Sinead O'Connor's Second Letter to Miley Cyrus Is Downright Venomous
Well. Just as we were about to pack up our things and head home, content in the knowledge that we'd probably passed the point in the day that famous people would be flinging themselves around the Internet enraging each other, we were proven wrong. Oooohhh boy, were we proven wrong. Because remember that heartfelt (if misguided in many ways) letter Sinead O'Connor wrote to Miley Cyrus earlier today? Yeah. Well, O'Connor wrote another letter to Ms. Miley. And she ain't too pleased.
The letter starts out thusly:
Miley… Really? Who the fuck is advising you? Because taking me on is even more fuckin’ stupid than behaving like a prostitute and calling it feminism.
Oh. Oh, okay then. Seems like we're just gonna dive right in then.
She then continues to call Cyrus out for the (rather unfortunate and hugely problematic) tweeting Cyrus partook in today mocking mental health issues. This aspect of the letter? Completely legitimate; the stigmatizing of mental health problems has caused humongous problems we'll be dealing with for decades. But really, Sinead, you had to go and call the girl a prostitute while raving about how much better at feminism you are? GRRRRRR, we just want to go feminist hulk all over this situation.
Does she mean that prostitutes can't be feminists? Cyrus is automatically a prostitute because she seems to like taking her clothes off and licking/humping things in public? That first letter was already problematic in its slut-shaming of a young woman who actually seems to be in an era of her career where she is in control of her own image and her body for the first time, but this one? This one takes the gentle lecture of the first one and douses it with venom:
"You could really do with educating yourself," she writes at the end. "That is if you’re not too busy getting your tits out to read."
What Cyrus did — posting old tweets meant to mock O'Connor's (and Amanda Bynes') mental history — that was not OK. That was not OK at all. That action alone should inspire many, many essays exploring why our culture thinks that is OK.
O'Connor was, as evidenced by the letter, obviously very upset about everything that went down today. That feeling is more than valid. Responding is a legitimate choice. But the way she did it? That was not the most effective way.
Calling people out on their bullshit is a valuable action, but that value can only really hit so hard if you're burying your message in slut-shaming and pretending that's the feminist way to go.