism or any of the gender arguments that float about in today’s society, I just like to think that I’m an okay human being who doesn’t judge people for how they choose to express themselves artistically based on years of patriarchal propaganda. However, I also don’t want people to think that my love of Miley Cyrus has blinded this post– because I really did not like Sonny With A Chance, but openly admit that Skyscraper is a better song than Miley’s new stuff. Disney Channel bias aside, I just think people should stop judging each other.

If you don’t like her music that’s fine, but you really don’t need to call her a slut, because it makes you sound like a misogynist 😀

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FASHION | September Wish List (Like a Six Year Old Wearing Her Mum’s High Heels)

Usually I would justify a September Wish List as ‘back to uni clothes’, but I can’t do that anymore seeing as I am now a perpetually unemployed graduate.  The unemployed thing is key here though, as I can’t actually afford to buy clothes anymore, so making wish lists will have to suffice.  But I am starting to think about adulthood and being a real life grownup, and where some people may think the way you act shows how adult you are, I prefer a more aesthetic approach.  So here is my wish list of kind-of-grownup-looking clothes, that maybe I will buy when I get an actual job in an attempt to look professional and less like a twelve year old.  And maybe then I’ll be able to make decent looking collages.

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Popper Front Boyfriend Coat, Topshop, £58; Knitted Angora Cable Cardi, Topshop, £48; Petite Spot Print Shirt, Topshop, £32.

I have a thing for oversized coats.  I think it comes from having no choice in the sizing when I was a kid; as I was a Topshop Junkie from age eleven, when even size sixes drowned me.  Now when I can actually get clothes to fit me, I just wanna pretend to be thirteen again.  Also, y’know, they’re great for layering blaaah blaaah blaaaaah.  I can’t even begin to justify this cardigan, it’s just that today is the first day of post-summer-2013 knitwear wearing so I’ve got a little bit carried away.  I just think it will match my new penchant for ginger hair, okay?  And the shirt is just cute and I like wearing black ’cause I’m a total goth. That’s as deep as it gets here.

ImagePeg Trousers In Floral Print, ASOS, £17.50; Tan Lock Strap Tote Bag, Miss Selfridge, £39; Green Check Ponte Jacket, Miss Selfridge, £45.

I LOVE UGLY TROUSERS. I can’t help it. It’s an addiction. I’m still searching for that perfect pair which has just the right ugly/awesome balance, I’m taking this very seriously.  I picked this bag because I really need to come to terms with the fact the Zara City Bag in tan is never going to come back in stock and it breaks my heart just thinking about it.  Also my mother just bought herself a gorgeous brown Mulberry bag and I’m jealous, but would actually have to sell my kidney on the black market to afford my own.  And oh look wow, yet another oversized jacket/blazer thing. I told you I had a problem. I just wanna be a little androgynous princess!

I can definitely see myself wearing these to get brunch or something and being a proper grownup.  Brunch definitely seems like the most adult meal to get.  I’m already teaching myself the lingo: mortgages, tax return, and Sainsbury’s Basics.

LIFE | A Critical Analysis of the People I Follow on Twitter

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Either I’m starting a series revolved around my apparent Peter Pan Complex, or I just really miss writing university essays.  So whilst my last post talks about how I view myself, I figured I could investigate my subconscious by critiquing the things I’m interested in:

Child Stars (e.g. Dylan and Cole Sprouse, Amanda Bynes, Miley Cyrus)The obvious answer for following these kinds of people would be that the subject enjoys the media that they used to produce and now follows it for nostalgic reasons; however, it could also be the result of both voyeurism and jealousy, as the subject is roughly the same age as the former child stars, and feels she has accomplished much less in her life than them.  Following this category of people works in two ways for the subject, one may cause resentment over the fact at twenty-one years old, the subject must come to terms with how they will never be in a Disney Channel Original Movie, whilst the other works in the opposite way by reminding the subject that she hasn’t grinded on a middle aged guy on live television, or thrown a bong out of a window.

Real Life Grownup Stuff (e.g. The Guardian, The Independent, Everyday Sexism)In complete contrast to the previous category, the subject reminds us that it does care about things other than popular culture, and shows depth over how it can simultaneously appreciate both the increasing problem of the sexualisation of women in society, and Toddlers and Tiaras.  Nonetheless, one does have to remember that as Twitter is a public forum, one of these categories could be used as a facade.  Is the subject following the child stars to adhere to the nostalgic ‘us versus them’ attitude held by the Internet’s obsession with the 1990s?  Or is the other category followed to distance herself from the aforementioned subculture?  The subject’s mixing of both popular culture and interest in the feminist movement can be evidenced by her quoting of a popular song to express her dismay over the ‘slut shaming’ of Miley Cyrus’ 2013 VMA performance: ‘I presume someone’s already made a she’s just being Miley joke?’ (Parrish: 2013), as it shows appreciation for both sides of the spectrum.

People Whose Jobs I Want (e.g. Kelly Osbourne, Charlie Brooker, Alexa Chung, Hugh Hefner)Although often considered part of the ‘Real Life Grownup Stuff’ category, this warrants its own section as it binds both genuine professional interest and creepy voyeuristic Internet stalking together.  The subject finds both the professional qualities of the Twitter users interesting, whilst also enjoying their personal lives as well.  This shows a wide array of interests held by the subject such as fashion, journalism, satire, and women dressed as rabbits.  However, it is interesting to note that many of these interests are improved by the concern the subject has for their everyday lives; whether it be their famous relatives, their celebrity circle of friends, or their living arrangements with various younger women.  This acts as evidence of two different levels of the subject’s subconscious interests, as it shows she appreciates these people on both their professional qualities, and in a more espial manner, their personal lives.

Local (e.g. Kingston Upon Hull’s bid for City of Culture 2017, University of Hull’s American Studies Department)It could be argued that this category merely shows the local pride that the subject holds for its hometown.  However, the hometown in question is Kingston Upon Hull, a city most commonly in the media for negative reasons and often criticised by other people for humorous purposes.  With this knowledge, one could make the deduction that by following these local accounts, the subject is merely acting like they are not affected by the constant negative remarks about her city, by using the Twitter platform to show her supposed support for its endeavours.  This would give the impression that the subject is quite insecure about her background and current living arrangements, in a city only famous for toads and having a terrible accent.

And much like in actual essays, I can’t write conclusions.  I’m not even entirely sure what I’d be concluding, as I only wrote this to see if I could still bullshit my way through an essay– which apparently I can.  I learnt a lot whilst on my degree, but mainly it’s that most of the time you’ve just got to write what you think your lecturer wants to hear, even if you don’t remotely agree with it yourself.  Sure, my ‘People Whose Jobs I Want’ section might be a pretty accurate summary, but I don’t follow child stars out of resentment, I don’t follow various news publications to balance out the fact I tweet about Dance Moms a lot, and I definitely don’t follow local Hull accounts because I secretly hate it here.  So what started as a critique about me somehow turned into a slight appraisal of the way you’re expected to write English and Film essays at university.  Sometimes the author just means he had a sandwich, okay, and he didn’t secretly want to fuck his mother.  And sometimes I just want to follow both reality television stars and inspirational quotes from my favourite alcoholic Jazz Age writers.

So for this essay for the University of Parrish, I’m giving myself a 2:1. ‘Why not a 1st?’ I hear you cry? Because I wrote this with a cat sat on one of my arms, which is definitely not the best way to critique your subconscious (which is probably why I didn’t write the sections on entertainment, YouTubers and actors, or my friends– ugh, friends).

LIFE | An Honest CV (or ‘Why I Don’t Have a Job’)

Looking at my CV, it’s clear that it’s pretty awful. I’ve had one paying job, one freelance job, and one stance at volunteering. When there are seemingly thousands and thousands of hungry graduates clawing after one measly little barista job, it’s easy to see why I’m repeatedly being looked over. Because you can’t put what you really want to on a CV, you’ve got to hold yourself to mystical rules that employers might find appealing, which pretty much voids your application of all traces of personality.  I’m not saying you should get a job based on personality alone, because even then I’m sure there are billions of people who could outshine me.  But still, it would be nice to make an impression more than The Girl Who Worked In An Office For Four Months And Failed GCSE Maths.  So here is my improved CV, showcasing all my supposed talents that are banned from my actual resume.

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