Having disconnected my television over 6 years ago, I don’t actually know too much about Miley Cyrus. I know she played a character on a children’s TV show named ‘Hannah Montana’, and understand she has followed the tried and tested method of morphing into a sexually provocative pop star as a way to reinvent herself as an artist à la Britney Spears/Christina Aguilera. I don’t know her music, and given I pay little attention to pop culture these days I can’t accurately place her in the cultural Zeitgest. Nevertheless, I have seen hundreds of photos of her in concert pretending to masturbate on stage, twerking, and showing her nipples. Plenty of people reference her in the media and on facebook/twitter/instagram and so on, so I am aware that Miley Cyrus is a big deal, and what she does and says influences a large number of people.
I haven’t heard anything she’s said until recently, and to my genuine surprise I was extremely impressed when I saw a quote of hers from an interview she did with Jimmy Kimmel. The interview – which was very entertaining – largely centered around Cyrus’s breasts – a topic America seems to be completely obsessed with. Said Cyrus:
Humans aren’t afraid of the human breast. It’s the nipple that’s the issue…Like, I’m showing my boobs and no one has a problem, but the nipples are covered, so somehow that’s OK. So America’s actually fine with tits. It’s nipples they don’t like.
Indeed. In America, you can use breasts to sell everything – from cars to perfume, and from shitty television shows to godawful movies pitched at sexually frustrated teenage boys.
You just can’t show them actual nipples, because heaven forbid, that might spell the end of morality in America.
This is, for lack of a better term, completely insane. Cyrus is apparently on a mission to help ‘free the nipple‘, a noble cause designed to subvert America’s demented sexual morality and prevent deeply misogynistic policing that effectively criminalizes female nudity in many places in America (and more around the world). Cyrus isn’t just flashing her body parts to boost her appeal, she genuinely seems to want to fight America’s sexual dysfunction by consistently reminding people that nipples and breasts are not a big deal. She managed to sneak a nipple shot at the MTV Video Music Awards last night, and will no doubt up the ante at some point – hopefully forcing the Fox News crowd of repressed middle aged men to come to terms with the human body.
The more Cyrus and other prominent celebrities continue to defy the conventional lunacy, the sooner we can live in a society where we care more about corporate greed and the mounting deaths from firearms than women getting their tits out. As Cyrus told Kimmel:
My dad’s cool, because I’m sure he’d maybe rather me not have my tits out all the time, but he’d rather me have my tits out and be a good person than have a shirt on and be a bitch.
Amen to that.
We’ve actually experienced this sort of madness at the Banter, where Google blocked us from running ads due to a very tame photo of a woman’s stomach – a red flag for advertisers looking to associate their brands with ‘family friendly’ content. Bear in mind, Google didn’t seem to mind our broad coverage of gun violence, excessive bad language and references to Roseanne Barr’s penis. A woman’s bare stomach? Too much!
Either way, I’ve ignored Miley Cyrus for a very long time, but no more. I’m paying attention to her nipples and everything she says about them, because in the 21st century, it’s about time we got used to our own bodies.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.