You may have seen this graphic comparing Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus circulating online recently:
It’s not a particularly interesting image, but it’s been getting some heat because Ken Baker, E! Chief News Correspondent, posted it to his Twitter feed asking if his followers agreed and claiming he was “standing up for” Miley Cyrus. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you will already be aware of how I feel about Taylor Swift – namely that I have an intense dislike of everything she stands for. I don’t know if I’ve ever said anything about Miley, so I feel like now is the perfect time to just jump in there and have a crack at everything. Let’s get down to it.
This image is stupid for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it looks like it has been put together on a Word document. It generated a lot of heat for Baker after he posted it, with a number of online followers accusing him of ‘slut shaming’. For those not familiar with the concept have a cheeky little definition from Wikipedia:
Slut-shaming is defined as the act of making someone, usually a woman, feel guilty or inferior, for engaging in certain sexual behaviors that violate traditional gender expectations. These include, depending on culture, having a large number of sex partners, having sexual relations outside marriage, having casual sexual relations, or acting or dressing in a way that is deemed excessively sexual. This is often done by name calling (often using the word “slut” itself) as well as covert shaming.
So you can see, it’s a fairly accurate description of what is going on in Baker’s image. The implication is that even though Miley Cyrus dresses in a way that defines her as “slutty” she is actually the good girl in this scenario because she has been in a monogamous relationship for the last three years. Conversely, Taylor Swift dresses in a way that defines her as a good girl, but behaves in a way that is “slutty” by having multiple partners over the same time frame.
You don’t need to be a genius to know that that scenario is messed up. Or maybe you do since this sort of thing seems to happen regularly and people who are supposed to know better don’t seem to find a problem with it. In which case, let me break it down for you. These young women are marketed at women and girls the same age and younger. This image promotes the idea that a) there is a ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ way for young women to be behaving when it comes to their sexuality/their relationships and that b) the correct way to behave is to devote yourself to one person and the institution of marriage as early as possible and that being a ‘slut’ is the worst thing that could happen and is something to be avoided. Now, I’m not judging Miley. Although I know if I was engaged to the person I was seeing at 19/20 things would have probably taken a terrible turn and I would not be blogging here or doing much of anything really. But I’m also not judging Taylor. There’s billions of fish in the sea. Give them a test run. It might work out really well for you. Different strokes for different folks, ya know? There is no correct way to get your rocks off (save for the obviously morally reprehensible and illegal ways… I shouldn’t have to explain those, it’s some common sense stuff).
In short, this is a stupid thing started by a grown-ass man who wanted to create some drama to fuel some TV ratings. “But Alex! What about your vicious and all-consuming dislike of Taylor Swift? Doesn’t that have something to do with her gaggle of men-folk?” No. It has nothing to do with the quantity of men and everything to do with the fact that Swift deals with break-ups with the emotional maturity of a 4 year old and is generally a bad role model. But that’s a whole other story that can mostly be found in this post here.
My feelings on Miley Cyrus can be summed up with the word “oomph”, followed by some incomprehensible noises of vague arousal and this photograph:
I just like pointy studs and pretty girls with butch hair cuts, OK? It’s a thing. Shuttup.