Gloria Steinem on Miley & feminism: ‘I wish we didn’t have to be nude to be noticed’

Gloria Steinem

Here’s a photo of Gloria Steinem at the Women’s Media awards in NYC. While she was walking the red carpet, she was of course asked about Miley Cyrus. If that’s not proof of how Miley is dominating the media right now, I don’t know what is.

Miley is riding high right now on her surprising Bangerz success. She was announced to perform at the AMAs even though she was not nominated for any awards. Her tongue-filled SNL episode scored the best ratings since March (when Paul Rudd hosted). She was offered a million dollars to direct a pr0n movie, and she won a $10,000 Numi toilet from producer Dr. Luke. I guess Luke told Miley “Wrecking Ball” would never be a hit, and they bet a fancy ass toilet. That will teach Luke to wager against nudity.

Everyone else is still talking about Miley. Annie Lennox admits being disturbed at Miley’s “peddling [of] highly styled pr0nography with musical accompaniment.” Gloria Steinem doesn’t have as much of a problem with Miley’s antics, but she does bemoan how Miley felt the need to get naked for attention:

Miley Cyrus

And now, an existentially chilling fact: the Internet has spent the better part of the last two months engaged in time- and soul-sucking Miley Cyrus–related discourse. (At this point, the Internet is officially Miley’s world—we just trash her in it.) Our negative interest in her and her V.M.A. performance has propelled the 20-year-old pop star to the cover of Rolling Stone, the stage of Saturday Night Live (as both host and musical act), the Today studio (for some awkward middle-aged-sex-related banter with Matt Lauer), and whatever seedy porn-photo den Terry Richardson had at his disposal last week. But throughout all of this discourse, the world has been lacking the opinion of one of the women most qualified to comment on Miley Cyrus’s in-your-face self-sexualization: Gloria Steinem.

Last night, at the 2013 Women’s Media Center Awards ceremony in New York, America’s foremost feminist and women’s-rights activist gave her thoughts on Cyrus’s behavior-specifically whether she thinks it is hurting the movement she helped pioneer in the 1960s. “You know, I don’t think so,” Steinem told Yahoo’s omg! Insider blog when asked about Cyrus. “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,” she continued. “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.”

With Vulture, Steinem took a slightly less pro-Miley stance when asked about the pop singer’s recent feud with Sinead O’Connor, who has written several open letters begging Cyrus to not let herself be “pimped” by the music business. “I think they have different views of the world,” Steinem said of Cyrus and O’Connor, “and I would much rather be O’Connor. I mean, she’s a serious human being. Perhaps they both are, but we don’t know that yet.”

[From Vanity Fair]

Is Miley really hurting feminism? I admit that I don’t view the Miley problem in terms of women’s rights. Miley seems to inhabit a realm where only Miley matters. She’s neither male nor female to me but only a person who will do anything for attention. Male or female, I see that as a sad state. I do love how Steinem is essentially siding with Sinead O’Connor in she and Miley’s neverending feud. Like I said before, Sinead has her own issues, but Miley takes the cake and acted like an immature brat when dissing people with mental illness.

Now for some more dangling tidbits about the Tongue:

* This week’s issue of Star says Kelly Osbourne wants BFF Miley to go to rehab for assorted drug issues including the Molly fixation. “Miley was so offended. She told Kelly she’s not an addict and to mind her own business. Miley doesn’t want to hear anything that goes against her image overhaul. It’s like she’s living in a bubble.

* Miley sent a bunch of Liam Hemsworth’s clothing to a thrift store. That was probably a great relief. No one ever wants to stare at their ex’s crap.

Miley Cyrus

* Miley popped into The Ellen Show and rode on a wrecking ball while — gasp — wearing clothes. She also said the Liam thing is fine: “It’s not really as awkward because I’m living it. So I think people spend more time actually thinking about it then I really do. I just believe when a chapter is done you have to close it and start that new one. That’s kind of where I am right now.” Here’s a video clip:

Gloria Steinem

Screencap courtesy of YouTube. Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet, Miley Cyrus on Twitter & WENN

 

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131 Responses to “Gloria Steinem on Miley & feminism: ‘I wish we didn’t have to be nude to be noticed’”

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  1. Dommy Dearest says:

    “I wish we didn’t have to be nude to be noticed. . . But given the game as it exists, women make decisions.”

    This. Very true.
    I don’t think in terms of feminism. I just view things with how they are- Miley is acting like an attention whore and doing whatever she can to get noticed. I think she’s disgusting. She needs to just to make a dirty video and start that chapter of her life already. She does like to have her tongue out all the time, after all.

    You can also see Miley’s bad skin in the B&W with the Bieber (Bieber looks incredibly effed up) which makes me laugh. Oh the joys of photo shop.

  2. Kaya says:

    While I fully agree with Gloria Steinem, I just have one little thing to add: to change culture, people who’re playing the game need to rewrite the rules, otherwise culture would stay the same.

    And the people who passively accept culture need to rise up more. Something that Sinead O’Conner definitely did.

    • MavenTheFirst says:

      Steinem’s response was mild and rather non- commital. Where is the intellectual astuteness and incisiveness I remember? Perhaps Steinem knows little of what transpired. Annie Lennox, on the other hand, said what needed to be said. And this sort of cavorting, IMO, is always a feminist issue.

      I agree, that those who play the game have the power to change it. Steinem just merrily placed women back in the category of victimhood.

      • msw says:

        That’s a very intriguing point, but I don’t think it places her in the category of victim, necessarily. I don’t think Steinem implied that Miley has no choice in the matter.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Part of Lennox’s statement (WOW!!)

        “Their assumption seems to be that misogyny – utilised and displayed through oneself is totally fine, as long as you are the one creating it. As if it’s all justified by how many millions of dollars and U tube hits you get from behaving like pimp and prostitute at the same time. It’s a glorified and monetized form of self harm”

        She’s brilliant!

      • Nikita says:

        @Tiffany, what Annie Lennox said is absolutely what i think and i guess most woman with a brain think ;-) . Im from europe, some of you may know that already ;-) and i have to say, european woman often have the feeling that unfortunately, some americans think, emancipation is mainly beeing naked and sleeping around with many guys. When Christina A. had that song out “Cant hold us down”, she sang about those things of emancipation and what a woman can do, and she was half naked in those tiny non existent shorts. She sang about how woman can be strong blablabla but she walked around half naked and lil kim wore a bikini. So the question is, do they really assume emancipation is beeing naked and acting like a guy? You sing about emancipation, you want to be taken serious, all the guys wear clothes only you are naked and then you want respect and be taken serious? I mean, ok, that works on the beach but in real life? And these stars are trending, when you go out to the clubs today, the skirts and dresses are getting shorter and shorter, the heels are higher then ever. I mean, today, woman have so many rights and opurtunitys, why do they feel the need to be the sexiest around and naked as much as they can? Maybe im just to old with my 33 years ;-)

      • booboochile says:

        If I ever see the word ‘pr0n’ i’m jumping out the window.

      • Leila in Wunderland says:

        @Nikita: Christina Aguilera has been very vocal about her beliefs that man or woman, regardless of sexual orientation, people should be free to express their sexuality, be open about their sexuality, and do whatever they want when it comes to clothes, and I have to say that I agree. She has also talked about the slut label.

        I don’t think anyone believes that in order for women to be sexually emancipated, women have to all wear revealing clothes, go naked, and have sex with as many people as possible. Not all women would feel sexually liberated by that alone. To me a society where women, as a group, are sexually emancipated is one where women are free to date/kiss/have sex with/marry someone whether the person is a man or a woman, without having to hide it; where both cisgender and transgender women are accepted by society, where a woman can either be a virgin or have had sex with 50 people and have both decisions accepted by society, where a woman can freely choose to either wear a hijab or a burka, or a tiny top with daisy dukes, and have both decisions accepted, where a woman can even, yes, appear nude in a photograph without everybody screaming exploited prostitute or choose to never go nude without people screaming prude, where a woman is in control of her fertility, where words like slut, skank, tramp, whore, trash, white trash, and ho are not acceptable slurs in our vocabularies, where no woman is ever, in any way, blamed for sexual violence committed by someone else, where prostitution and rape aren’t used as tools in conversations to police or shame women for their clothing or sexual choices, and where people don’t promote the idea that a woman’s sexual purity or modesty in dress/dance determine her worth, respectability, self-respect, goodness, or badness. In other words, a society where women are sexually emancipated is one of sexual diversity, freedom, and tolerance. One where the blame for sexual violence is placed where it belongs, and nobody- whether they’re a feminist or not- attempts to impose a dress code on some woman they don’t even know (which is exactly what is happening on this blog).

  3. msw says:

    Well, I guess I am in great company, because this is precisely my problem with all this bs. I applaud Miley’s right to strip on TV, whatever. I don’t appreciate that this is how we view empowered females. You are empowered by more than getting naked. We are worth more than our bodies.

    And thanks for censoring the tongue. It makes Miley posts much more palatable.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      “I don’t appreciate that this is how we view empowered females.”

      Sincere question here:
      But do you think anyone outside of her fanbase really views Miley as the embodiment of sexual power? Most of the comments I’ve seen on these boards are about how awkward and transparent she is in her behavior, while others just view her as being the puppet or puppeteer (depending on one’s perception) of a brilliant marketing scheme.

      I think people might be lending too much credence to the idea that she is genuinely influencing young women in an impactful way.

      • msw says:

        I agree that Miley is generally considered to be a bad joke at this point, yet her album sales are apparently pretty good. To me, this is a much broader issue than Miley. Miley is a symptom of this view of empowerment. Thevsexuality-as-empowerment idea is way older than she is. I’m not going to tell everyone else that they have to view feminism the same way I do, but to me, its skim milk–feminism in a way people are willing to accept. I want more.

      • MavenTheFirst says:

        Kids are impressionable. Young minds can be manipulated easily. *Of course* her pathetic and damaging message has a huge impact!

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        “to me, its skim milk–feminism in a way people are willing to accept”

        I like that a lot and I get what you’re saying as far as it being a broader issue and I guess people have shaded K. Perry and Swift for being poor (or at least questionable) role models for young women, so Miley isn’t the only target.

        @Maventhefirst-*SOME* young girls are easily influenced but I would stop short of painting them all with such a broad brush. As I said, it starts at home with solid parenting, communication, and understanding. Not every young woman is stupid or naïve and I think we do them a great disservice by perpetuating the idea that no young person has the ability to think critically.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I do feel like the sucess of Miley’s career after her performances/photo shoots does send a strong message that the girl who gets naked the most gets the most attention aka power and money.

        The differences between Miley’s career and her peers (Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato) sends a strong message not only to young girls, but to women in general. The other girls went the sexy route in their promos, but Miley went raunchy and crass and was GREATLY rewarded.

      • MavenTheFirst says:

        @TOK

        Please reread my statement. Nowhere do I mention any number, neither ALL or SOME. I said the potential is there. MC reaches the masses, so, indeed, has a huge impact one way or another.

        @Tiffany,

        Well said!

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        @Maven-You made a generalization, that’s all. For every Miley wannabe, there’s a Lorde and an Adele wannabe. I just think that the children who are easily influenced by Miley and the likes are likely not getting the parental guidance needed to make the right choices in their lives. Again, pop icons should not be used to raise our kids. I listened to Madonna when I was in elementary school, loved her music but never looked to her for guidance or as an ideal image of the kind of woman I wanted to be when I grew up, that’s what my parents were for.

        Sometimes I think people underestimate the influence of strong parenting and overestimate the influence of pop culture. Maybe I’m wrong..maybe I was just really lucky growing up. I hope I don’t sound preachy with my comments here-I understand how hard it is to be a parent (which is why I’m not one ;) )–I just think we can change things.

        Anyway, good discussion and good point all around, Tiffany, Maven and msw.

      • Shelley says:

        Um. My parents are glorious people who taught all us girls what to truly value in ourselves. We were brought up right and raised to value education, moral fidelity, and honesty. While I (obviously) rebelled against them when growing up, after I truly became an adult I realized everything they had done and all that they had sacrificed to try to teach me correct principles. That said, my baby sister (who grew up with Hannah Montanna) will literally come to tears in defense of Miley. She justifies all of her behavior and acts like she’s personally connected with her. Some may wish to interject here and suggest that my sister get help (maybe a good point, maybe not), but the reality is that a young starlet’s antics DO have an effect on younger girls…sensible or not. I’ll also add that my baby sister’s good friend began cutting at a young age because “Angelina Jolie does it”. And because her friend was always doing it, my sister began doing it as a way to self-harm. She still struggles with it today.We may think that as “critically-thinking” women, no one else might be influenced by media, but I think you’re dead wrong. Media affects EVERYONE. One way or another. While you or I might be able to see through Miley’s ridiculous shit, are we really not influenced by the messages sent to women through media? Through magazines? Television? No matter the medium, it affects us all, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a public outcry against it. If it’s damaging to one person, that’s one person too many.

      • Shelley says:

        I’d also like to add that while the majority of the women on this site don’t look to Miley or Madonna to see how to act, the majority of you DO look to Angelina Jolie, who is still a controversial celebrity who is STILL unknown to you. Many of you go to bat for her like she’s your very own mother. Are you still ready to claim that we’re “overestimating” the way pop culture influences us? ;) We all have a questionable hero in celebrity culture. You might say one is more deserving or a better example than another (arguable. subjective. can never be grounded in fact), but the influence is still there.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      msw, I don’t know if I understand you correctly, but I think I agree with you. :) It reminds me of Jenna Jameson’s autobiography, when she said that at first she felt empowered by stripping, that she was using that power against men. Teasing them with it. Then after some time, she realized that they were actually using her, that even though she took their money they were taking something else from her in the end.

      I have heard people say that Miley is just rebelling, and I feel like society recently has made it seem that for women the only way to rebel is through sex and drugs. There are so many other ways to assert independence! I do agree with Steinem that Miley is a symptom rather than a cause.

      • msw says:

        Yeah, i think we are on the same wavelength. What’s ironic to me is I don’t find Miley rebellious in the least. We already live in a porn culture. Miley getting naked is boring, at least in my eyes. Its pathetic that pop music is so defined by sex, and singers like Adele stand out for their talent and not sticking their tits out.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Right. Miley isn’t bucking the trend so much as following the well worn path of getting naked to show she is an adult. It is boring, especially because it was so predictable.

  4. V4Real says:

    I loved the statement about changing the culture not blame the people for playing the game that exist.

    Women have been getting naked before Miley existed and will still be getting naked after she’s done. It’s Miley’s turn in the controversial spotlight; next year it will be someone else. It’s like Gloria said, it’s their choice. Most women do have options but they don’t always choose the best one. Miley was famous and loved before she started all this obscene and in your face antics. She’s learned how to push the envelope and make herself one of the most famous people in the world at this time. Madonna did it and so did people like Pam Anderson. They knew sex would sell and sell it, they did.

    • blue marie says:

      + 1..
      the only thing I have to add is that I absolutely, unequivocally love Annie Lennox. She was who I wanted to be when I grew up. Unfortunately, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

    • MonkSolo says:

      yeah, but can you respect someone who will do ANYTHING to get famous?

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Yeah and a big part of that starts at home, with how we raise our young men, and I’m giving a huge *side eye* to MEN in general as they are so often not a big factor or not even present at all in the raising of their sons AND daughters.

      I had two great male role models growing up-my dad and my big bro-and that so greatly impacted my sense of self, my view of men, and the context in which my sexuality exists in the male world. Not sure if that last sentence made sense. I guess I just think parents should be the role models, not pop stars, and they should shape how we feel about ourselves as women and how men and society as a whole perceives us.

      Pop culture should be here for our entertainment only, not to shape our society–and believe I know the reality is that in some instances it CAN, but that needs to change.

      • msw says:

        ITA. It really isn’t up to celebs to raise our kids. We need to place accountability on parents. (Speaking as a parent of two girls)

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I don’t feel that pop culture shapes society so much as it REFLECTS society. And that reflection is looking a bit scary right now.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        As long as you recognize that by saying that “pop culture reflects society”, you are effectively taking the onus off of Miley. If Miley is just mirroring an existing culture, then she really isn’t to blame. If pop culture shapes and influences society, then she DOES have the leverage to influence young women.

        That is most definitely what Steinhem is saying-that she’s just a player in an existing game.

        Which still furthers my point that change happens with parental influence. Chastising Miley isn’t going to get her to change–she found the not-so-secret formula and she’s gonna stick with it.

        So IMO, while people might be correctly slamming her as a “poor role model”, it still doesn’t alter the fact that pop artists should not be seen as role models period. THAT is how as a society, we change things. As long as we look to pop culture icons to be role models for our children, then we in turn bestow upon them the power to influence our youth. That is how pop culture shapes society-as people we are granting it the ability to impact/influence the way women are treated and the way we view ourselves.

      • Kiddo says:

        I don’t disagree with you. Miley should not be raising some stranger’s child. But she does screw the pooch for talented women who try to make it in a brutal business. Further, in tween and teen years rebelling is a normal part of maturation. At this juncture, kids do turn to culture and their peer group on the road to form individual selves. It’s not necessarily a bad thing because the person looks to outside sources for confirmation of things taught or counter arguments which can shape that person into a better human being than their parents. On the other side, external forces can tug and shape a view of the world that isn’t always healthy.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “As long as you recognize that by saying that “pop culture reflects society”, you are effectively taking the onus off of Miley.”

        Absolutely. I never put blame on Miley for the way things are (heck, it has been this way for decades). I see her as a symptom rather than the cause of the status quo. I do think that we can disagree with her choices, though, and that is still on her.

    • Amory says:

      You assume that there is no price to be paid, and I think the price is a heavy one. I think that any person, men and women alike, who use stunts to achieve fame always have a deep sense of insecurity because they didn’t work it. I think the older female singers are trying to help her see this, trying to help her understand that she may think it is all a game, but ultimately it can hurt deeply and be so destructive.

      It’s sad that we can no longer celebrate hard work.

  5. bettyrose says:

    I don’t think Miley is hurting feminism because she’s just maintaing the status quo. She’s just the industry’s latest pawn, but young women are incredibly skilled at seeing through the BS and ultimately the only person we really need to worry about here is Miley, herself. I think both Steinem and Sinead have made that point.

    • ParisPucker says:

      I would so like to agree with you! And for the sake of all of us, I do hope that you’re right. It’s the young and impressionable minds that I’m worried about – not the educated who see through it (as you so well put it). The danger here is the *influence* she has on shaping contemporary culture with her vapid antics. I think this is what is creating the buzz amongst intellectual women and feminists…and let’s not forget the young boys as well: her being constantly covered in the media is validating her ‘sexy baby’ crazoid behavior. They’re the ones vulnerable to this crap..

  6. emmie_a says:

    I was feeling *high* & happy after reading the Angelina Jolie/Louis Zamperini post and then I jumped over here to read about Miley and now I’m part sad and part mad. I know she’s supposedly winning right now but I really hate celebrities like her. Everything about her is soo wrong. So if anyone is frustrated like me, go to the post I just mentioned if you need to cleanse your palate.

  7. dorothy says:

    If the talent is there, why the need to pander and peddle the nudity? So tired of the gimmicks that female singers feel they need to be noticed. Sheryl Crow didn’t need that nor did Carol King. I long for the days when they rely on their talent, not the vulgarity that is out there today. As a woman I find it disturbing and embarrassing.

    • Mia4S says:

      You answered your own question, the talent is not there. There’s a reason Adele doesn’t have to get naked and Cate Blanchett doesn’t pimp out her children for attention.

    • Eleonor says:

      Well Miley did try to have a career, she had another album before this, and no one cared. So I think there’s not much talent to start with.

      • Evelyn says:

        I forgot about her last album. I remember watching the video for the “love or art” song (can’t remember the name) and thinking it was ridiculous and I thought it seemed like she was trying really hard to channel gaga.
        I think you’re right, she’s acting out so hard so people will care she has an album out. I don’t think it’ll translate into long term success, but maybe that’s because I don’t think she can sing or dance well at all. I hate Wrecking Ball, I watched the video out of morbid curiosity and turned it off because her voice GRATES

      • Eleonor says:

        @Evelyn: I remember the “can’t be tamed” video. But I bet not all of us remember it. She didn’t make like that, now with the twerk and the tongue she has attention. Not success, attention.
        She is using all the tricks on the book, after that she couldn’t do anything more, like Gaga: she has been using all the tricks and now no one is paying attention. Too bad Gaga wasn’t bad at the beginning.

  8. Patricia says:

    I just don’t see what is so wrong with showing your fit young body, shakin your booty, sticking your tongue out, etc. She’s an entertainer. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. But why is the whole Internet attacking a 20 year old young woman just because this is how she expresses herself and brings attention to her brand?

    No one is forcing your young daughters to watch her, and if she is a role model for your young daughter than you, as a parent, have some work to do.

    Relax people relax.

  9. Sloane Wyatt says:

    I took away TWO great things from this post:

    1. “I think that we need to change the culture, not blame the people that are playing the only game that exists.” – Gloria Steinem

    and

    2. “Give me A List of your favorite movies, books, your favorite artists.” – Miley Cyrus

    Thanks, Celebitchy.

  10. Aloha says:

    Gloria is a goddess. I absolutely love and respect her! Miley, not so much – at this point in her life at least.

  11. Virgilia Coriolanus says:

    I was going to say that it was pretty tacky that Miley sent Liam’s clothes to Goodwill or wherever—but he left them there, so I guess he didn’t want them.

  12. j.eyre says:

    I really, really like what Ms. Steinem says in this excerpt. I think she handled it and spoke on these matters beautifully.

  13. Merritt says:

    Gloria gave great responses. And yes the culture should be blamed. We are each responsible for what we do to contribute to culture.

  14. louise says:

    Or you could showcase your actual talent. See also: Adele.

    O! I see I’m pretty much repeating what others have said above. So, I agree with you Dorothy et al.

  15. janie says:

    This is not, or has been about feminism… Miley is simply trying to sell music & show she’s an adult, period. Not everything an entertainer does has another meaning! She can be as inappropriate as she chooses it’s not a linked to feminism.

  16. Cazzee says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for blurring out that tongue!

    Thank you.

  17. Amory says:

    Steinman’s claim that this is the only game that exists is dead wrong. Tons of women receive attention and fame for talent and hard work. Nudity is not the only way, just the quickest, dirtiest way, the way you use when you don’t particularly want to work hard or when you don’t have talent. Steinman should know better. So sick of the excuses.

  18. Maggie says:

    Miley isnt doing anything new or original as far as getting attention. She comes across, to me anyway, as a conceited immature brat. She’ll have her regrets down the road.

  19. bowers says:

    I view it as young girls would because I’m a retired high school teacher. I agree with Steinem; it’s a shame.

  20. Leila in Wunderland says:

    I like that Gloria Steinem was able to get her opinion on the issue across without any slut-shaming whatsoever. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for Sinead O’Connor, who basically said that nudity= prostitution and exploitation, corrupts young women, and is dangerous for women because there are predators with penises out there.

    I would like to see more male celebrities posing topless, in their underwear, and naked, so that it would be equal. Many male models and celebrities have been doing this (which I like :) ) but it’s still not close enough to how often the females do it.

    At the same time, I hate this whole naked woman= exploited victim/prostitute thing going on in our cur culture. Nudity is not a bad thing, people have the right to wear whatever they want, and a person’s decisions in this are not to be policed. A person should not be vilified for this. To me, ending our culture of slut-shaming and rape apologism, and allowing women to make their own choices when it comes to clothing, is more important than the other issue. It has got to stop.

    • Annie says:

      “I would like to see more male celebrities posing topless, in their underwear, and naked, so that it would be equal.”

      But have you ever asked yourself why they don’t do that? Because they don’t want to and they don’t have to. So they don’t. It’s a big deal to get naked and it must not be easy to expose yourself like that, yet it’s expected of women in entertainment all the time and they can’t say no like men do, but why should it even be expected at all? Notice how desensitized we are that we just want everyone naked just to even things out, instead of asking ourselves who are we to ask our performers to become so vulnerable for our own enjoyment. Imagine someone coming up to you at the beach and asking you to wear a skimpier bikini.

      A woman always has to be the more vulnerable one, always. Miley has no idea what game she’s playing here and she’s losing.

      • Leila in Wunderland says:

        Anyone, male or female, can choose whether or not they want to pose nude. It’s not like their clothes are ripped off of them and they’re shoved in front of the camera, or they’re threatened into doing it. Some won’t go nude, some will.

        I think the reason why more women say yes than men is two-fold: on the one hand, there are the sexist elements- a need to be seen as sexually desirable in order to be a star- but on the other hand, some feel a desire to do it because of a culture that has long held nudity as a taboo, and that labels women as ‘bad’ and trash and sluts for being sexual and showing skin. They want to rebel against that and say, “I like nudity, I’m sexual, I have the right to do whatever I want with my physical appearance, and none of that makes me a bad person.”

        For men it’s different. Men don’t live in a society that tells them they’re bad or trash or sluts if they go topless, semi-nude, or nude. They don’t live in a society that says it’s wrong for them to be sexual- as long as they’re straight, and that’s another issue. Men aren’t told that their bare flesh promotes rape and corrupts society. Men are not told that their human worth, self-respect, respectability, or goodness or badness as a person raises or lowers based on how modestly they dress, how sexually pure they are, and what dance moves they do or do not choose to do.

        Because of that, men don’t have as strong a reason to feel empowered or sexually liberated or rebellious by such things as women do. And since they have less of a motivation to feel that way by overt sexuality, I do believe that we will always see just a little bit less of it from men than we do from women.

    • Kiddo says:

      An argument can be made that she was prostituting herself. Being naked and acting out soft sex acts (in the photos) to sell something else does, in fact, fall under the definition of prostituting one’s self. If the main focus is that, before, above, and at the expense of the music, then there is a level of selling out.

      prostituting

      Variant of prostitute

      transitive verb prostituted, prostituting

      to sell the services of (oneself or another) for purposes of sexual intercourse
      to sell (oneself, one’s artistic or moral integrity,etc.) for low or unworthy purposes

      I’m not promoting this harsh of a term, because I think she is very young. No one said nudity is bad. No one said skimpy dressing is bad. It depends on the context, why it is being done, and how it is being done. Doing it to get attention is old school second class citizenry for women. It tells the culture that they are only parts which titillate.

      Any famous woman who objectifies herself first, before the music, as a means to an end, does do a level of disservice to others who want to enter the same business without having to follow this script.

      The point that men don’t do it is because they aren’t seen as objects in quite the same way women are. The more women do it to themselves, the more men see them as objects, the more the next woman has to beat that, and the world turns.

      No one is stopping Miley from making fashion choices. But people have a right to comment on it like they do with every other garment out there. And if you are going to try to provoke, then you may get provocation. If you masturbate on the street, then you will get arrested.

      Let’s not forget that there are still real prostitutes, sex workers, porn stars, etc. They have right to do whatever they want in states where that is legal. But they OWN that as their occupation. That is different.

      • dagdag says:

        And, Prostitution is not about good sex for the prostitute, it is about selling her own sex for money, her feelings or her own sexuality are irrelevant in this business. She is an object and there is no glamor
        at all in this occupation.

        And it is my belief that the self-image of many young women is solely based on being sexy and sexually appealing to men.

    • Dlo says:

      What has got to stop is the vulgarity of the dry humping, simulated masterbation, & slapping of women’s asses like in the strip club & glorifying drugs.. It’s not JUST the nudity!
      Our children should not be subjected to this filth of her VMA performance, or me.
      If you want to watch this bad simulated porn you should have to go to pay per view!

    • EmmaV1 says:

      @kiddo,

      And an argument can also be made that Miley was totally right about Sinnead and Amanda. Sinead self admitted she has mental issues and a court has determined Amanda to have mental issues.

      So if Miley is a prostitute, then both Sinead and Amanda are crazies and Miley has every right to point that out and it’s not being vile or vicious or terrible to do so.

      • Kiddo says:

        One is a condition where the person didn’t choose. Having mental illness was not a conscious career choice. Amanda Bynes wasn’t even verbally volleying with anyone, she is in a mental health facility, so to bring her name into it was cruel. I think Sinead’s intentions could have been better crafted in the letter, but I think we all wish we had used words more carefully, at some time or another. The direction Miley is going in is completely within her own control. It is an active decision, not a
        chemical imbalance thrust upon her.

      • Kiddo says:

        I wanted to add that Ad hominen attacks are lazy tactics. By calling Sinead crazy, she attacked the messenger, but not the actual message.

    • joy says:

      Hey Leila, do any of your comments not contain the words, “slut shaming”?

  21. Annie says:

    Men don’t have to do any of this shit to sell albums, and this is when we can see how far women are from being treated as equals. Those singers who play it sexier like Adam Levine are never this grotesque and desperate on their shows, trying to one up each other sex-wise. They just are who they are and being sexy is just one side of them, why can’t these women be more like that? We don’t have that luxury. I mean, why does female sexuality in pop culture have to be tied to humiliating yourself? Crawling on the floor, being as naked and animalistic as possible, or licking random phallic objects. WHY??? Imagine Bruno Mars having to do any of that to sell his music. Unthinkable. With men is not a competition of who gets to show more skin or who gets to be more shocking. They have the luxury of knowing that people are focused more on what they have to say or what they sound like, and they can dress nice and keep their dignity intact and have everyone’s respect at the end of the night. Unlike women who have to go the extra mile, only to have not a single male counterpart speak up and defend them. Like when Justin left Janet alone to deal with the titty drama. They just let them face the consequences alone, and isn’t that what happens in real life when a man and a woman are promiscuous with each other? Only one has to explain herself.

    I have a hard time seeing this Miley act as something I have to defend because I hate it when someone sends the message that women are not people, and the more a person acts like an animal onstage the more they reinforce those ideas.

    She’s happy with the attention she’s getting now, but a man is going to win the Grammy for Album of the Year and this when we lose.

  22. InvaderTak says:

    Dont haae an opinion abput her comments on miley but i do have to say; Feminism was not pioneered in the 60s. It has roots long before that. It took a national hold in the US at that time, but it was around long before then. GS is not one of the early pioneers of feminism. She came to the forefront whn the existing movement took mainstream hold. Come on vanity fair, you by Abigail Adams should know better. The scary part is, I know a lot of women who will tell Ypu it did start in the 60s. *sigh*

  23. Evie Rose says:

    Ugh, the oversaturation of Miley continues. I need a pumpkin spice latte!

  24. Nicolette says:

    I’m sorry, I place a good part of the blame for young women feeling the need to get naked to be noticed on other women. Who exactly have been the role models in recent years for theses girls? Whether they like to be or not, celebrities do inadvertantly become just that to the impressionable youth. Just as young girls will copy a hairstyle, or a fashion trend they copy mannerisms and behavior as well. Good and bad, and sadly much of it is bad. The selfies they post on FB with duck lips, tongues hanging out and breasts squeezed together, are the same as the ones we see posted by celebs. Porn stars have become household names. Celebrities have their own sex tapes. Kim K and her family are wealthy because of the one that she made. Everything they have achieved has it’s roots in that tape. The message that pushing boundaries and lowering standards will bring success is one that has been received. Miley is setting the stage for worse to come from the next pop tart to rise up, and imagine the imagery we’ll be trying to shield our eyes from then. I mean how will they follow up a crotch stained photo shoot? I don’t want to think about it.

  25. mux says:

    You don’t have to be nude to be noticed. You need to have talent. Look at Adele. Just because someone decides to use it to mask a lack of talent or a marketable skill does not make it necessary.

  26. Tiffany :) says:

    Today is the UN’s International Day of the Girl!

    http://www.un.org/en/events/girlchild/

  27. Jaded says:

    The saddest part of this whole debate is that Miley willingly and enthusiastically let herself be guided by the all-male music industry moguls into an all-out assault of cheap vulgarity and sexual shock tactics. These guys are making bazillions of dollars from young pop tartlets by capitalizing on nothing more than vapid over-sexualizing of young women and reinforcing a stereotypical image of women not being taken seriously for their brains or talent, just a grotesque sexual image.

    And for those who say this doesn’t have a big influence on young women today, just look at the attention Miley is getting. There are millions of Miley wannabes out there who think that going to clubs dressed in next to nothing and faux-masturbating on the dance floor equates to popularity and acceptance.

    It’s a depressing, sick message that’s being drummed into the psyches of young girls today, every way possible. I see 12 year-olds dressed in skin-tight booty shorts, spike heels and wads of make-up, and it makes me sick.

    For every young woman who worships and emulates someone like Malala Yousafzai, there are a thousand who don’t even know who she is, let alone what a Nobel Peace Prize is.

    • bingham says:

      What I would like to know is WHY we are not teaching our young men and women about these exploitative tactics? Why are we not arming our younger generation with the tools to be able to identify when their psyches, hormones and insecurities are being manipulated for the sake of good quarterly results?

      One day this “do whatever it takes to make them sign on the line that is dotted” will be the death of us.

    • Anoni Mus says:

      Agree so very much!

      I recently watched 4 videos in a row on Vevo: Miley, Rihanna’s new one, Kesha’s and Britney’s. Horrible. It’s a tough time to be raising tween girls (and boys) with this stuff at the forefront of pop culture :(

  28. tifzlan says:

    If you watch her interview on Ellen, she talks about her VMA performance and says that she “has an obsession with being an adult baby”, which was the image that she was trying to portray in her performance. That’s so messed up and despicable on so many levels. I can’t be the only one to think that, right?

    • MonkSolo says:

      She’s definitely been giving off some weird pedo vibe with her sexualization of teddy-bears and other childhood staples.

    • Kiddo says:

      I could interpret that in a different way. Miley has been saddled with being Hannah Montana. In that sense, she was seen as an adult baby. Being brought up in Hollywood could have also arrested her normal development. keeping her in the Hannah Montana stage, if you will. I think all of this over-sexualization is what she believes will kill that perception of her. Someone advised her that that was a good idea. Coming into your own sexually is a stage that everyone goes through. We all have hormones. You can be sexy and alluring without bordering on graphic. Raunching up an act does not necessarily demonstrate maturity, there are other ways to relate that, such as a greater depth in lyrics, music, whatnot. I do think she is surrounded by both sycophants and hangers on trying to capitalize on these decisions for their own gain. I’m not saying that it wasn’t her choice, but that the yesmen confirmed that it was a good idea.

  29. MegG says:

    I’m sick to death of the over saturation of Miley. I find her antics desperate. Sadly this is what happens when you live in a culture that rewards women (with fame and money) who make sex tapes etc. I wouldn’t want my daughter emulating her.

  30. homegrrrrl says:

    Information about celebrity antics, that’s not for children. I did.t

  31. kellyinseattle says:

    Miley: lose the red lipstick, the greasy outfit, and the desire to be a “pop-rapper”….

  32. agita says:

    You bitches give me agita. Miley Cyrus is more of a feminist than the whole lot of you put together. Her sin is moving out of some kind of cookie cutter image of femininity that “old Miley” embodied so well. For god’s sake, she’s the same person inside. She cut her hair and is discovering her own style. She’s making the most of what nature gave her. And her album, btw, is selling well because it’s great. Again, cutting away from the bubble gum pop genre that she was stuck in. She’s striking out, like it or not, and the results speak for themselves. I, for one, thinks she’s brave, principled, kind, quirky, and kickass. She’s young and growing and it would have been a whole lot easier to stay in the box society and her schmucky fiance wanted her in.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Yeah, she’s so brave moving from one cookie cutter (child star) to another (child star acting out sexually to get attention). What a real ground breaker she is!

      Lecturing people on feminism while calling them “bitches” is hysterical!

      • agita says:

        This site is called celebitchy for a reason and I’m not lecturing anybody, just stating my opinion. She is punking the whole country. She wasn’t trying to be sexy in of itself at those VMAs. She was making fun of the whole ridiculous graduation exercise of Disney girls growing up. The only thing new was that she was doing it with a knowing wink. She knows more about being a strong woman than both the pearl clutchers and the aging feminists.

    • Dommy Dearest says:

      I’m having trouble seeing how she’s making the most out of what she’s given. She may be coming up with new ways to be noticed (which previous celebs have already done) but any type of respect for her that she had earned along the way has been shattered by her antics. She’s more concerned with ‘punking’ that is the world rather than ‘being who she is’ as she claims in interviews then backtracks in others to give off the idea that she is not herself when the cameras are on. She’s a hypocrite that has done more harm than good to her image. But if that was what she was going for then she succeeded. She’s a laughing stock.

  33. Ginger says:

    Listen, I understand that Miley is going through some growing pains and that’s fine…we all did at her age. BUT she’s promoting herself as being a brave person by getting naked. To me that’s not brave at all, that’s cliche. She clearly does not listen to the people who could help her take her career even higher than it currently is. She is successful, yes without a doubt. However, her success is not based upon her talent, it’s based upon her publicity strategy to get as much attention, negative or positive as possible. This will NOT last. I feel she is pretty and talented but that is never going to be noticed because it’s obscured by her current behavior. I really and truly hope that she at least has some grounded people in her life, like her parents that she WILL listen to. I hope she does not rely strictly on the sycophantic mob she is currently hanging out with. I’m siding with Sinead on this one, they only want to make money off of her.

  34. Jennifer12 says:

    Miley started trying to get attention for shocking behavior years ago, starting when she was pole dancing. I just don’t like it, is all. Annie and Gloria said it a billion times better, but basically this chick is choosing to get attention in the easiest way possible, while using little people and African Americans as props, talking up drugs, and linking up with dirty old men like Terry Richardson. All this and shaming other women for getting naked to sell products and insulting women who struggle with mental illness. Why any female, let alone a feminist, would defend her behavior is mind boggling.

  35. MonkSolo says:

    No one’s forcing Miley to be nude. She doesn’t HAVE to get the level of recognition that comes with that. She was already famous. She could have continued on her previous path and still made a decent living. It’s just greed for more money.

  36. truly says:

    Gloria was right to focus on the broader issues of culture and not add to the “noise” against a young woman.

    GS has been around awhile, almost 80 years old now, and obviously wise to the fact we’re in a commodity society ~ it’s not just about who is selling something, it’s about who is buying.

  37. homegrrrrl says:

    I don’t expose my kids to media. It’s not that hard people. Media is so hyper sexualed and promotes products that are toxic.

    Had to get that out of the way. Parents.can’t blame the media, ever.

    the media is for me, as an adult, to filter and be informed or amused by.
    Luckily, We live in a free society where sexuality is part of empowerment, but not everything.
    But why are parents exposing their children to show business for examples of intellectual acheivement?
    Clearly I underatand the game, but as an adult I can’t blame anyone else for what I either pay attention to or to how I parent or what trends I follow.

    • Josephine says:

      At some point, your children will see media unless you do not allow them to go to school, be on sports teams, or go to the homes of others. So while your strategy is to shield and ignore, that’s not a viable strategy for everyone.

      You seem to be implying that because we can’t blame media, we cannot demand changes of media. There is such an assumption out there that media only represents what people’ want, but there is very strong social science evidence to the contrary. Media can and does drive desires through an amazing array of psychological techniques, some of which border on unethical in my opinion.

      So yes, I think we should take on “media” whenever we reject the message being portrayed. We don’t just have to accept it and live under a rock to hide from it.

  38. JaNIL says:

    You have to be nude to be noticed, when you have NO REAL TALENT.

    Until the early 1990s, most singers could really sing. Performers of today only LIP SYNCH and TAKE OFF THEIR CLOTHES. That is ALL THEY DO. Because they cannot really sing!!!!

  39. Aud says:

    The corporations have won and feminism has lost.
    I refuse to watch shows like Ellen. To me Ellen Degeneres is a corporate minion/puppet who advertises what she is paid to advertise and unfortunately, having Miley on her show and supporting her essentially condones Miley’s behaviour to the masses, especially young girls under a certain age who don’t know any better.
    And no, I don’t care if Ellen is a vegan and supports animals. If we consider what Sinead O’Connor said, that record companies are like pimps that enable this type of prostitution, then what is Ellen if not an aider and abetter of this?
    Miley is the pawn.
    As annoying, trashy and cheap as she can be, people need to examine the machine that promotes her, from the record company right down to the supposedly ‘innocent’ variety/talk shows like Ellen.
    Shows like Ellen create fame, but they also contribute to the self destruction that follows fame. The reality is that these ‘stars’ don’t know how to handle themselves and have no barometer when they’re surrounded by sycophants and yes people.

  40. Charlie Canada says:

    Miley’s recent behavior screams to the rooftops “Disney child star/immature spoiled brat on the road to the addiction/rehab cycle.” If she really, truly wants to shed her Disney child star persona, she should grow up and start behaving with dignity, class, and grace.

  41. pippa says:

    More than her nudity, its her stupid tongue sticking out that irks me.

  42. TheWendyNerd says:

    I used to blog a lot on buzznet.com, this was back between 2005-2009. I blogged about a bunch of things, including feminism and I would sometimes talk about celebrity culture and how it related to sociology. I was friends with some of the staff there and they liked my blogs so sometimes I’d be on the front page. I wrote a blog on Miley Cyrus when she had one of her first photo scandals with those “sexy” pics that someone hacked from her email/phone and how people were being too hard on who was, at the time, a 14/15 year old girl and how stupid and unfair it was to expect her to be some role model for their kids when she was just a kid herself. http://johnnynotsid.buzznet.com/m/user/journal/1741501/oh-for-crying-out-loud/. (sorry about the grammar errors, I was 17 and didn’t proof before posting). Anyways, I used to be a big Miley defender and thought she got too much flack. These days, though she’s an adult and everything she’s done is so stupid, cheap, and obvious. People have always judged her like Hell and did so way too harshly when she was a kid and I think that’s a big part of the problem. She was put under all this pressure to be a role model when she wasn’t even old enough to drive and called horrible things and treated like dirt by millions when she slipped even slightly from this ridiculous ideal a bunch of people expected her to live up to. As a result, I think it’s really messed up her ability to view herself objectively, make sound judgments, and properly deal with criticism. She’s spent a good chunk of her life dealing with unfair bullshit from the public and being told since she was fifteen that she was A HORRIBLE SLUT WHORE BITCH for doing something as harmless as taking a selfie in a bikini at at this point she must see almost all negative public responses as bullshit because so much of it has been her whole life. So even the rational, correct and astute stuff to her sounds no different than the stupid shit she had to deal with as a kid. She’s been told by the public that she’s a ‘slut’ since she was fourteen for something as simple as taking a selfie where she lifts her skirt above her knee. When you’ve been dealing with that sort of thing for so long, it becomes almost impossible to listen to anyone or take any criticism seriously, especially in terms of sexuality. After a couple of years of being dragged through the dirt for no reason, she probably eventually had to learn that the people saying she was a disgusting slut-pig for wearing a bikini were wrong and being assholes or she would have ended up killing herself faxed with that sort of vitriol so young. She’s been under a microscope being unfairly judged so young that she’s now come to see ALL criticism and non-encouraging responses to her actions as ridiculous, unfair, puritanical BS.

    For example, during my teens I dealt with a person in my family being ridiculously fixated and overly critical of my weight. She referred to the slight amount of belly fat I had as a “gut” that I “really needed to lose”. When I asked her how I looked before leaving the house, it was, “you look great, all you need to do is get I’d of your gut and you’ll be perfect.” I was at a perfectly healthy weight at the time. Eventually I learned to ignore her and disregard her comments on my weight because I knew it was unfair and if I didn’t I’d go insane and hate myself. This eventually translated to me disregarding all weight criticisms and any sort of objectivity regarding my body, mostly because I knew the criticisms this person gave me about my body and mainstream body/beauty standards are bullshit. Then, eventually, years later, I ballooned to a really unhealthy weight. I had no idea I had gotten so big and unhealthy until I went to the doctor. I had learned to completely disregard anything critical weight-wise and view whatever I was doing health wise as okay because there was nothing wrong and anyone who said anything was just being a dick. So I ended up severely Overweight before I finally realized what happened. As soon as I was faced with the situation for real, I got to fixing it, but it was so hard, painful and humiliating thing for me to deal with. And it never would have gotten so bad if I had been able to recognize things earlier, but I couldn’t see it because I couldn’t differentiate between honest, genuine and helpful criticism/ warnings signs and just unfair criticism/ unrealistic standards of beauty and superficiality. I lost the weight and am healthy now, but I hate that the situation ever got that bad.

    I see sort of a similar thing with Miley, only instead of fat, it’s sexualization and exploitation. The sad part is, I was able to lose weight when I finally came to my realization about what I had done. If and when Miley comes to realize what has happened, there’s no losing it. She’ll always be stuck with it.

    • LAK says:

      Wendynerd, I love, love your comments. I have so much to say to you following this comment that it’s overwhelming, and you would be overwhelmed.

      You are wise, beautiful, thoughtful and so many, many more things and I wish we could figure out a way to get in touch in real life so we could meet in real life like I have done with some other people i’ve met on the internet.

      • WendyNerd says:

        LAK, you are brilliant, informative, beautiful and awesome and totally my spirit animal. I wish this site had a PM system so I could give you my email, but I don’t think posting it publicly would be safe. I’m trying to think of a way we could exchange info privately and thought maybe facebook but I don’t know if that would be safe. I’d love to contact you!

    • Kiddo says:

      That was some beautifully insightful commentary. I hadn’t followed Miley all of her career, so it was informative as well.

      The only thing I would have to quibble with is this:
      “The sad part is, I was able to lose weight when I finally came to my realization about what I had done. If and when Miley comes to realize what has happened, there’s no losing it. She’ll always be stuck with it.”

      People can reinvent themselves. Her mistake would not be a fatal one. When we examine this, in the scheme of things, it’s not as if Miley has taken a life. She can grow from it as you did.

      Hmm…italics no longer work?

      • WendyNerd says:

        Kiddo— That’s not what I mean. I don’t mean to imply that Miley’s mistake is killing her. What I mean is, I lost the weight and I’m healthy now and it’s over. It was fairly private and only people that have known me during this time remember it and it’s not been documented for public viewing in any way. But with Miley, her videos and her pictures are always going to be online, the reports about all her antics , the videos and photos are preserved forever and even if she completely does a 180 in her act, she’ll always have to live with reminders of what a fool she made of herself. She’ll get questioned about it in interviews for the rest of her life, it’ll be a part of how she is remembered no matter what she does. Everyone in the world knows who she is now and it’s made her more famous than ever and she’ll have to live with the fact that so many people have seen her labia and that all this crap is just a google search away and always will be. Even if, say, twenty years from now she produces an album that’s White Album caliber, you can bet that in every interview, every article about her, this period in her life will be brought up. She can grow from it, totally, but she can’t escape it. It won’t ever be totally over for her because everything’s being documented and preserved. Even after people get over it, people will still associate this whole thing with her to some degree for years to come. Especially considering the fact that it’s all so public and has gotten her more attention than ever. Like it or not, this is a pretty defining stage in her career/life and everyone is paying attention.

  43. umyeah says:

    I was reading an AMA on reddit with gillian Anderson and there wereWomen on there where they were telling her how her character scully inspired then to be doctors and scientists. They looked up to her as a strong, smart figure. That got me thinking. Wouldn’t that be nice if society celebrated women for their brain more and less for this disgusting behavior. Good job miley.

  44. Shoe_Lover says:

    “I wish we didn’t have to be nude to be noticed. . . But given the game as it exists, women make decisions.”

    That’s cr*p. Adele doesn’t need to be nude to be noticed. Amy Winehouse didn’t need it either (I’m talking about talent- her drug usage isn’t relevant here). Taylor Swift is successful without ripping her clothes off.

    Now I want to point out- I have no issue with nudity what so ever. I’m a Dita fan, I’ve been to Burlesque shows, I love Girls of the Playboy Mansion.
    Miley however is so desperate for fame and attention. If she relied on her talent she would have success she just wouldn’t be a joke

  45. Flounder says:

    Miley is young, and her behavior is a reflection of her immaturity. end of story.

  46. HeatherN says:

    I have admired GS a long time; I also wish a woman didn’t have to be nude or easy to get noticed. but that doesnt’ mean I’m nude or easy. Miley has a choice. In fact, Miley has A LOT OF money that gives her choices that, for example, my daughter simply doesn’t have. Period. She can choose to do a lot of things – even to get attention, but what a shallow pursuit – that don’t make her a participant in the exploitation of women in entertainment. I know lots of girls who do not seem to need this level of attention, and they are a delight to behold. Nice, forward thinking young women who prefer their own dignity to being ‘liked’ or whatever it is you get for being nude and gyrating on a wrecking ball. So, GS, sorry, this time, I disagree. Having a teenage girl makes me more of an expert than her. I talk about these choices with my daughter DAILY. I am sad for Miley that she thinks her main mission in life is to get noticed. Sad, sad, sad. All that money and this is what she chooses?