‘When you're 11, the word you would use to describe someone is definitely not sexy, and as you get older I think you grow into that. And I think I've done that but that's not my schtick. That's not what I'm trying to do to sell records. I want people to buy my record because of my music.’
Ahh, the wisdom of Miley Cyrus, in defence of her recent wardrobe choices (hot pants, low-cut pleather) and more interestingly, her behavioural choices (pole dancing on stage at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards and faux-kissing a female dancer during a performance of her new single “Can't Be Tamed” on Britain's Got Talent last week).
Let’s be honest, her antics are not surprising – she’s not the first female popstar to perform scantily clad, nor is she first to publicly plant a same-sex kiss (think fellow pop gals Britney and Madonna).
Miley has defended her kiss on her website, claiming that since it wasn’t a ‘real kiss’ it didn’t really happen: ‘I promise you I did not kiss her and it is ridiculous that two entertainers cant even rock out with each other without the media making it some type of story. I really hope my fans are not disappointed in me because the truth is I did nothing wrong. I got up there and did my job which is to perform to the best of my ability. I just want to put an end to this right now and just say one thing to everyone out there making this performance such a big deal.’
Wha?!? Has she gone mental? Firstly, Miley is fiercely policing the boundaries of her heterosexuality, as suggested by her vehement denial of any same-sex contact, her determination to distinguish between ‘actually’ kissing another girl or just “rock[in’] out” (aka simulating the kiss). This way, she keeps her heterosexuality intact, as she ‘did nothing wrong.’ She seems to be saying ‘it’s ok to pretend to be gay while I’m wearing almost no clothes, but it’s not ok to actually be gay.’
At the same time, Miley is using a same-sex act to garner the attention that she claims she doesn’t want – even The Age had a link to a short piece about it! If Miley’s not really kissing girls and not really seeking attention I don’t know whether the act can be except an outrageously silly and immature publicity stunt. It smacks of a young girl desperate to look sexy and instead appearing clumsy, hypocritical and lacking understanding of any sort of sexual or gendered sensibilities. Unfortunately (though ironically in Miley’s favour) the focus after this little exploit was certainly not on the music and despite her claims, may actually boost her record sales.
I do feel a bit bad for Miley. She is surrounded by other crazies after all - her ex-best friend Katy Perry did make herself famous by singing I Kissed a Girl (though later she assured audiences they shouldn’t worry, she never actually had kissed a girl). That said I’m pretty distressed about the way these young women act and call it ‘sexy’ - as if female sexuality must always be reduced to what brings in the highest profit margin, with no regard for (or rather, little demonstrated understanding of) the implications and inconsistencies of what they're doing.
Opening quote at