"Miley Cyrus rolls a joint" - E! Online
"Miley Cyrus gets back to Twerk" - Last FM
"Miley Cyrus bares her boobs again" - Mirror
"Miley Cyrus strips for Terry Richardson" - Idolator
"Miley Cyrus X-Rated Bangerz stage antics" - Gigwise
"Miley Cyrus photographed naked in bed" - Perez Hilton
"Miley Cyrus: Her 30 most naked photos" - Huffington Post
"Miley Cyrus: Most controversial moments ever" - Buzzfeed
"Miley Cyrus grabs crotch, curses, shows off butt bruises" - Hollywood Gossip
Sound familiar? Well it's no surprise, as it's all we've heard since 2012. But who is Miley Cyrus? And why was she the most talked about celebrity of 2013? (and quite possibly 2014) If you're a bit baffled by the Cyrus Virus, I'm going to break it down for you - but not how you might be thinking. I'm not going to be talking about what possesses such a young woman to put herself out there in front of millions, strip her clothes to the ground, twerk and waggle her infamous tongue, or how a lot of people have beef with her. I'm going to be going into the revolution of Miley Cyrus and why she has become the face of celebrity rebellion. Because, let's face it, we just can't seem to get enough. Love her or hate her, Miley Cyrus has become the number one hot topic of 2013-14.
We all know that kids will be kids. They'll develop their own little likes and dislikes. One day they want to go to space, the next day they'll want to be a dancer. One day they like spaghetti hoops, the next day they'll refuse to eat anything that isn't fish fingers. It's a tricky one, but as you parents out there will know, they tend to grow out of most of their cute and not-so-cute little phases. But what happens when the child feels pressured into displaying only one side of their personality because they're aware that every decision they make as their grow is being carefully scrutinised? What happens when the child is paid to behave in a certain way? What happens when they can't play in the park with their friends, or can't walk their dog, or can't go for ice-cream because there are people outside wanting to take photographs of them? I think this was the beginning of what would ultimately be Miley's rebellion against what was expected of her.
Teen-hood is always a difficult one to figure out. Am I the only one who remembers worrying about where I'd sit at lunch time? Or how cute the guy in school (who was way older than me) was? Or whether or not I'd locked my diary the night before? So flash-forward to when Miley Cyrus turned 18 in 2011, "Hannah Montana" (her Disney Channel Pop-Singer alter-ego of 5 years) is finally put to rest, and for a while, and after a questionable stint on stage involving spinning around a pole to "Party in the U.S.A.", Miley Cyrus quickly falls into the quiet lifestyle of a young woman trying to find her feet. And boy, did she find them.
2012 and Miley breaks the news that she's engaged to her new beau, Liam Hemsworth. Wait? What? Where did that come from? The pair starred in the movie rendition of Nicolas Sparks' "The Last Song" together, a freshly engaged Cyrus just couldn't stop flashing her gorgeous ring. I guess this meant she's officially a legitimate grown-up now right? So when this whirlwind relationship came to an unfortunate end, Miley Cyrus did what any strong-willed woman would do... Get up, dust her knees off, and get back out there as the independent adult she needed to be in the face of those who doubted the relationship from the beginning. Not sure we expected her next move though.
Less than a year later and Miley ditches her classic dresses and long flowing dark hair with a short, platinum pixie cut. This was probably the most talked about celebrity haircut ever. I couldn't believe the fuss being made about her hair. Thus, the beginning of how we never did stop talking about Miley's image.
But, obviously, this was just the beginning.
As we welcomed in 2013, it wasn't only Miley's hair and wardrobe that made a rather drastic change. She began collaborating with stars such as Snoop Dogg and Will.I.Am - a world away from her Hannah Montana Days. Then out came her first No.1 hit, "We Can't Stop". The music video alone broke the VEVO record of "Most Viewed in 24 hours" with a whopping 10.7 million of us tuning in to her comeback song on YouTube. But we, apparently, weren't very impressed. The lack of clothes, the grills, the grinding, the questionable imagery, the twerking, the tongue... We seemed to have a real problem, with a lot of mothers rolling up their sleeves readying themselves to write angry letters and fume perilously to anybody who would listen, young girls repeating "I miss the old Miley!" and young boys well... They didn't seem to mind too much.
We loved to hate Miley and what she was fast becoming, and the comments never ceased; "Seems like someone has just discovered sex", "Doesn't she realise she's losing old fans acting this way?!", "Miley Cyrus is fake. End of. Trying to twerk with her bony *** to keep her name in the media." But despite the comments, her official social media accounts were blowing up. Thousands upon thousands of us started to follow her, waiting for the next big thing we could sink our teeth into.
Miley followed up "We Can't Stop" with her new single, "Wrecking Ball", and like a pack of dogs being thrown a scrap of meat, the world pounced on it waiting to be "shocked and appalled" by her behaviour. A silence fell when we realised the "We Can't Stop" had nothing on "Wrecking Ball." This silence lasted all of about two minutes while we got over a fully naked Miley Cyrus (aptly) swinging on a wrecking ball and (perhaps not-so-aptly) licking tools. Euphemism? As Miley explained that the idea behind the video was that she was "In love with what was destroying her", we weren't falling for that! There's obviously no room for nudity in any form in this day and age.
While some, again, voiced their concerns - the stream of hate-filled comments, response videos and news articles ran as fluid as ever. We just couldn't get over Miley Cyrus. Who did she think she was? She was clearly manipulating the system and infiltrating our children's minds with her sexually explicit behaviour. Understandably, I might add, this did become a very legitimate concern for parents of youngsters who grew up in Miley's shadow throughout her Hannah Montana days and watched on as she became a beautiful and elegant movie star and singer in her own right. So what do you do when your child expresses a desire to see Miley's new music video that everybody is talking about?
Is Miley Cyrus responsible for your child's welfare? In short? No. Being a celebrity comes with a couple of unofficial guidlines that you should always be aware of, and number one is to understand who is going to be watching you. What you do with that information is ultimately your own choice. However, although Miley signed a contract when she starred in Hannah Montana, once that contract came to an end, she never signed up to being a role model for children around the world, it's up to parents to monitor what their children are allowed to see and partake in.
Now, have you heard that song, "Blurred Lines"? No, it's not a Cyrus song. You can look to (or blame) Robin Thicke for this one. The music video for blurred lines wasn't exactly a world away from Miley's new videos, with naked ladies and pretty explicit undertones. Which is why at the MTV VMAs, we weren't really surprised when Cyrus and Thicke teamed up for a joint rendition of "Blurred Lines". But once again we were somehow surprised when Miley (wearing nothing but a teddy-bear swim suit) bent over in front of Thicke and proceeded to use a Foam Finger in a way a Foam Finger has never been used before. Just to clarify, when I say "surprised":
Needless to say, Miley received an offical complaint from Steve Chmelar - the creator of the Foam Finger. Apparently she "misrepresented and degraded an icon". He was pretty outraged. As well he should be, right?
And as if none of it ever happened, out comes Miley Cyrus' new album "Bangerz". Since albums don't tend to come with their own music videos, we listened intently, closed our eyes and imagined nothing but the innocence of kittens and puppies and all things pure after our emotional rollercoaster that was Miley Cyrus at the MTV Music Awards.
But what ho? A new music video is on the cards? As we all braced ourselves for another frighteningly explicit video (at this point, even though we seem to have nothing but bad things to say about Miss Cyrus, we sure are investing a lot of time in her). The "Adore You" music video hit our screens in December, and although we seemed to be pleasantly surprised by the slow and emotional ballad song, again, we just weren't happy with the video. Miley Cyrus rolling around naked in bed? Apparently, not what we had in mind. But after a string of erratic behaviour from Cyrus, could I ask what actually expected?
It's 2014 and Miley Cyrus has posed for raunchy photographs taken by reknown photographer of the stars Terry Richardson (who has photographed the likes of President Obama, Beyonce, Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Rey, Mila Kunis, Miranda Kerr and Cara Delevingne,) and has posed nude for W Magazine and Vogue Germany. After three years, we may even be coming to terms with this is just what Miley Cyrus does.
You might be asking yourself, where are her parents? Why has she been raised to behave this way? Your answer is probably a little more complex than just "She was manipulated for the big bucks." Living a restricted childhood and then being given the freedom of an adult with millions of dollars would have an affect (for better or for worse) on anybody. She's finding herself and an environment she feels comfortable in - and like it or lump it, this is it.
When asked about her behaviour and wardrobe choices Miley's mother (and Manager), Tish, admits that they've only ever had one singular disagreement about an outfit choice, and like Miley's father, Billy Ray Cyrus, she believes that Miley is finding herself, just like any young adult - but she's doing it in front of thousands of people. Billy Ray Cyrus was quoted on The Talk saying "Miley said 'My philosophy is if the world says go left, go right.'" So are we seeing the real Miley Cyrus, or are we seeing a young woman putting on façade and fighting to rebel against an environment she'll never be able to please? Or is it a little bit of both?
We've chatted about a lot today. But I haven't even touched on what Miley has to say about it all. After all, the world can speculate all it wants to, but when asked over and over again why she acts the way she does and if she's ready for even more attention, she responds cross-legged with a smile;
"I don't think about any of that stuff. I just want people to listen to my music. I'm happy with the star power that I have now. I feel like I've worked so much. I had to be something else (that I wasn't) for five years, so now I think life is too short for people not to be happy, and if you're an artist you're allowed to be who you are. If you're working in an office you can't wear what you want, you can't say what you want, you have a boss... And I don't, so I want to take advantage of that. Because I'm lucky, and I want to enjoy the life that I have rather than try to always be so perfect. Being perfect is so boring. So boring. And when you talk to someone who pretends like they're perfect, you just want them to f*ck up so bad because it's so annoying what they're doing because you know it's not true. You know you go to their room and they're like a psychopath. You know who's real because people that are too nice or, you know, too proper, you know that they're secretly a psycho."
(Check out interview here)
There's no denying that even though so many people are reeled in (and shocked) by Miley's climb to being the world's most talked about celebrity, her fan-base is certainly stronger than ever, and Miley has earned her spot in the music industry. I think Miley works hard on her music, and I think that although she can be misinterpreted a "young woman fumbling around trying to find a sense self-worth", I think she's a smart girl. I think she knows exactly what she's doing. She knows how controversial she's being - and she knows that for as long as she is Miley Cyrus, people will be curious about what she's doing next - and all-the-while, promoting her music. She's playing the game perfectly, and I commend her for that.
Miley has pathed the way for rebellious youngsters all over the world, but at what cost? What more can Miley do to shock us into paying attention to her music/antics, and for how long will we be fascinated by her? Will we become desensitised to controversial celebrity behaviour? Miley has certainly given us something to think about. I'm now left with only one question, what do you think about the Miley Cyrus Virus?