Yes, I’m late with this as I always am but I prefer to think about things a bit before I say/write them and if that’s not fast paced enough for the world well then, too, bad.
So I read an article last week. Mostly I don’t pay attention to Miley and her shenanigans but Sinead O’Connor’s open letter to her peaked my interest. Sinead was no angel herself at the peak of her career but she seemed sincere in her praise and her warnings in the letter and as expected, at least by myself, Miley responded with classic young adult naivety and ignorance to the twisted-ness of the world. If someone took the time to pen a letter to me about something I was doing that through their experience they believed would cause me more harm than good, even if I didn’t agree with them, I would at least listen to them and respond with some level of civility. There was nothing threatening in Sinead’s letter and Miley showed her level of maturity to be very low indeed given her response.
But this is not about Mz. Cyrus, at least not directly. I have called her name far too many times already. This is about Gloria Steinem’s comment when asked what she thought about the whole situation with Miley, the video and the VMA’s, was it? And whether she thinks it has set back feminism. What the hell kinda question is that anyway? Geesh! :/ But she said ‘no’ and then elaborated and I quote as published by the HuffingtonPost:
I wish we didn’t have to be nude to be noticed … But given the game as it exists, women make decisions. For instance, the Miss America contest is in all of its states … the single greatest source of scholarship money for women in the United States. If a contest based only on appearance was the single greatest source of scholarship money for men, we would be saying, “This is why China wins.” You know? It’s ridiculous. But that’s the way the culture is. I think that we need to change the culture, not blame the people that are playing the only game that exists. – Gloria Steinem
Gloria, may I call you Gloria? I doubt you’re reading anyway but I agree with you. I wish women didn’t always have to be nude to be noticed, at least not the way they want to be. I’m sure every woman at some point in time has considered buttoning down that blouse just a bit more to get a second or even a first glance! And not only for superficial means but overall women who show more skin are in general paid more attention too which means people listen to them more, whether in business, in social circles, at work, it doesn’t matter. Crack that blouse, lift the hem of that skirt, tighten those jeans and it makes everyone’s eyes a beacon on you. People suddenly care what you have to say. The gals who keep it closed up are blatantly ignored.
Do I even need to mention the pageants? I’ve always said when they eliminate the swimsuit section and merit women on what they can do and not solely on what they look like I will support! Fully! But I guess it’s not called a beauty pageant for nothing. *flips imaginary long hair* Do they care that the message they are sending is, “Ladies, we don’t care if you’re talented enough to work for NASA, we won’t pay for you to further your studies unless you strip down into this teeny-weeny bikini. So if you want the chance, come on! And don’t forget to smile and like it!” Steups.
I do agree the key is to change the culture of the way women are viewed and have been viewed for centuries. Doesn’t give us much hope though does it if centuries have passed and we’re still struggling with this? :'(
However, that is where my agreement stops. What I do not and cannot agree with is the last phrase in that last sentence of yours. For want of a better expression but this was my actual reaction and is actually quite appropriate.
The main problem that I have with it other than the attempt to let people like Miley off the hook from taking responsibility for their own actions as a fully aware and conscious human being. Ok, this is a big one too but let me focus. The main problem I have with this is the slight hint, whether purposefully or not I don’t know, of you making it seem like, she had no other choice?
Again, I say, say what? Forgive me but I thought women were pass playing the damsel in distress or the victim? I thought feminists were against that? I thought we were all for taking the reigns and forging our own paths and clearly the road for others to follow? You really expect me to believe that the record industry made her do it and that it’s the only way she can make money? Oh, poor Miley, cry me a river. When you begin to be conscious of what you are doing, you are no longer the victim but the cause of the problem and Miley has long passed that gate.
Most of the people who are apart of the system are apart of the problem and the very fact that Miley is an ADULT!!!! means that she knows EXACTLY what she’s doing even if she doesn’t want to admit it. I know some people have it hard and have to do some crazy things to survive but Miley Cyrus is NOT one of those people. She is actually one of the few people who were fortunate enough to have more than enough opportunity and support to choose differently how she went about her path of success.
So, I’m sorry Gloria Steinem I TOTALLY agree that we need to change the culture and that that change is what will solve the problem but the culture can only be changed when the persons participating stop PARTICIPATING, just as much as the people promoting it because by participating they have now become themselves promoters of the same said thing! Am I making sense? The system only continues because there are people willing to follow it for the sake of… money? Art? Entertainment? And that goes for everybody who’s playing the same ‘game’ Miley is playing. Please note, I have nothing against her personally.
And furthermore, ‘playing the only game that exists?‘ Since when is twerking for your dinner the only game that exists? Did you grind and gyrate naked to get to the respected position as an activist, a writer and a journalist that you are today?
I don’t assume to know your life or what you did or didn’t do. I did read that you had a stint as a Playboy Bunny once upon a time. Times were hard, yes, you were ‘playing the only game that exists’ as you put it. However, did you win any awards for that though? Get national recognition for it, maybe? Because I believe the work that you did as a writer and as an activist did get you awards and recognition. So, you are clearly not playing in this ‘game’ you refer to. You made your own path like so many women before you and after you and now women have more choices because of women like you who chose not to play by those rules.
I feel like I’m going around in circles here but I need to make my point clearly being that I know you know what you’re talking about. You know it! You’ve lived it! It was a wierd question anyway but don’t try to dismiss these actions by laying the blame elsewhere. I feel that as women we have come too far for that. We have to reach a point where we take some responsibility for the centuries still in mental bondage.
Miley chose this, it was not forced on her. There are many artists who are incredibly successful and manage to be noticed without getting nude so Miley can do it too. Do not excuse her by making it seem as if she’s not to blame for her own actions.
I think Annie Lennox really hit the nail on the head. I for one encourage every woman to embrace their sexiness in their own way, I even wrote a post on it here. Our sexuality is an important part of all of us but it is not THE most important part of us which is what it has been distorted into.
On reflection I will say that sexuality is an inherent and profound part of life. There is absolutely nothing ‘wrong’ about our sexuality or sensuality per se – But if a performing artist has an audience of impressionable young fans and they want to present a soft porn video or highly sexualised live performance, then it needs to qualify as such and be X rated for adults only. … Is it appropriate for seven year olds to be thrusting their pelvises like pole dancers? I really don’t think so. – Annie Lennox
Neither do I. You can read both Steinem’s and Lennox’s full comments on the link below to the Yahoo article.
My admiration for you has not ceased in the least Gloria. I am a hopeless hope-aholic like you and see a bright future where women don’t feel the need to submit to being half-naked to have a successful career, where they take responsibilities for their actions and don’t try to pass the blame and their fellowmen don’t chastise them relentlessly for their mistakes and where they regularly twerk into the midnight hours for the fun of it with good friends and not for the monetary gain of the ogling eyes and pleasure of the male masses. In my dreams Miley is one of these fortunate women.
As always everyone, decide for yourselves because remember, critics may lie.
– Written by Travesaou
Copyright © 2010 Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved