Google Miley Cyrus today and you’ll find “Miley Cyrus shows off famous tongue”. Google Miley Cyrus tomorrow and you’ll be sure to find something along the lines of her ‘problematic transformation’. But underneath the media’s obsessive slandering of the Tennessee-Born pop-star, lies a 24 year-old girl just doing her best at being, well, 24.
Last month, Miley Cyrus released her seventh album (yes, I very much count The Time of Our Lives as a valid album rather than an EP) entitled Younger Now. Although interviews of earlier this year, such as Billboard’s exclusive glance into the new album indicated a lighter, more Country feel to her previous pop and psychedelic musical projects, the media still granted the surprise sound as a means to criticise her growth and evolution.
Whilst Malibu was undeniably the song of the summer, Younger Now is an album full of verses and melodies emblematic to the singer’s life at present. Her heartfelt lyrics of saving the bees in Inspired provide us with a love letter for looking after the planet - asking us to join her journey of enlightening the earth we walk on. Rainbowland, Miley’s duet with Godmother, Dolly Parton, allows us to shut our eyes and dream up a utopia built of love, peace and equality, whilst the album’s title track, Younger Now pleads us to accept change - almost as if responding to the media’s unsupportive attitude to her growing up. However you interpret the eleven-track opus, it is inarguably and distinctively Miley. So why has yet another album of the Adore You singer been met with such criticism regarding authenticity and why, oh why, do we only see hot-takes on what she has supposedly done wrong?
Let’s rewind and realign our preconceived ideas for just one moment. Let’s rewrite what’s already written in your mind about Miley. This week during her Carpool Karaoke appearance with James Corden, she explained that if everyone is going to talk about her it might as well be for good things. However loose a term ‘good things’ may be, such good things have been exemplified throughout her time in the spotlight. Happy Hippie - her
non-profit organisation that focuses aid on homeless and LGBT youth along with her latest fight behind a long line of dedicated animal rights activism - a campaign with Pacific Wild to protect Grizzly Bears in British Columbia, aren’t even a dent in the sparkle Cyrus has gifted the world. Her music riddled in ways to promote awareness to a cause and her platform an endless flood of wisdom, love and support for all of humanity. I can’t think of another face as famous as Cyrus’ who engages in giving quite as she does. And at so young. This is the girl who sang of global warming and taking care of our planet in her song Wake Up America when she was just fifteen. So why do we only ever hear about how high she is and how sexually explicit her videos are? Why after Younger Now does the media still only pick up on her controversy?
After years of everyone claiming they “want the old Miley back” - congratulations, you got the closest physical resemblance of the pre-pixie-cut, pre-Wrecking Ball riding “old Miley” I assume everyone was talking about. But critics remain bothered. She was unauthentic when riding a hotdog through the sky on her 2014 Bangerz Tour yet equally as fake wearing cowgirl boots and performing acoustic. The dissatisfaction of change I see plastered over Twitter and dominating album reviews is boring and it has been since the 2013 VMA’s when she twerked on Robin Thicke with that damn foam finger. I mean, the answer is simple really…
She’s 24. Miley Cyrus is not doing anything different to any other girl in her twenties currently exploring herself and still finding out who she is. The transition into adulthood remains messy, scary and one which cannot be prepared for, regardless of whether you’re experiencing it through the lens of the entire world or not. Like all teens entering their first decade of absolute adulthood, she’s going to make mistakes. She’s going to do the wrong thing and do it wrong some more. Headlines like to remind us that her attempt to creep into adulthood was unforgivably done through drugs, alcohol and the expression of her sexuality, but aren't these very things how everyone explores the shift into independence and adulthood? Why do we act as if we’re all above doing those same things just because she also happens to have sold millions of records? It’s easy for journalists to sit back and criticise her revealing leotard yet go on to spend their Friday night in a club wearing just as little. Miley isn’t revolutionary for smoking a joint or taking her clothes off. We have all done things that would cause major headlines if we were all half as famous as Cyrus. Shouldn't we be a little easier on her journey of becoming the woman she wants to be? Or at least give her credit for the thousands of things she has done right? Much like you embrace your mistakes because they enable you to become better and stronger, surely the grudges you hold against Cyrus should be approached with a ‘forgive but not forget’, at the least?
We should all choose to move forward with love and acceptance. To let Miley express herself regardless of what her next genre of music falls under or what colour she chooses to dye her hair. She never asked to be a role model - but she does have the right to be a 24 year-old. I think more stars should embrace change and expression of identity like Miley does; it’s called evolution and you’re doing life wrong if you always want to stay the same. Miley Cyrus may be younger now but the media certainly don’t need to be.