Is she having a mental breakdown? Is she on drugs? Is she coming out as a lesbian? These are just some of the headlines youll recognise if you remember Miley Cyruss infamous Bangerz era, otherwise known as the year of her life when she toured the world riding a hot dog naked.
She brought twerking to the mainstream, she unapologetically cut her hair and she wore barely-there clothes – but was she really going insane, or was she just doing things other darent, and saying a massive f*ck you to the standards society holds against women?
While Miley herself has admitted that during that time she went “a bit crazy”, its clear to see that the extremes of this time stemmed from what was originally self-expression, and quickly spiralled into a 19-year old girl who had seen the spotlight from a young age, being sexualised across the world and in the tabloids for letting loose and breaking boundaries, going too far to fight back.
But that was 2013.
That was a time when women and men alike threw around words like slut as though it was nothing when chatting to their friends, as well as the year social media really took off when the Pope joined the Twitter, and gay marriage wasnt even legal in the UK.
Since that time, Miley has bounced back with new albums, reclaimed her “girl-ish” style, and even married Liam Hemsworth. But what you havent seen, is the same awful reaction to her latest single, Mothers Daughter, as we did to the release of Bangerz, begging the question – how much has the worlds views shifted in just seven years?
Mothers Daughter has everything a feminist anthem needs. A bite-back chorus, and a music video packed with female-forward activists including prominent members of the LGBT community, who barely had a voice in 2013.
In true Miley fashion, the video shows her sporting a red latex catsuit (Britney, anyone?) complete with vagina teeth as she repeatedly sings the confrontational lines “Back up, back up, back up boy,” and “Oh my god, she got the power” with the main message of the song being “Dont f*ck with my freedom” – a rapid shift from the days of the Hoedown Throwdown.
Shes also dived back into acting with her appearance in the latest season of Charlie Brookers hit series, Black Mirror, as Ashley O, a pastel-haired popstar (turned-gay-icon) who tries to break free from her “manufactured” pop persona so she can create “real music” – an ironic storyline which scarily mirrors the reality of the industry and Mileys transition from Hannah Montana to becoming Miley.
But instead of questions being raised about her morality, were now seeing support from the masses, describing Mothers Daughter and its video as “powerful statements” and “fierce”, despite it being in the same NSFW tone as the singers previous dip into being overtly feminist.
In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, Miley acknowledged: “I know what Im doing. I know Im shocking you.
“Theres something empowering about what Im doing right now. Especially having “short hair dont care.” I think its empowering for girls. Because theres not one thing that defines what beauty is.”
Admittedly, writing this is proof of the cultural shifts were facing right now. You only have to type in my handle on Twitter followed by the words “Miley Cyrus” to see an exact tweet I posted the day of the 2013 VMAs performance, when I was just 15, that reads: “Miley at the VMAs is so uncomfortable to watch”. And in reality, it was.
It was a time where we werent exposed to women who werent known as activists making social change in their field, and if they were openly considered an activist it was frowned upon, but really people were never mad about what Miley was doing – they were just shocked. Shocked that a stereotypically attractive, female A-lister, was being all feminist and sh*t, when that was supposed to be reserved for women with protest-armpit hair.
Fast forward seven years and a lot more has changed than we realise. Feminist slogans stamp high street t-shirts and celebrities are standing up for causes that were previously frown-worthy.
Arguably, the #MeToo movement has happened since then, and while the stories of these women emerged for all of the wrong reasons, it has a large part to play in why people have started paying more attention to everything thats still, in 2019, wrong with womens freedom, and women everywhere have started owning their femininity.
Anna Miles, period poverty activist and co-founder of the Red Box Project (a service helping to provide disadvantaged women with access to period products), knows this all to well, and despite being a community hero seeking social justice, she has witnessed the