Miley Cyrus' Nakedness Isn't All About Sex

by Lisa Fogarty

Miley Cyrus loves her pet pig, Bubba Sue. She also loves being naked — or, at the very least, has zero hang-ups about it, which is awesome. Put those two loves together and here’s what you get: mud-covered Miley Cyrus posing naked on the cover of Paper magazine with her pet pig shielding her private bits. An interesting take on celebrity nudity? For sure. Tantalizing and titillating? Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

The 22-year-old is the cover girl for the magazine’s Summer Music Issue, called “Use Your Voice,” which hits newsstands on June 22. The “Wrecking Ball” singer worked with photographer Paola Kudacki and creative director Diane Martel who, interestingly, directed Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” music video. Three female artists collaborating on a series of photos that feature a young starlet without any clothes on — sounds hot, right? Only, no, that’s missing the point entirely. Although some of the interior shots show Cyrus covered in body paint and draped over a glass pyramid, which sounds like something out of an ’80s hair metal band video nightmare, if the cover photo is any indication, sex was the last thing on anybody’s mind when Cyrus dropped her clothes and posed with Bubba Sue:

Ridiculous image? You could say that. Is that mud coating Cyrus' hair? Why is the mud silver? And why would she agree to do this?

Here's the answer: she DGAF. The cover story, which is supposed to be released Tuesday, focuses on the singer's work for her not-for-profit Happy Hippie Foundation, which was created to help LGBT youth and the homeless. Her ongoing effort to raise publicity for the #FreeTheNipple Campaign has resulted in tons of Instagram photos of the star attempting to free her own nipples, and sometimes being censored because of it. Her breasts haven't been touched by a plastic surgeon, as far as we know, and aren't as big as her head, but Cyrus is damn proud of her body anyway and never feels compelled to hide it. She's also smart enough to know people will listen to what she has to say and perhaps even act to help with her social justice causes, but that she's going to have to hit them over the head first with some heavy nudity because boobs sell magazines.

Here's what Cyrus had to say to the Associated Press about why she uses her body to get her message across:

When you have all eyes on you, what are you saying? And that's what I had to ask myself a lot. It's like, I know you're going to look at me more if my [breasts] are out, so look at me. And then I'm going to tell you about my foundation for an hour and totally hustle you.

Cyrus also does nudity her way. Which, in this case, means mud and a pig and a cover most men probably won't be taking into the bathroom anytime soon (no judgments if you do).

This photo and many, many more that Cyrus has posted on her Instagram show a sort of naked, incredibly confident young woman who is not posing for the benefit of the male gaze. Nudity can be powerful and empowering, but it needn't always be about sex (though sexy naked images can hold the very same power). The singer's naked body has served as a political statement at times and other times — her smiley Paper cover included — has the power to force society to acknowledge the bombastic way it is so quick to sexualize every girl over age 15. In true Dadaist spirit, Cyrus makes nudity anti-sexual, almost absurd, and I love her — and Bubba Sue — even more for it.

Image: Paper Magazine