When Miley Cyrus said her “Wrecking Ball” video (in which she cries into the camera, before getting it on with a wrecking ball and a sledgehammer) was inspired by Sinead O’Connor‘s classic and subtle “Nothing Compares 2 U” video (that title is pre-texting!), O’Conner wrote an open letter to Miley, warning her that’s she’s being used as a cog in the sexist machinery of the music biz. Musician/arteeest Amanda Palmer then wrote an open letter to O’Connor warning her of that poopoo-ing female artists’ choices is actually not very feminist. Read the letters and then take the poll below!
Here’s an excerpt from O’Connor’s letter:
Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an¬†empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you)¬†more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent….
I¬†repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music¬†business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give¬†a flying fuck about you. They’re there for the money‚Ä¶ we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be¬†that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control….
Whether we like it or not, us¬†females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The¬†message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted ‚Ä¶ its so not cool Miley ‚Ä¶ its dangerous. Women are to be¬†valued for so much more than their sexuality. We aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier¬†messages to your peers ‚Ä¶ that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any¬†motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.
And excerpt from Palmer’s letter:
Miley is, from what I can gather, in charge of her own show. She’s writing the plot and signing the checks, and although I think it’s tempting to imagine her¬†in the board room of label assholes and management, I don’t think any of them masterminded her current plan to be a raging, naked, twerking sexpot. I¬†think that’s All Miley All The Way. Now, would these men ARGUE with her when she comes into the room and throws down her treatment to hop up naked¬†on the proverbial (and literal) wrecking ball? Of course not. Sex sells. We all know it. Miley knows it better than anyone: swinging naked on a big metal¬†ball simply gets you more hits than swinging on a big metal ball wearing clothes. We’re mammals. LOOK BOOBS! And even more tantalizing: LOOK¬†HANNAH MONTANA BOOBS! But none of this means that Miley is following anyone else’s script. In fact, what I see is Miley desperately trying to write her¬†own script; truly trying to be taken seriously (even if its in a nakedly playful way) by the standards of her own peers….
I want to live in a world where Miley (or any female musician) can twerk wildly at 20, wear a full-cover floral hippie mumu at 37, show up at 47 in see-through latex, and pose semi-naked, like Keith & co, on the cover of rolling stone at 57 and be APPLAUDED for being so comfortable with her body. This¬†is not to say that women have to play the desperate I’M-STILL-SEXY game as they age. Watching Madonna’s plastic surgeries and apparent¬†stubbornness around aging just makes my inner teenager want to scream (YOU’RE MADONNA! YOU COULD HAVE MADE AGING SEXY GODAMMIT¬†AND YOU DIDN’T!!), but the grown-up in me just pauses for a breath and remembers that Madonna is just carving out her section of the playing field. How¬†she chooses to sculpt her face and body is just…her choice.
Who do you think is right?