I came across the latest photo shoot from Candy magazine, featuring a yep-she’s-really-naked Miley Cyrus, a cat, a flannel, a strap-on, and a mess of armpit hair. No I’m not kidding.
The teen popstar’s done it again—full on shock value, complete with her tongue out in every shot. And rocking the ‘My Pssy My Choice’ leotard, it’s obvious she doesn’t give a f*ck.
I first saw these photos at 5AM on a Monday, probably the worst possible time. I was just coming off the weekend, squinting my eyes at the bright screen of my phone, my head still fuzzy with sleep. I scrolled through my feed, then stopped. What the hell?
There was shot after shot of Miley and her cropped blonde-brown hair doing something sexual—tongue out, her fingers in her mouth, or sucking on a strap on. In almost every photo she was naked, or at least in something so skimpy or see-through it was pretty much the same thing. She didn’t smile. Just straight-faced the camera, her body on full display. In one photo, she was squatting, legs spread completely open, the left side of her chest barely hidden by the edge of her flannel cut-off. In another she wore the see-through white leotard and held a fluffy white cat in front of her head for an in-your-face play on words.
Miley used to be a Disney channel star, a tween sensation. She was the model of the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ song, the long-haired belle with a Southern twang, and Hannah Montana, the girl who lived a double life.
She wanted to rebel. I get it. She wanted to break out of that little kid mold and establish herself as a real star. As someone beyond the cutesy TV show and catchy, but annoying Disney melodies. She wanted music that struck a chord. An image that left an impression. She wanted to be a person to be reckoned with.
But this? See, here’s the thing. I stuck by Miley when the pictures of her taking bong rips crossed the nation, when she started writing songs about being a dangerous, sexy heart-breaker, when she got engaged. I even stood by her when she chopped her hair off, tattoo her arms and hands, and started singing on a rap track. She was coming into her own. She was just trying to figure herself out. And with her short hair and attitude, she was a bad*ss. But this? This is too much.
In one photo, Miley’s holding her arm up, and a patch of armpit hair so fuzzy it doesn’t look real stares back at the camera. Then there’s her face, inches away, tongue extended as if to lick it. At 5AM I try my hardest to wrap my head around a deeper meaning. But there isn’t one. She looks absolutely ridiculous.
Then I realize: she’s going for the shock.
Here’s the thing, Miley. You’re not sexy. Not in the least bit. But I have to give it to you, you’re making a statement. Like the stupid cat suit and your on-stage twerking last year, you’re doing something so outlandish that you make the world stop and talk. You’ve become the latest internet scandal. Your pictures are what everyone’s Googling, wondering about, talking mad crap about.
But maybe that’s exactly what you want. To show the world that you don’t care. But at the same time, grab every social media user’s attention. To shock us with your police hat and strap on in your mouth. To let us know that you’re a big deal. That you’re going to live your life and shove it in our faces. Yep. That is a cat. And yep, those are my boobs.
At first glance I’m disgusted by the Candy shoot. I mean, seriously? Is objectifying your body and being blatantly sexual the way you really want to present yourself? Is this the attention you want? What you want the world to see and know about you? With your legs open and something in your mouth? Yeah, we get it. You don’t care. But that’s how you want to be known and remembered? A strap on around your waist and your nipples showing through a leotard? It’s a shame that this is what you feel is the only way the world will notice you, if you post naked pictures. But by all means, live your life.
I stare at the photos for a moment, blinking the sleep from my eyes. The funny thing is, maybe the reaction she’s getting from me is exactly what she wanted. I mean, she obviously doesn’t give a sh*t that her body’s on display, that she’s a sex symbol rather than actually sexy. But maybe that’s what she wants—to be an internet sensation, for people to talk, even talk bad about, because that means they’re talking.
What does that say about us, about our culture, that these ridiculous photos are becoming something so big, just because they’re naked and in-your-face? How did she know we’d all act like this? Like we’re so much better than her? That we have the right to stand in judgment of how she lives her life, simultaneously giving her the popularity and attention she was looking for all along.
Sh*t Miley, you’ve got the world all figured out.
As featured on Pucker Mob.