The Harbinger Online

Swindells: Is Taylor Swift Really a Better Role Model than Miley Cyrus?

Taylor SwiftIf I asked you which female celebrity came under the most fire from the media last year, I have no doubt what you would say. Because, let’s face it, Miley Cyrus was pretty out there. But I loathe the disgusting things people repeatedly say about her. This morning, I saw a magazine headline proclaiming “Is there anything Miley won’t do for attention?” People seem to be outraged and disgusted by everything she does. Where was this fury when we found out women only make 77 cents to the man’s dollar?

I hate listening to everyone bitching about Miley, because, no matter whether you like her music or not, I think she’s a fun, strong woman. Why the hell shouldn’t she be able to sing about partying and having fun? Male celebrities are allowed to drink and go to clubs as much as they like, but as soon as Miley does it, she’s a bad influence and an attention-seeking slut.

Everyone’s hating on her for twerking all up on a married man at the VMAs, which was admittedly inappropriate, but who’s judging Robin Thicke for gyrating against a woman 15 years his junior? On a side note, while Miley was speaking out for women’s rights, Robin Thicke was being titled ‘Sexist of the Year,’ by the End Violence Against Women Coalition.2013 MTV Video Music Awards

Everyone loves to vilify Miley for Wrecking Ball, which is a good song by the way, like it’s completely unheard of for an artist to show skin in a music video. No male artist is ever judged for have semi-naked women in their videos or for using them like objects in the background of their songs. Clearly it’s fine for women to be naked, but only if their bodies are being objectified by men. If she’s showing her body by her own choice however, then obviously she’s a whore. Miley is combatting the antiquated idea that women should be ashamed of their bodies and their own sexuality, and people hate her for that.

So many people seem to have this big issue with Miley, because they can’t accept that she isn’t a child anymore. Well frankly, that seems like their issue, not hers. Why the hell shouldn’t she be able to go out and have fun? Why are people so desperate to shame her?  Can’t you see how clear the double standards are?

More than anything, why aren’t people furious at a society that makes young female celebrities feel the need to hypersexualize themselves on national television in order to prove that they’re not a kid anymore?

One thing I see again and again is Miley Cyrus being compared to Taylor Swift. Articles use Taylor’s ‘good-girl image’ to further emphasize just how terrible a person they think Miley is.

I’m not ashamed to admit to the occasional Taylor jam walking home from school. Many of her songs are catchy and fun, what’s not to like? She writes songs about overcoming difficulties and falling in love, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. So what if she likes the idea of a marriage-and-kids life? So what if she’s had a lot of relationships? Making fun of her being traditional for that is just as bad as shaming Miley for her choices.

On the other hand, I think some of the messages Taylor gives out in her songs are genuinely bad. She has a whole host of songs that give out awful messages to everyone who listens to them. She paints herself as a helpless little woman who needs rescuing by a big, strong man. She shames other women for the way they dress and for having sex. She pits women against each other, constantly insisting that she’s better than other girls because she doesn’t wear short skirts and go to parties. These are disgusting and unhealthy ideas to be installing in the minds of  the thousands of young girls who make her her primary audience. In some ways, she’s doing to women exactly what the magazines are doing to Miley.

But what I don’t understand is why anyone wants to hate on Taylor or Miley. They are young women who are proving that it is possible to be beautiful and successful. They use the thing they’re passionate about and talented at to earn countless awards and become extremely wealthy. They feel empowered to make their own choices about their careers and lives, even if it may be controversial. They’re comfortable and confident in their own bodies and know what they want. Both believe that they are as good as any man in the same field, and encourage their audience to go after their dreams and do their own thing. And I think, despite Taylor and Miley’s flaws, all the qualities above are ones I would want my own daughters to possess.

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Katharine Swindells

Senior Katharine Swindells is head online copy-editor of the Harbinger Online. She likes British politics, selfies, feminism, cute shoes and books. Read Full »

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