"I don't give a shit," Miley Cyrus told Ronan Farrow regarding her critics in an interview with W Magazine that was published Monday and was accompanied by very striking, NSFW photos. And I'm panicked by this interview, but not for the reasons you may think. I'm hyperventilating because it made me feel bad for Miley Cyrus. SOS!
Here's why she's staring to earn my sympathy. Typically, people who make a point to assert that they don't "give a shit" actually give many shits, indeed. I am not a fan of Miley Cyrus and I think her appropriation and total lack of awareness of the implications of her behavior are dangerous, but damn it, there is some empathy in me for the girl after reading the interview in W. Bustle's own Ivy Jacobson read the interview as Miley being totally secure with where she is right now, but honestly I see it as a portrait of a very, very lost little girl that is in over her head. No! Why did my steely critical composure have to be breached today, for Cyrus of all people!?
Maybe because quotes like this just make me sad more than anything:
1. Miley Cyrus on "kids," who she doesn't like but make up a lot of her fans: "They’re so fucking mean. Sometimes I hear kids with their parents, and I want to go over and, like, smack them myself… Like if they meet me, they’ll be like, ‘Mom, don’t you know how to use an iPhone? Like, can you take the picture?’ I’m like, ‘Dude, if I ever talked to my mom like that when I was a kid, I would have had no phone, no computer, no TV, no anything.’ And so, yeah, kids are just mean.”
Reminder that Miley herself just turned 21, why so jaded about youth already when you still got so much of it left, girl?!
2. On trust issues: “I have a lot of people that I could call and hang out with, but I have very few friends, if that makes any sense,” she tells me. “Like, I just don’t tell a lot of people anything. Everyone’s always like, ‘You’re so sketch.’ ”
3. On proving herself: Part of her power, Cyrus feels, lies in having nothing left to prove. At 21, she’s managed to turn herself into a juggernaut twice over. “You know, I’ve made my money. If no one buys my album, cool. It’s fine. I’ve got a house, and I’ve got dogs that I love. I don’t need anything else."
4. On aliens (yes): "'I’m not so sure,' she says, telling me she once saw suspicious lights in the sky in the Bahamas. 'My dad told me it was a satellite. But the way it zipped off was really weird.'” (To which Farrow responds: "I think it was a satellite.")
I have to say I don't know if Ronan Farrow was intentionally mocking Cyrus, but the piece definitely reads like that. Of course that's not totally Farrow's fault, because Cyrus says about 100 things in this interview that are super offensive to me, like the fact that she thinks people who criticize her very real cultural appropriation are just jealous, and that she really wants to go to Kenya. But that's also why I feel bad, because I know as a young girl it's really easy to write off criticism as jealousy. It's easier than looking at yourself and your flaws. I guess people are so eager to point out Miley's flaws that she's learned to "cope" by tuning it out.
She's a walking contradiction, not just in this interview (though there's plenty of that here) but also in life. When Annie Leibovitz took that photo of her so many years ago for the cover of Vanity Fair where she is just wearing a sheet, the outrage began. Cyrus actually apologized then, saying she was sorry she hurt her fans that she cared so deeply about.
Now though, Miley does not give a flying f about her fans, because remember, she hates kids. (Very sad: her biggest fans call themselves Smilers). I think she's kind of retreated within herself as a defense from the hard world of celebrity, but I also think she's slowly being worn by it. Maybe it's the way Farrow wrote the article, but I pity the girl who is only 21, doesn't trust anyone, and lives alone among all her riches in her Los Angeles mansion.
I would pity her more if she weren't so glib, though. She also continues to piss me off. On her image:
Cyrus insists her her provocative image is calculated... it's a response to what she sees as a lack of authenticity in her peer group. 'I just don't get what half the girls are wearing… I'm trying to tell girls, like, 'Fuck that, you don't have to wear makeup. You don't have to have long blonde hair and big titties. That's not what it's about.
Okay, see, at first, I feel like it's really pathetic that her image is so constructed as a response to inauthenticity. She can't see she's perpetrating that same artificiality. But then she goes on to say that blonde hair and makeup are not what it's about, and it's not her place to decide how women should look to feel good about themselves.
But above all, the worst is her racism and responses to its criticism. She says in this interview regarding her critics:
I’m not Disney, where they have, like, an Asian girl, a black girl, and a white girl, to be politically correct, and, like, everyone has bright-colored T-shirts, Cyrus says. You know, it’s like, I’m not making any kind of statement. Anyone that hates on you is always below you, because they’re just jealous of what you have.
Where to begin? I guess with the fact that celebrities, whether they intend to or not, are always making a statement, and the fact that Miley refuses to engage those who are hurt by her actions is the worst part. It hurts me personally to hear her say she "doesn't give a shit" about racism. I see a lot of criticism for her overt sexuality, her constant changing image, her tongue and I honestly don't care about all that; young pop stars are constantly transforming. What bothers me is that people are asking her, really asking, to care about her cultural implications, and she won't.
I'm still mad at Miley Cyrus, even if I do, now, feel a little pity for her.
Image: W Magazine; Miley Cyrus/Instagram