People Change – Get off Miley’s Ball and Chain

Source: The Hollywood

Source: The Hollywood

Most have had just over a week to collate their thoughts, leaving judgements on comment threads all over Vevo, YouTube and countless websites as Miley Cyrus released the second single off of her upcoming Bangerz album. The highly-controversial video is still receiving up-to-the-minute views and the moralists haven’t stopped offloading their opinions on the integrity of this latest visual instalment. Currently on more than 100m views, and in less than a week broke records with the most number of views on Vevo in 24 hours, it’s hard for me to ignore this, as irrelevant as she is to me musically.

Purposely, my approach for this commentary is one of autonomy, so I’ve refrained from doing any research on the video/song/director’s inspiration because it’s like spoiling the ending of a film. Instead I comment as if I’d never really been introduced to Miley because up until she was thrust into my consciousness; HD perfect in white panties, she was a non-muthaf**king factor. (Some may know where that phrase originated, expletives and all).

My initial reaction when I clicked onto this video, with my mum sat next to me, should I add, I believe it was on its debut day and needless to say, I was slightly thrown by the extent of nudity. It was unexpected; certainly questionable and as much as I sympathise with the plight of artists whose dream is to simply perform music but never asked to become role models, it comes with the job. And as examples to young women, I definitely feel contemporary female artists are blurring the lines of what it is to express your sexuality.

Speaking of Blurred Lines, when I was first alerted to its unedited video, I had similar thoughts but lyrically, the message was so clear that there was no room to contest. However, what I extracted immediately from Wrecking Ball was the hard, concrete, unmerciful nature of loss against the soft, vulnerability attached to love and supposedly, femininity. Art is never easy to define and is entirely subjective which eliminates boundaries, unless they’re self initiated.

Nudity is also a state of being that I’m at ease with, for the most part. As a former life model, I see an immense amount of beauty in the female form and have seen far more intimate representations of myself than that video. Like Miley, in her white vest, no bra and boyish pants, that’s the outfit I’m most comfortable in too, and probably a good percentage of those who tuned in.

Licking the hammer like it’s the end of a you-know-what; riding the ball knowing what’s perpendicular with the chain, yes, it’s suggestive, but I never want to ignore sensuality because it’s a core part of our nature. I see no reason to suppress, the action should be to educate. In a roundabout way, there’s a piece of every woman in those visuals, so I respect her statement and see the power in it.

Bigger than her nakedness, fondness of twerking, or as a friend of mine termed it, “long-back dancing,” because while twerking is coined a ‘black thing’ (an African-American blogger whose blog I now can’t find, also said this, and I was instantly offended by the deception) her assets in no way fit the bill. (Watch Kevin Hart’s interview with BBC 1Xtra for his comedic slant on it). What provokes me about the deep interest towards Miley’s drastic transformation from Disney do-gooder to white-Rihanna is, essentially people’s general inability to accept change in others.

Source: Bashik on

Source: Bashik on

Year-on-year since 16, I haven’t failed to notice physical and emotional change in myself. Whether it’s been centered on my style, behaviour, maturity, confidence, it’s something that my dad has observed and even my mum, who is a grown woman in her 50s is experiencing. The need to reinvent oneself and the desire to evolve is natural and quite frankly, I’d be concerned if this didn’t take place because life cannot exist without growth. Evolution is everything.

So while my opinion of Miley indefinitely changed, I left the “Beg” protest because I refuse to denigrate my race and myself by saying that she was “begging black” because there’s no such way to define blackness. How suddenly it appeared that she’d adopted this uber-sexual, ‘don’t give an F’ persona did leave me thinking that it was all a gimmick, but as individuals we attack what we’re unable to understand or fearful of doing ourselves.

How many of us want to loosen the grip of fear and break out from the box we’ve been shaped into, but hold back because actually, inside the box you know yourself very well?
There are boundaries in the box that protect us from judgement and give us enough freedom to not go wild and tarnish the image of ourselves that we’ve constructed for so long. Why explore the other vertices when you risk complicating your identity? But boxes are cardboard for a reason and the abstract one that isn’t really there has mouldable qualities. Conformity is dead, and I commend Miley, irrespective of the puppet masters behind her, on having the balls to redesign her mould.

Without looking at the subtext of Wrecking Ball and the Miley Cyrus saga – sexualisation of women in the media, (when haven’t we heard that before?) how sex is corrupting our society, (why is it of so much significance now?) and everyone screaming to be noticed, (each generation had their rebels). Another friend of mine said to me last week, “You’ve got to be shameless in this game.” We were discussing the media industry and becoming a brand but it applies to all areas of life. Do you. Love you. But most of all, embrace reinvention.

I’m going to leave this with a video from YouTuber, Shameless Maya. I love this girl and got glued to her videos a few months back when I typed in ‘fear’ on YouTube which brought her up. Maya did it and is now reaping the benefits so I think everyone else is on to something, even if you aren’t.

Leave a comment

  1. Elliott
    September 17, 2013 / 12:01 am

    Good post! It was deep! loved this pat: “The need to reinvent oneself and the desire to evolve is natural and quite frankly, I’d be concerned if this didn’t take place because life cannot exist without growth. Evolution is everything.” The reason why Miley was naked in the video according to the guy who directed the Wrecking Ball video was to show her as vulnerable. People do change, yes, I only know her old music not this Hannah Montana character that she played. However I do think she is over doing it, trying to be cool and is twerking far too much, as someone who likes to dance she seems to me to be a one trick pony. I believe Miley should let her music do the talking, the media is mainly to blame going on and on about her and her antics. Thank you for introducing me to Shameless Maya, she talks a lot of sense and probably knows she is real pretty, but that’s okay!

    • September 17, 2013 / 6:33 am

      Thanks very much Elliot for reading and leaving a comment. If that’s what the director was putting across then he achieved his purpose as that sentiment was pretty obvious. There’s always risks involved when putting out something risque and in terms of her as a brand, I guess she has to follow suit with others to capture a mainstream audience. Is she trying too hard? I thought so myself but perhaps it’s a world she wants in on…

  2. Rafel Thompson
    September 17, 2013 / 7:57 am

    That was a great controversial read. Touching on so many subjects that you can relate with this whole Miley Cyrus rollercoaster circus spectacular. Growth, race, showcasing her sexuality and identity all these things so many people many people in the world are discussing relating to Miley. This article really does break it down correctly and fairly which may shock people as you read. My personal opinion is that I love Miley Cyrus and everything she’s doing, she’s bringing back this crazy ass Pop culture back to life reminding of the crazy days of Britney Spears Era. This is Miley’s time!

    • September 23, 2013 / 8:34 pm

      I think a lot of people agree with you Rafel, that she’s simply being a bit of a rebel and wanting to have fun with her career. With each generation of pop artists the boundaries are just being pushed ever so further and I think for a lot of the observers, who are old enough to remember something different, perhaps it’s a tad too much and makes them uncomfortable.

  3. vanrubicon
    September 17, 2013 / 9:36 am

    I agree with your friend one has to be shameless in the industry. Especially girls who come from soft Disney backgrounds. Otherwise we wouldn’t pay attention to her ‘art’ now.

    • September 23, 2013 / 8:35 pm

      Exactly Vanessa. Boring doesn’t have the same appeal does it!

  4. Tesha Campbell
    September 23, 2013 / 11:54 am

    Love the article. I’ve been waiting a while for someone to stand in her corner. Yes Miley has changed but so what? So has most artist once they have reached a certain stage in their career. Beyonce did it once she left Destiny’s Child. Maybe not to the extreme but all the same. Each to their own. I for one love Mileys new look.

    • September 23, 2013 / 8:37 pm

      Hi Tesha thanks for commenting and reading the blog post, I hope that you (and all of you) subscribe to the site. Reinvention is inevitable, I mean Madonna, Cher, Whitney, Mary J, JLo, with a lot of those artists, and the list could go on, they changed up their image periodically and they had to. Question is, will new-skool artists like Miley have the longevity that others have experienced?

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