When the song ‘Wrecking Ball’ was released by Miley Cyrus in August, after her controversial VMA performance, the world took note yet again of the former Disney star who continues to try and strip her previously wholesome image, and I mean that literally.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of months, you’ll know that in the video Cyrus is seen sitting atop a wrecking ball, completely naked in some instances, while in other shots she is seen licking a sledgehammer. Both the song and the video received mixed reviews. James Shotwell’s from Under the Gun Review said that he “fear[s] Cyrus’ obsession with selling herself via sex appeal is going to superbly overshadow everything she is doing musically”. One of the most scathing, yet truthful comments about the video was by Hypable, who wrote: “‘Wrecking Ball’ is a song about a partner who destroyed her, but Miley couldn’t resist sexualizing the emotional, serious message as much as possible.” Other reviewers however, such as Madeline Boardman from The Huffington Post said that the video “offered a more vulnerable look at the singer”, while James Montgomery, who writes for MTV, commented that it was reminiscent of Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and that “[i]t’s a refreshing change of pace, one that might silence her detractors… or at least serve notice that she’s still capable of wowing us with her voice, rather than her twerking abilities”.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the young singer also admitted that the inspiration for the video was drawn from Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”, stating that it is a more “modern version”. Cyrus said that she “wanted it to be tough but really pretty – that’s what Sinead did with her hair and everything”.
In response to this statement, Sinéad O’Connor wrote a beautiful open letter to the young singer. Though harsh at times, it is certainly written in “in the spirit of motherliness and with love”. In it, the experienced singer who has been in the industry for over 20 years advises the young starlet to not allow herself to be pimped, by others or herself. O’Connor states that “[n]othing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent”. O’Connor also shows her concern by saying that Cyrus does not care about herself and that she should take a good look at the people she has surrounded herself with. O’Connor says that Cyrus should realise that she “ought [to] be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you”.
O’Connor also further attacks the music industry, saying that “[t]he music business doesn’t give a sh*t about you, or any of us” and reminds Cyrus that the music moguls are in it for the money, while singers such as themselves are in it for the music. Most importantly, however, O’Connor reminds Cyrus that as a public figure and role model for others, it is her responsibility “to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted.. its so not cool Miley.. its dangerous… I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers”.
We can only hope that Cyrus heeds these wise words.
Read the full letter below:
I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today i’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares… So this is what I need to say… And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.
I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.
Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.
I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.
The music business doesn’t give a sh*t about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.
None of the men oggling you give a sh*t about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a f**k about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a f**k about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a f**k about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped.. and that includes you yourself.
Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them prey for animals and less than animals, a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and it’s associated media.
You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever.. Don’t be under any illusions.. ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty.. which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.
I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying f**k about you. They’re there for the money.. we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.
You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age.. which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.
Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question.. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. Its really not at all cool. And its sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.
As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image.. whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now.. Not because you got naked but because you make great records.
Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted.. its so not cool Miley.. its dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. we aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers.. that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherf**ker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.
As posted on www.sineadoconnor.com