Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus is Brilliant

It's brilliant and you know it. Even if you hate it.

Especially if you hate it.

Now for those who haven't seen the music video (all 7 of you) watch it now:

What do you see? A trashy non-sensical music video where a 20-something pulls a proverbial middle finger to a non-descript authority and flaunts a sexual image? And also a few random shots of bread?

Yes. That's why it's so good.

It's good because those things aren't bad people just think they are. Miley is well known for her portrayal of Hannah Montana in the family friendly Disney show of the same name. Well that was fine while it lasted but now it's over and she's stuck with that Hannah Montana image that she clearly doesn't want. She's growing up, she's changing, she's not this innocent sweet role model for small children and she doesn't need to be. There are other Disney shows out there people go watch them instead.

What her latest video does is forcefully reject her previous image for the sake of drastically reinventing herself. This is how you destroy an image and make a new one. She's getting a lot of backlash from this in the comments. People are calling her a slut etc, which is 1) slut shaming and 2) gosh darn stupid because "you're meant to be a good role model to kids you slut whore!" is somewhat contradictory.

The song isn't just an attempt to distance herself from her innocent image that drags on her like a weight but a response to the hate she is inevitably getting from this. It literally opens with a message to those who think they can tell her what to do and wear:

It's our party we can do what we want
It's our party we can say what we want
It's our party we can love who we want

The opening verse might as well be "F*** off x10" and rightly so. Does everybody not realise that they are demanding that this person they've never met do what they want and act how they've constructed her in their minds to be? A construct based off a fictional TV show. Do they not realise how weird that is? People are yelling at the horror that is reality not aligning with their personal fictions. They fail to understand that their opinion on the matter starts and ends with whether or not they're willing to spend money on a product. They don't need to care outside of "do I enjoy this music enough to buy it" and they don't realise anything outside of that isn't wanted. She's an entertainer and you either like her entertainment or you don't. You don't get to tell her how to entertain you. They're not just trying to control what she wears but her entire persona and that's messed up. She sees that it and is rebelling against it. Did you not expect her to grow up and change? Did you expect her to be playing the sweet virgin until her 40s? If she never changed anything you'd be busy complaining about "That Destiny Hope Cyrus is such a bad role model for 13 year old girls!" (thank goodness she changed her name. That'd be really weird to see thousands of complete strangers call someone called "Destiny Hope" a slut).

I really love the self affirming lines:

Remember only God can judge ya
Forget the haters cos somebody loves ya

Those lines and the opening verse basically sum up the entire song. People will be judgemental but screw them. They don't matter.

There seems to be a lot of random silly things in this video like oversized teddy bear back packs, bread, stuffed animals, and coins projected onto bread... but I do believe even if a lot of these are for the sake of being unexpected there is one bit with meaning: at 1:43 Miley is in a pool with a "CENSORED" bar over her mouth. Out of all the deliberately sexual imagery in this video she chooses to put a "CENSORED" bar there. Sexual imagery of women pervade our society, but Miley is pointing out how little women are allowed to comment on that. This video and song are deliberately shocking and, as expected, we see the backlash. "Stop saying these things about you having fun and doing what you want! Be quiet! Have fun in ways we approve of!" and her response is "I knew you were going to say that... but no." It's a brilliant mixture of a message and a rebuttal to the response of that message at the same time.

Is Miley a good role model? Does it even freaking matter? Why are you imposing the role model status on her? And really deep down... what did you expect from a wealthy 20 year old with a lot of pressure on her to do if it wasn't rebel and write songs about partying?

Have... have you not... met 20 year olds...?

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