She’s Just Being Miley
Miley Ray Cyrus has been a hot topic ever since her controversial VMA performance. She’s gone from Disney pop star to twerk queen, but she definitely isn’t afraid of a little change, or a little tongue. She is confident with her body and new sound. Miley’s new look and new attitude are evident on her Twitter page. Even her profile picture is her partially nude and in bed:
In her article, “Branding the Post-Feminist Self: Girls’ Video Production and Youtube,” Sarah Banet-Weiser talks about self-branding and using online platforms. Miley’s image on Twitter is constructed through text and images. Everything she posts effects how her fans and others see her. Just by posting she is building a self-brand and selling it. Not only is Miley selling herself as a brand, but she is also an ambassador for the companies she represents. Posting pictures of her mom wearing J’s with the number 23 isn’t a problem. Miley has no need to conform to an employer because posting pictures like that is just another way of advertising herself. She isn’t shaping herself to fit a commercial imperative or social norm.
In Amy Shields Dobson’s “The ‘grotesque body’ in young women’s self presentation on MySpace,” she talks about what it means to be ‘hetero-sexy’ vs. ‘grotesque.’ In order to completely shed her pop princess image, Miley has distanced herself from Hannah Montana by posting hetero-sexy images of herself on her twitter. Hetero-sexy images are of girls trying to represent themselves as sexual beings. They are usually intended for a male heterosexual audience or for other women to see them as attractive to men. So when Miley posts something like this…
…it gets the attention of straight men, but also other women. It is “derivative of both ‘traditional’ femininity and mainstream heterosexual pornography.” Being sexy and beautiful seems like two different ways to represent yourself; however, they are both represented in this image. Miley isn’t showing too much skin, but the way her dress hugs her body and the way she is posing give it some sex appeal.
Miley also posts photos that Dobson would call ‘grotesque.’ Flaunting your body may be seen as hetero-sexy, but it is actually an example of grotesque. Grotesqueness is the overemphasis of the body in general. Miley’s newest “tongue-out” pose is a perfect representation of grotesque.
These types of pictures emphasize bodily functions or fluids. They may also be pictures of people who are drunk or out of control. It’s not about appealing to the male gaze; it’s just about the female subject. Pictures likes these almost make Miley seem “unfeminine.” She is no longer going along with the socially constructed notion of what girls and women should be.
In their article, “To See and Be Seen: Celebrity Practive on Twitter,” Danah Boyd and Alice Marwick talk about how “Networked media is changing celebrity culture, the ways that people relate to celebrity images, how celebrities are produced and how celebrity is practiced.” While her twitter page is for her own thoughts and images to post, Miley does advertise for companies in her music videos. Miley is able to endorse a product because as a celebrity, people will want to buy whatever it is she has to sell.
Miley’s twitter page is full of self-promotion, but she also gives love to her fans. She retweets her fan other artists. Miley represents herself as an independent woman doing what she pleases with her life and her work. We can tell that the twitterverse loves her because she has over fifteen million followers. She is constantly updating her page with over five thousand tweets to date. Her pictures include personal ones of her home, her friends and her animals. But she keeps her fans updated on upcoming album releases or collaborations. Miley has many platforms, but twitter seems to be her most used one. She posts images from her day and even what she is thinking when she wakes up. Miley is giving us “backstage” access to her life.