The Parents Television Council has blasted Miley Cyrus in a statement condemning the VMAs host for exposing a nipple for a split second during the show broadcast on Aug. 30. But here’s the question — why is a young woman’s breast obscene, anyway?
Miley Cyrus has been condemned by the Parents Television Council for “blatant sexualization” because she “exposed herself to millions of viewers” by letting a curtain slip while she made a quick change between her on-air segments. Now, I suspect that, Miley being Miley, letting that curtain drop was not an accident. Not only does she love to be outrageous and to provoke reaction, but she’s also a dedicated proponent of the Free the Nipple Campaign.
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The Parents Television Council condemned Miley for not being a ‘force for something positive’, but I bet that Miley believes that as a Free the Nipple proponent, she’s a shining example. The campaign was launched by activists “appalled by [the] American media’s glorification of violence and repression of nudity” and it works to “decriminalize the female body” and “protest the backwards censorship laws in the U.S.,” according to its Facebook page.
It’s clear why that would appeal to free-spirited Miley, who is so comfortable with her own body that she has regularly done topless and nude photoshoots and has even posted virtually nude photos on Instagram, including one in which she was naked with just an arm and stars covering her nipples and crotch.
For Miley, 22, exposing herself during her MTV VMAs hosting gig is probably less about relying on “her own sexuality to entertain the audience”, as the Parents Television Council contends, and more about making a statement about society. She has said she is confused by our country’s so-called moral code. “America is just so weird in what they think is right and wrong,” she told Rolling Stone magazine in a Sept. 2013 interview. “Like, I was watching Breaking Bad the other day and they were cooking meth. I could literally cook meth because of that show. It’s a how-to. And then they bleeped out the word ‘f*ck.’ And I’m like, really?”
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Miley doesn’t understand why violence or cooking meth on TV isn’t obscene, and yet female nudity is. Even if there were viewers as young as 14 watching the VMAs, I doubt that she would feel they were harmed by catching a glimpse of the naked female form. To Miley, women’s bodies are beautiful and they are natural. And a naked body isn’t necessarily “sexual” just because it’s naked. Miley recently gave more insight into her feelings on the subject when she went on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Aug. 26. When he asked what her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, thought about her getting naked, Miley replied: “My dad’s cool, because I’m sure he’d maybe rather me not have my tits out all the time. But he’d rather me have my tits out and be a good person, than have a shirt on and be a bitch. I see a lot of people with their clothes on and they’re kinda assholes. If you got tits out, you can’t really be an asshole…I feel better this way.”
Really, the situation that Miley has “exposed” is that we don’t find violence or drama about the lives of drug dealers “obscene” on TV, but that certain people like the Parents Television Council believe there’s no place for a woman’s bare “tits” on primetime. Miley doesn’t think that’s right. She doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong. Do you? Should Miley be slammed for exposing her breast briefly at the VMAs, or is this a ridiculous tempest over TV? Let me know.
— Bonnie Fuller