Things that help me, as a modern feminist-artist-anarchist, keep going: The fact that, with an independently-produced zine, Bikini Kill revitalized the Feminist movement after it had been declared “dead” by the mainstream media. The fact that Tori Amos still has a career, after many people told her it was over. The existence of Stevie Nicks. Laura Dern’s performance in Inland Empire, and her over-all awesomeness. The fact that, after suffering through several “sexploitation” films, Sherilyn Fenn chose to write it into her contract that she would not do sex scenes: Though this arguably killed her career, she speaks in interviews about how it has not hurt her happiness in the least, and it is undeniable that she will always be remembered and revered for her amazing and iconic character Audrey Horne, who managed to defy the Virgin/Whore dichotomy. The eternal brilliance of Vivien Leigh’s performances. The fact that Mary Pickford is memorialized by the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study. The fact that Amanda Palmer did punk rock on a piano, and notoriously played so hard that she repeatedly broke piano strings. Tina Fey’s career in general. The way the Kinderwhore style challenged peoples’ expectations of women in music. So did Patti Smith.
So it has unfortunately come to my attention that Miley Cyrus is being painted as the new Feminist Rock Starlet Icon. Because, apparently, humanity has the memory span of a gold fish. In case you are one of the many who apparently forgot, here is something she said onstage during a performance:
“You know, everyone’s a little bit gay,” she told the crowd. “It’s the truth. Everyone’s gay, all it takes is one cocktail. And if that doesn’t work, sprinkle something in their drink. That’s what I always do.” (Source: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/may/12/miley-cyrus-date-rape-gay )
Is this the most ass-backwards attempt to champion tolerance of gay culture, or what? You know, you’re ALSO a woman, so you should be a little more understanding and sympathetic towards a plight that countless women have suffered. Even if you WEREN’T a woman, that comment is cold-hearted, and promotes Rape Culture.
Oh yeah, Rape Culture: I forgot, it’s the in-thing this season. Which leads me to another point about this comment: It’s COOL to joke about rape. When and why did this happen? Fuck if I know. But a pop star like Cyrus making a comment like that is a sad and desperate attempt to 1)draw attention, 2)seem edgy, and 3)be part of the masses, who think it’s hip and funny to joke about rape. That’s called rape culture, kids, and I don’t think you would think it’s so fucking cool and funny if it happened to you.
The next point I need to make is the most difficult one, as many people have a hard time discerning the difference between these two: Sexual Liberation and Self-Exploitation. Yes, there’s a difference, and yes, one is good, and one is bad. When you are sexually liberated, it’s a good and beautiful thing. It’s POWERFUL. It gives you and millions of sexually oppressed individuals MORE POWER AND FREEDOM. Every time someone breaks the bonds of sexual oppression, you are encouraging others to say, “Fuck you, I’m not going to be ashamed of my body or my sexuality.” Tori Amos did this in many ways, by singing about masturbation, talking openly about her experience with rape, and the sexual way she moves at her piano. “Cherry Bomb” by the Runaways is often considered to be an anthem of female sexual liberation with its verse of “Down the street I’m the girl next door/I’m the fox you’ve been waiting for.” And you know what? They didn’t do that shit to be cool, either; in fact, women like this often received harsh criticism (see also: slut shaming) for making such bold statements of sexual freedom. This is what we need more of. I’m all for women being able to sing, write and talk about their pussies, their periods, or anything else the world tries to tell us is “taboo.”
Now that I’ve explained that to you, let me elucidate on Self-Exploitation. For those keeping track, this is the “bad” one I was speaking of earlier. Using Punk as an example, but without getting too deep into Punk Politics, let me give you some quick keys so we can discuss this: Once Punk is sold at your local Hot Topic, it is no longer truly Punk, because it no longer holds to the ideals that define Punk. Got that? OK, now let me say this: Sexual Liberation is like Punk, and Self-Exploitation is like Hot Topic. Still following? Good. Let’s continue.
MANY Pop Stars have gone onstage declaring themselves to be sexually liberated. Maybe they believe it, maybe they know it’s BS, but in reality, in the mainstream world of the Celebrity Star-Making Machine, their sexuality has actually been co-opted by the higher ups: Record Label Executives or Agents who told them “Maybe you’d sell more albums/get more movie roles if you sex it up a bit.” Guess what? Sex sells. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But the media KNOWS that it sells, and has been using this against the public for as far back as there’s been advertising. To sexually liberate yourself is an act that helps the greater good, but here’s the thing: Britney Spears (see also: Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Lady GaGa, Jessica/Ashley Simpson, etc, etc…) shaking her scantily clad ass into the camera just to sell you Pepsi is not done for the greater good. That’s not sexual liberation: That’s you selling your body and your sexuality to a corporation and letting them use it for their means. It doesn’t benefit you, your fans, or humanity: It only benefits the corporation who you brainwash people into buying products from. Actually, I forgot: It DOES land the “performer” a few million dollars, and I’m sure their Maserati was getting a little outdated…
My conclusion: Miley Cyrus is not a feminist. She is not a sexually liberated woman. She’s a corporate shill. As the media knows by now, sensationalism sells: If you don’t believe me, have a look at Lady GaGa or Nicki Minaj. Now do you see what I mean? So the corporations are more than THRILLED to have an ex-Disney Pusher acting so outrageously, because outrageous is going to sell more product. And too many people are more than thrilled to make the trade, selling themselves to corporations in exchange for fame and money (see also: attention-starved, narcissism, etc, etc, etc…). The fact that the Kardashians have their own show (and the existence of E! Television in general) is proof enough of this.
By the way, Kathleen Hanna: Fucking shame on you for allying yourself with Miley Cyrus. You’ve spent your life advocating feminism, and women working together for a common good, and Miley Cyrus has spent her (albiet shorter) life decimating these ideals. From joking about date rape, to shit-talking Sinead O’Connor for trying to give some kindly, empirical advice, Cyrus is nothing but a spoiled brat who wants to jump on every bandwagon that drives by, and expects to be treated like a goddess on each one. Kathleen, maybe before you ran to Cyrus’s side, you could have stood up for Sinead O’Connor. I would have respected that.
Quick one here.
I saw both 300 movies for the first time today. Some things I would like you to consider, if you have seen one or both of them:
1) Did the sex scene in either part add anything to the story?
2) Did Gorgo offering herself sexually to the politician benefit the story? Or would it have been more interesting for Gorgo to have thought the situation through more clearly, known that she would ultimately be betrayed, and formulate a much more clever plan with her intellect (like the men in the movies) and ultimately reached the same conclusion that she arrived at anyway, without allowing herself to be sexually abused? Wouldn’t that have made her character stronger?
3) What were Artemisia’s motivations? How did they change throughout the movie?
4) Is Artemisia more abuser, or victim?
5) Who was the real villain of the story?
That is all. For your consideration.