I know, I know everyone is sick to death of thinking and talking about Miley Cyrus but I think this is interesting. Recently Miley has come out explicitly saying that she is a feminist. You can read more about it in this article here:
I find this particularly interesting because so few mainstream celebrities will explicitly come out and say that they are feminists, they normally stick to the old script of “I’m not a feminist but…..” because they are told that they need to remain relatable and the term feminist conjures up images of screaming harpies…or something. Anyway.
I am glad that someone, particularly a someone who’s main fan base is 12-15 year old girls is labeling herself a feminist with out attempting to diminish, justify or explain herself. Miley is proudly stating what she is and what she believes feminism to be. I do not think that we can underestimate the importance of this. For the last few decades being a feminist was something that no one who aspired to mainstream success could claim to be. Furthermore, we have to remember that Miley Cyrus is 20 years old, I have hopes that as she gains age and experience her feminism will gain more depth and nuance. My own journey as a feminist began about 7 years ago and I don’t think my 20 year old self would recognise the feminism that I now practice. While I am happy to critique Miley’s feminism and her expression of said feminism I will certainly not critique her choice to label herself as a feminist. I believe that the expression of Miley’s feminism has the potential to evolve, just as all our feminisms have over time. There are aspects of intersectionality that I still fail at, but I am always striving to educate myself and become a better ally.
I hope that as Miley grows as a feminist her feminism will become more intersectional. I am happy for her that she feels empowered and in control of her own sexuality but I also would really like her to stop appropriating black culture for profit and incorporating racist elements into her performances and music videos. That said, there are plenty of white feminists who perpetuate racism on a daily basis, we don’t revoke their feminist cards, we critique their actions and point out how they can do better. I will never slut shame Miley, she has the right to use her body as she see’s fit, I do however feel justified in pointing out how and when she is contributing to the oppression of women, whether she realises it or not.
My hope is that as Miley has now come out as a feminist is that she will take the time to truly understand what that means. I hope that she will begin to read the words of the many feminists who have come before her and look at how she can dismantle oppression rather than perpetuating it. Women of colour are not props for performance, and cultures other than your own are not things you can plunder for profit on a whim. I hope that as a feminist Miley Cyrus will learn these things.