Archive | October, 2013

Miley Cyrus: Getting Naked (For Fun and Profit)

1 Oct

Whenever a celebrity uses the “n-word” (that’s “nudist”… not the other n-word) in connection with themselves, even in the most vague terms, there is often a veritable clamouring among members of the naturist community (especially online) to claim that person as “one of us” – even if the reality is that there is at best a tenuous link between that person’s statement and the activities of most real, confirmed naturists.

Miley1That was why I was a little surprised that pop singer Miley Cyrus’ interview this month with Rolling Stone magazine, in which she apparently declares that she is “kind of a semi-nudist”, hasn’t attracted more attention or fuss from my fellow naked people.

Miley4I can only assume that one likely reason for this is because Miley Cyrus with no clothes on is so common these days as to barely be worth commenting on!

Lately, Miley (daughter of 90s country star Billy-Ray Cyrus), who began her career making wholesome pop-country for tween girls as the star of Disney’s Hannah Montana, has been appearing a lot wearing very little.  She’s naked on the Rolling Stone cover to accompany the interview, she’s naked in the video of her new single Wrecking Ball, and she recently performed the song on a TV spot while wearing nothing but a mesh dress, thong and nipple pasties.  Miley2All this started with her now-infamous “twerking” performance at the VMAs, where she stripped down to a skin-coloured PVC two-piece and grinded (ground?) against Robin Thicke (the singer of Blurred Lines fame).Miley3

Like a lot of singers before her (going back to Madonna, and perhaps further), Miley is of course taking off her clothes to attract attention to herself as a performer.  Her performances are labelled raunchy; her stripper-esque wardrobe of see-through and skin-tight PVC, and her carefully-posed nudity in videos and on magazine covers, all serves to tantalise without actually revealing too much – it gets people looking, and talking.  It’s been done before by female pop stars, and will I’m sure be done again.

A lot of people in the media do seem to have a strong opinion about Miley employing this tactic, a lot of it negative.  Personally I don’t condemn her for it.

For one, I rather like her.  I first encountered her back in the height of her Hannah Montana days.  My girlfriend and I had taken a trip to Disney Land Paris, and the only English-language channel we could get on our TV at the Disney hotel seemed to show Hannah Montana episodes around the clock, so I ended up watching more than I really needed to!  But Miley Cyrus had a goofy, “aw shucks” charm, and (I thought) quite a talent for comedy, especially physical comedy.  I still see some of that dumb likeability in her even when she’s grinding her butt on people.

Secondly, even if I did have a strong opinion against what she was doing, I would still respect her right to express herself in a way she obviously enjoys.  She’s a grown woman, free to dress and dance and strip off and stick out her tongue as much as she wants.  You can worry about her as a role model for young girls, sure… but that’s a bigger problem than just one pop star – and it’s important too for those girls to know that women have the right to express themselves freely without being attacked for it by men.

At the end of the day, she’s not shy about taking her clothes off to sell some records, and she seems to be having fun doing it.  I think that’s probably what she means when she describes herself as a “semi-nudist” (rather than that we’re going to be seeing her at the local nude beach any time soon): she doesn’t feel uncomfortable with her clothes off, and is enjoying the way she’s chosen to express herself, her identity and, yes, her sexuality.

As a tool to sell records, it doesn’t really keep in with the ideals of naturism/nudism.  For Miley to get attention by being naked, it needs for female nudity to still be shocking and titillating.  In a true naturist environment, and in the world which naturism would flourish in, female and male nudity alike would be neither of those things.  A pop star like Miley Cyrus getting naked, even completely naked, would be as unremarkable as anyone else being naked.  Miley needs nudity to remain taboo in order to get the attention and translate that attention into sales and plays of her music and videos.  She might be saying, by describing herself as a “semi-nudist”, that nudity is no big deal to her, a natural state even – but she still needs it to be a pretty big deal to everyone else.