I’m on Team Miley.
I don’t usually get caught up in the fray of societal commentary on pop stars, and there’s been way too much hype about Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance. From the beginning, I didn’t see the big deal. I didn’t see any more skin on display than I do looking at the endless vintage snapshots of Brigitte Bardot on Pinterest.
Sinead O’Connor accusing Miley of allowing herself to be prostituted by the music industry does not strike me at all as the motherly advice it claimed to be (here’s hoping I never talk to any daughter I might have that way). Amanda Palmer‘s post-feminist retort arguing that Miley can be a strong woman and still dress and act lasciviously seemed reasonable at first, but then she went on to criticize Madonna for getting surgery to look more youthful. I think society has got it twisted if on the one hand we praise and even revere young women for their beauty and sexuality and then harangue them when they try to hold on to those attributes once we’ve deemed it “unseemly.”
I just keep thinking about Miley the artist. All artists go through phases. Picasso had his Blue Period and Monet had a thing for water lilies. Miley is publicly honing her craft and experimenting in her own way. As a child apprenticing for a master, Renaissance artists-in-training copied marble busts until eventually they became, as Darth Vader did, the master. Miley’s not a Disney apprentice any longer. Miley’s an artist who is going out on her own and testing things out.
Being an artist is living in a continuous feedback loop. Some who choose to work within the constraints of mass market expectations (Norman Rockwell) can have thriving careers. Others (and I’m greatly simplifying) push the boundaries more, although usually while working within the constraints of sub-cultural expectations (Damien Hirst). And they too can have a legitimate, valuable, thriving career.
What I’m saying is, Miley’s in a phase, as all artists are at any stage of their developmnt. Eventually, she’ll be in her next phase. (And we’ll be on to the next controversy.)
I really love her new songs. I had to ask someone what “molly” was and a club is about the worst place on earth to me but I love her music and I’ll be interested to see what she explores next with her image, her dancing, her music, and let’s all just call it what it is: her art. Period.
Are you on Team Miley?