What Miley Cyrus Could Learn From Kathleen Hanna
Miley Cyrus has made a business out of shocking the public, but her newest source of inspiration may be the most surprising: Miley Cyrus has discovered Bikini Kill. The pop star posted two infamous pictures of Kathleen Hanna on her Instagram: The black-and-white photo where Hanna proudly displayed "SLUT" written across her stomach was captioned "coolest ever," and another picture of Hanna performing in a t-shirt and underwear with the caption "fuck yeah (that dudes face is epic) #girlsrule." And the feeling seems to be mutual. After Cyrus' Instagram posts made the rounds, Hanna took it as a compliment on Twitter and said that she has an idea for "an album that only you are daring enough to make."
Cyrus' newfound Riot Grrrl admiration may put off many diehard Bikini Kill fans, but in a strange way, it makes sense. Both Cyrus and Hanna are ballsy, confrontational women who own their sexuality. And while Cyrus may not know a lot about feminism, she's still unafraid to champion the term (unlike many celebrities). In fact, this unlikely duo could do Cyrus a lot of good. The pop star can learn a lot from Hanna's experience and radically different perspective, so let's hope the young star picks up some of these lessons.
Stand for Something
Like Cyrus, Hanna used her music and her performances to shock people, but she did it for a purpose. Through her work, Hanna challenged perceptions of women and also tried to create a welcome space for women in music. Not saying that Cyrus has to become pop music's feminist savior, but it would be interesting if she put her artistic muscle behind something that wasn't partying or drugs.
Learn from Your Mistakes
While the Riot Grrrl movement aimed to make more space for women, that didn't always include women of color, and that's something Hanna often admits is one of her biggest regrets. Hanna now openly admits to her mistake and has clearly learned something from it. Hopefully, Cyrus will learn from Hanna's example... maybe one day we'll have a similar admission from Cyrus about her use of backup dancers of color.
Sure, Cyrus likes a little shock value, but only if it still fits in with mainstream perceptions of gender and sexuality. Cyrus is stylishly rebellious, sexual, but submissively so. If you don't believe it, take a look at the comments on Cyrus' Instagram of Hanna: her fans are positively in shock over Hanna's visible pubic hair. So imagine if Cyrus took a cue from Hanna and finally took her bikini waxer off speed dial (seriously, how else would she be able to wear those high-cut bodysuits?)... chaos would ensue among teens everywhere.
Hey, and maybe a few would have their perceptions challenged about how women are "supposed" to look and act.
Images: Getty Images