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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Why Miley Cyrus Is Now America's Most Progressive Pop Star

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 10:28 AM

PAPER MAGAZINE
  • Paper Magazine

"I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn't involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that's legal, I'm down with. Yo, I'm down with any adult — anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me. I don't relate to being boy or girl, and I don't have to have my partner relate to boy or girl."

If someone from a time machine had handed us that quote three years ago and asked us who was going to say it this week, we would've first suggested Lady Gaga, then Madonna, then — in a fit of desperation — maybe Rihanna. And, on finding out the truth, we'd have been totally cynical about the fact that this came from the mouth of Miley Cyrus, because we would've assumed it was a publicity stunt. But we're not in 2012 anymore and a lot has changed in the two years since Cyrus released her Bangerz album.

Miley made the announcement about her sexuality in Paper magazine two days ago, after posing for the cover, naked, smiling, smeared with mud, and hugging a pig. In a style that has become fairly typical of the Free the Nipple supporter, the singer's nudity was a side-note, not a means to objectify her, or an opportunity to see her as overly-sexualized and submissive (as is the favored "look" of female pop stars of her age).

The article inside Paper served as an opportunity for Cyrus to talk about animal rights (Miley has been vegan since the death of her beloved dog, Floyd, in 2013), her Happy Hippie Foundation (which she set up to help LGBTQ, at-risk and homeless youth), and the fact that she views the literal biblical interpretations of religious fundamentalism in the same vein as, "fucking Santa or the tooth fairy."  

Cyrus also makes it clear in the article that she is not the self-entitled child star the world once presumed her to be. "I see it all day," she says, "people in their Bentleys and their Rolls and their Ubers, driving past these vets who have fought for our country, or these young women who have been raped... I was doing a show two nights ago, and... I'm standing there with my tits out, dressed like a butterfly. How the fuck is that fair? How am I so lucky?"

Despite the initial shock and horror that was widely expressed when Miley emerged tattooed, half shaved and twerking a couple of years ago, record sales have since proved that the world likes Ms. Cyrus better this way. Bangerz went to Number 1 in Australia, the U.K., Ireland, America, Canada, Norway, and more. It's the most places she's ever had a Number 1 album. Clearly buoyed by the sales, there has been a direct correlation between how much love Miley Cyrus gets sent — from fellow artists (everyone from Wayne Coyne to Kathleen Hanna) and fans alike — and how much freer she feels to talk about the real issues that are important to her. 

We all know strides are being made in the LGBTQ community all the time — whether it be in the realms of marriage equality or trans visibility — but, make no mistake, it is still a big deal when one of the biggest pop stars in the world happily declares herself an androgynous bisexual, and talks openly about gender fluidity, all while preaching a mantra of no judgments. The fact that Miley emerged from the loins (and achy breaky heart) of Billie Ray Cyrus and was raised in the Disney machine just makes her transformation more radical and her reach that much larger.

Post Paper-interview, Miley has solidified her transformation into a shining symbol of future possibilities for a more progressive world. Her generation, having grown up in the information age, is already more tolerant and more open-minded than any that has come before — and Miley is slowly proving herself to be the ultimate spokesperson for them. In case you haven't already, it's definitely time to stop second guessing Miley Cyrus.  
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Rae Alexandra

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