Miley Cyrus’s latest music video, Tongue Tied has artist, filmmaker and producer Quentin Jones depicting the pop celebrity in very interesting ways. Although many critique her raunchy ways, younger generations are endorsing her freeing approach to women’s sexuality, as evidenced by the bras and panties thrown on the stage by fans during her Bangerz tour. As Cyrus’s video Tongue Tied boldly confronts double standards that exist between socially acceptable expressions of sexuality, one cannot help but wonder if this is the spawn of a sexual revolution.
In her latest creation, directed by artist Quintin Jones, Cyrus puts on quite the performance. While wearing black knickers, black nipple tape and fishnets, Miley dances her way into another captivating expression of culture centered around her own comfort with her body and with nudity.
The music video is incredibly sexualized and aesthetically captivating, as the black and white combinations of fluttering eyelashes, slathered black paint and eye masks appeal to the limited attention spans of today’s generation. The mixed-media music video is short and surreal, using layers of photography, illustration, and animation to create a story.
As mothers shield their daughter’s eyes from the once-innocent Hannah Montana, some find it unfair to criticize her sexualizing herself, when men in the music industry, especially rap artists, regularly are yanking at their business and dehumanizing woman into life-size trophies bobbling around them. Why can a woman not sexualize herself if she wants? What is the big deal with Miley doing what she wants with her own body?
Cyrus considers herself to be a feminist, As she said in an interview with Elle, “I’m just about equality, period. It’s not like, I’m a woman, women should be in charge! I just want there to be equality for everybody. ” This declaration comes to life when it comes to her own body and her right to sexualize herself as much as she chooses, no matter how many tween fans are out there watching her naked body cling to a wrecking ball.
While many of the scenes involve Cyrus’ mouth being taped closed, with black tape around her neck as though she is being suffocated or strangled, and her body being tied down, one cannot help but wonder if these masochist expressions are reflections of her own personal feelings of bondage and a desire to confront the double standards that are the political reality of today’s society.
Is it a coincidence that in a society controlled by men, a women’s sexual experience is used as a mechanism for control as well? Is it possible that in a world dominated by patriarchy, a female’s sexual experience really has nothing to do with whether or not she upholds to certain “appropriate” standards, but rather, has everything to do with pleasing a man? If, in society, being a “lady” on the streets and a “freak” in the sheets is the way to be, one can see how both are equally contradictory and yet still, all about pleasing men.
Cyrus is redefining how these unrealistic expectations affect women by going against the grain and taking change of her own sexual life, refusing to let double standards oppress her creative muse. Perhaps it is not intended to be gender influenced, but the blatant reduction of Cyrus to body parts by Cyrus herself resonates with feminism in that the objectification of women is central to feminist philosophy and women’s experiences worldwide.
In understanding art as a platform for honing in on dialects between past, present, and future, how does deviance from sexual standards created by men for women by Cyrus, a cultural icon, impel a culture to change? There are thousands of women who regularly experience the double standards that exist between the “appropriate” ways men can express their sexuality and the “appropriate” ways women can. Perhaps, Cyrus’s Tongue Tied is more than just her sexualizing herself, but actually, an effort to confront the double standards women face, and redefine these sexual expectations by breaking them.
Opinion by Amiya Moretta