Miley in the Media

By Cara Winkley

From her MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) performance, to her naked music video, Miley Cyrus can’t seem to stay out of the media.

Cyrus, after keeping a low profile for a couple years, is back in the spotlight. Her new video, “Wrecking Ball,” released just a couple weeks after her controversial VMA performance with Robin Thicke, has taken over entertainment news. This video shows Cyrus completely nude swinging side to side on a chain and wrecking ball.

This isn’t the first time Cyrus has been in the limelight for a controversial music video. Her video “Can’t Be Tamed,” which was released in 2010, though had no nudity, still received lots of criticism for being dark and racy, a video not age-appropriate for a 17 year-old.

Jean Johnson, a freshman studying elementary education at The University of Kansas (KU), used to be a fan of Cyrus when she was on Hannah Montana and came out with her earlier singles such as “Party in the USA.” She thinks people continue to follow celebrities to see their failures and demise in the media.

“Some people are just watching to see her fall,” said Johnson. “Plus, at the same time they are thinking what happened.”

As Cyrus’ music videos have become more and more provocative as each one is released, her live performances mirror her efforts to show her independence from her former role as Disney Channel’s child role model.

Trey Stafford, a senior studying geography at KU, describes Cyrus’ performance with Robin Thicke at the 2013 VMA’s as ridiculous and over-the-top.

“I think the performance itself is one of those things where she was trying to show that she wasn’t a child anymore,” Stafford said.

From her clean-line Hannah Montana Disney persona to her racy, twerking image now, she has captivated the media and influenced thousands of girls throughout America.

Shirley Hill, a sociology professor at KU, said that videos like Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video have a negative influence on young women. She said that in today’s society there is a large push for gender equality. However, videos like Cyrus’ and other female artists are showing women in stereotypical manners.

“It counters a lot of the progress that we have been trying to teach the next generation,” Hill said.

Leonel Castro, a recent KU alumnus, said that as young women continue to watch celebrities like Cyrus in the media, they believe that this is the way you are supposed to act. Many young women are intrigued by the rich and famous lifestyle, so they think if they mimic these actions of celebrities, then they can live somewhat vicariously through them.

We may not know why Cyrus has been acting in this manner or why she continually repeats her over-the-top actions, but Gene Tuel, a KU Religious Advisor, has one idea.

“She doesn’t care,” Tuel said. “She is making fun of the fact that you care.”