Even my 75-year-old great Aunt Marge can’t ignore the media attention Miley Cyrus has been receiving. Another person who can’t ignore and chose to take verbal action: 80s singer and songwriter Sinéad O’Connor. As of October 14, 2013, O’Connor has written five open letters on her very own website in response to Miley Cyrus.
More specifically, Miley Cyrus stated in her Rolling Stone interview that her music video for “Wrecking Ball” was inspired by O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” To put it lightly, O’Connor was less than thrilled.
The five open letters began with her initial response to Cyrus’ statement about the music video. In my opinion, this seems to be the boldest of all the letters. The others are nothing but catty responses to Cyrus’ thoughts on the letter. To begin with, I see little to no similarities in the music videos other than two things and two things only.
The first, being that both singers have buzz cuts, and the other being the central close-up shot each of the artists include of themselves as they preach their lyrics.
The open letter that started it all begins with a forewarning, “This is what I need to say … and it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.” All I know, is that if someone approached me with this statement, my heart would hiccup out of my mouth in fear of being completely bashed and embarrassed. However, as many can see, good ole’ Miley doesn’t fear embarrassment.
O’Connor continued, “I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos.”
I can’t help but agree. I find myself having trouble accepting both of those aspects.
Not only is she completely naked singing a ballad-type song (which in my opinion should be elegantly beautiful, not seductive), but she is licking a sledgehammer.
One more time—she is licking, kissing and making out with a sledgehammer. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to decide which is worse, the nudity as she hangs from a wrecking ball or the bizarre intimacy the viewer can see between her and the sledgehammer. The Irish singer went on to state that Cyrus’ depiction of herself in her music video “is NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.” (Was tearing a photo of the Pope on national television an empowerment for you, Sinéad?) Moreover, this declaration seems to pose the question that if Cyrus did not have such obvious talent, would her sexual exploitation be more acceptable?
O’Connor reiterates, “I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you.” Again, this statement reads as if Cyrus didn’t entail the talent that she does, ‘whoring’ herself in the media would be tolerable and understandable.
As O’Connor criticizes Cyrus, she continuously tells her not to work for men, that it is men who “are making more money than you [Cyrus] are from you getting naked.”
However, O’Connor also mentions, “Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women.” Ha! Good one, Ms. O’Connor. I think it’s safe to say that a large majority of people remember O’Connor’s 1992 appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” I know, for sure, that my Aunt Marge remembers that as if it were yesterday. Not only is the image of O’Connor stuck in the minds of the public, but Cyrus was very quick to snap back at the singer she once admired.
Cyrus reminded O’Connor and the Twitter world of the incident when O’Connor ripped a photograph of Pope John Paul II into two. What a way to send a message to other women, huh?
Another problem I have with that proclamation is an important question at hand: Why should Cyrus avoid working for men, yet is required (by O’Connor and society) to work for women? In the long run, shouldn’t the 20-year-old be working for herself?
I can personally say I am not the biggest fan of Cyrus. I hate the way she sticks her tongue out and ‘twerks’ just as much as the next person.
However, part of me cannot help but respect her comfort ability with her own body. More importantly, I certainly respect that she does not let her producers boss her around. In “Miley Cyrus: The Movement,” a documentary that recently aired on MTV, Cyrus made it very clear that many final decisions are by her doing and she refuses her input to be ignored or sidelined.
Cyrus seems to be looking for attention, but clearly O’Connor is as well. As a celebrity, there is not a doubt in my mind, that O’Connor could have very well sent a private letter to Cyrus.
Clearly O’Connor is more concerend about publicity rather than her “motherly love.” Deal with it, Sinéad. Some would say you dug yourself deeper than you thought. Yes, Cyrus compared you to Amanda Bynes, and yes, she reminisced on your psychotic-like fiasco on SNL.
I cannot say that I blame her. Perhaps the first open letter was one too many, never mind five. As for now, do your thing, Miley. One request: keep your tongue in your mouth … and I’m just wondering, weren’t you cold as you draped your naked body on that steel wrecking ball?
Rebecca Farr can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org