“I don’t want to be perfect, but I do want to be a role model. My mom always tells me that imperfections equal beauty. All of us are imperfect.” – Miley Cyrus
Ah Miley Cyrus, you’ve done it again.
At first glance, we see a model, posing provocatively and raunchily at the camera. However the connotations from this one, rather simple photograph, extend far beyond this image.
Photographer, Terry Richardson, is infamous for his “artistic” approach to capturing his subjects. The 48 year old has worked with Rolling Stone, Vogue and GQ, whilst also shooting individuals such as Kate Moss, Cara Delavigne, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and of course, Miss Miley Cyrus (Terry Richardson, 2014).
Singer, actress, and in this case model, Miley Cyrus presents extremely diverse connotations to people across the globe. The starlet stepped onto the world stage at the early age of 12 as Disney star, Hannah Montanna. With long, blonde hair and sweet poppy songs, she captured the hearts of teenagers across the globe. Naturally, people grow up and change, Miley’s just happened to be front page of every magazine. With the rebellious, stylish and mature hair cut, a new sound, new (lack of) clothes and attitudes, Miley shocked, intrigued and captured audiences, sparking a media frenzy.
But what’s so wrong about exposing images like this? Miley is not the first person to bare her skin for the camera and certainly won’t be the last. The negative responses play on people’s beliefs that at the age of 20, and with many of her fans being young, influential, teenage girls, it’s completely inappropriate. Representing the sexualization of young girls, relaying the message that this behavior is normal and accepted, “I know that now ur in the twenties but still that doesn’t mean u should act like this!” (@Mitchita_tustus, 2014) On the other hand, supporters are praising her for daring to act out and break away from her ‘innocent’ teenage look. Singers have always been pushing the boundaries, through lyrics, music videos and their image, “she didn’t change, she’s still the beautiful Miley. It’s the society that’s changed.”(omgpurf_ruby_123, 2014)
But is this ok? In today’s media dependent society, we must be able to approach images, their thoughts and ideas with education, understanding and then being able to come to our own conclusions. This sexulization of young girls is a prominent part of the music industry, that won’t disappear overnight, thus making the education of young people across the globe, crucial. Teaching us to critique, evaluate and look beyond the image for the full story. The full story here is that Miley Cyrus, a young, vulnerable girl who has been preyed on by directors, photographers and ‘mentors’ is attempting to create an image for herself, and that image will quickly become outdated, cheap and replaced by someone else. The decisions we make today will ultimately affect our tomorrow. We are all capable of making smart decisions and I think anyone who is aware of Miley Cyrus’ ‘evolution’ can agree that she’s launched one of the most successful marketing campaigns of the 21st Century, and will endure the consequences of her actions in the near future.
Terry Richardson Official Website, accessed 19/03/14, http://www.terryrichardson.com/index.html
Official Miley Cyrus Twitter Account, @MileyCyrus #Bangerz, https://twitter.com/MileyCyrus
@Mitchita_tustus, Instagram, 21/03/14, accessed 21/03/14
@omgpurf_ruby_123, Instagram, 21/03/14, accessed 21/03/14
Miley’s Tongue, http://thefunnyplace.net