She’s Just Bey-ing Miley

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December 19, 2013

What separates Beyoncé’s unapologetically sexualized new album from Miley’s Bangerz?

If you have Internet access and a pair of working eyeballs, you should know by now that sex sells.

In the unlikely event that you still require convincing, however, consider this: on Monday, Apple announced that the album that Beyoncé unceremoniously unveiled last week sold 828,773 copies in three days. Featuring 14 new songs, 17 elaborately produced music videos, and roughly 90% of its titular artist’s naked body, the eponymous work was hailed as “impeccably constructed and calibrated” by Variety, termed “excellent” by Sasha Frere-Jones at the New Yorker, and declared sonically addictive by me, who has been listening to it to the exclusion of all else since Sunday. The melodious feat now sits comfortably at number one in 104 countries and is currently dominating the “Most Recently Played” lists of approximately every sentient human I know.

Critical acclaim and stunning commercial success are not the album’s only achievements. Since the moment of its unorthodox release, Beyoncé has been heralded by insiders as a certifiable game changer. Taken as a pioneering example, the record has the potential to catalyze a systemic revolution in the music industry. But while its formal elements unquestionably challenge tradition, its content is subtler in its commitment to flouting convention.

As the blush-colored stamps peppering its track list indicate, Beyoncé is explicit. Think: NSFW, pornography-adjacent explicit. Not one for understated innuendo or veiled euphemism, the album positively reeks of skin and sex. On it, the same singer who proclaims herself a “grown woman” and reminds detractors that she’s more than “just his little wife,” also growls: “Driver, roll up the partition please /I don’t need you seeing ’yoncé on her knees.”

Still, such evidence and the rather controversial lyrics that her husband contributes to “Drunk in Love” notwithstanding, I find myself not only mesmerized by but also deeply admiring of Queen Bey’s latest offering.

Time.com’s Eliana Dockterman is similarly awed. In a review of the record, she writes: “With her new album, Beyoncé has become the embodiment of modern feminism for a generation that has been reluctant to claim the word.” Like so much of Beyoncé’s music, “[m]en and love are a focus, but she makes sure to let us know that those songs are also about empowerment.” That is, even within the confines of an unapologetically normative account of domestic life and despite the album’s literally breathtaking raunchiness, Beyoncé espouses a brand of female sexuality at last befitting its millennial audience.

You might remember that some months ago Miley Cyrus purportedly set out to deliver the same. She promoted an unabashedly X-rated product, performed in a uniform of latex and leather no more revealing than the ensemble Beyoncé wears in “Rocket,” and tried very, very hard to assert an equally deliberate artistic vision. Given such theoretically damning parallels, it should be harder to explain why I am so captivated by the woman who croons “Let me sit this ass /On you,” but so horrified by Miley’s mandate to shake “it like we at a strip club.” And yet the difference between Beyoncé and Bangerz is obvious. In every respect, one of them knows what it’s doing. As far as I can tell, even as the self-styled Mrs. Carter embraces an identity at least partially defined by her husband, she remains as independent as ever.

Assuming you agree, has Beyoncé earned her reputation as a role model? Does a song like “Blow” jeopardize her status or cement it? Is it even fair to distinguish between Cyrus and Sasha Fierce? Finally, how awkward is it going to be when Baby Blue comes across a metaphorically dusty copy of this audio file lying around?

Let’s Talk About It.

  • Annie

    Well done, Mattie. You’ve perfectly summarized what I have been thinking since I purchased ‘Beyonce’ on Sunday.

    This album fully showcases what it’s like to be a modern woman: one who wants to make love, have hot sex, be a wonderful mother, please her man, have her man please her, claim her independence, tout herself as a feminist, and do whatever she wants. Our queen has done it again!

    There is something so honest and real about ‘Beyonce’, both the album and the woman; poor Miley just lacks that quality, which makes you feel as though she is hyper-sexualizing herself for the media and men, and not for herself.

    • Q

      I totally agree!!! well added!!.x

      http://www.myclayexperience.com/

    • candabear

      ^ ^ ^ applause ^ ^ ^

    • Mattie Kahn

      Perfectly articulated. I totally agree. I will say that I *do* feel like Miley owns herself and her music, but she just can’t command the same purposefulness that Beyonce does.

      • http://www.madame-ostrich.com/ Madame Ostrich

        Bravo to both of you, Mattie and Annie. When I read the title of this post, my reaction was “Oh boy! Here we go again!” However, I am beyond pleased with the thoughtful speculations addressed. I feel like so much of the media/women’s sites address Miley’s recent behavior with undertones of “slut shaming,” whether overt or unknowing.

        It’s nice to know that MR is a safe haven for women’s sexuality where we can discuss the cultural implications of how female sexuality is portrayed in mainstream media, rather than throwing one young woman trying to find her way in front of a firing squad.

        Thank you ladies!

        XxMO
        madame-ostrich.com

    • Lanie

      I’m a modern woman and don’t feel being the wife of someone who calls me a bitch is ideal.

    • Micah

      You said it perfectly perfect!! :-) AGREE!! :-))

    • Sheena

      Agree completely. I am in awe and haven’t listened to anything else since Saturday!

    • Emilie

      Shouldn’t you ad the age difference in this? Bey is married and have a kid and that ad a little glorifying that is clouding our way of looking at Bey? Miley is discovering herself, she is sooo young and a human actually I think it’s healthy to live your life to the fullest she will make an awesome woman IF she learns from these years and then she don’t have the release a song about how she is a grown woman at the age of when she should have been one för at least the last 5 years.

      • Justsayin

        When beyonce was miley’s age and performing in destiny’s child, she was far more classy than miley could ever hope to be. Yes, miley is young, but she is raunchy and doesnt command respect the way beyonce did and still does.

    • garnerstyle

      Perfect comment!

    • MC

      Well said! I completely agree and would also like to point out that Beyonce and Miley present themselves in completely different manners. From the beginning of her career, Beyonce has made it a point to be professional and articulate in addition to her super sexy image. Miley lacks the overall grace that Beyonce exudes.
      In addition, Miley’s more famous looks are not what society would normally classify as sexy. Though she is showcasing her gorgeous figure and dancing provocatively, she does so in jest. As she stated in her MTV feature that her MTV awards look was “funny” and that she looked like a “creature”. These statements only fuel the notion that Miley’s new image is simply for shock value and not to own her sexuality and represent the modern day woman.
      Overall, Beyonce is simply more poignant with her intentions (perhaps due to the 11 year age gap) in her intentions, therefore her album is an easier pill to swallow. However, both are exceedingly talented and beautiful women that have the right to do/say/wear as they please.

      • Hannah

        “Miley’s new image is simply for shock value and not to own her sexuality and represent the modern day woman.”

        Perhaps this is the key to the difference between Miley and Beyonce – one is trying to capture our attention, the other is trying to capture the essence of her very personhood. Is that giving Beyonce too much credit? After all, they both work for the same fame monster and are both selling sex. If Miley says her actions aren’t representative of her Self, maybe that’s what distinguishes her work from Beyonce’s art.

  • Quinn Halman

    (I just got out of surgery so hopefully the sedatives don’t get the best of me)

    Both women have undeniable talent. However, Beyoncé is eleven years older than Miley. She’s married with a kid and seems to know what she’s doing whereas Miley is at a part in her life where, I believe, she’s still trying to figure it out. When Beyonce was Miley’s age the lyrics to her songs were quite risquè as well, I remember listening to Crazy in Love over and over again but the amount of times the word sexy was sang in that album was too much for my six year old self to handle. Nevertheless, Beyonce’s message is clear, she wants to empower women, and I’m not sure Miley has one, but she doesn’t need to; she’s still so young. If Beyonce feels that showing your body empowers women, who are we to judge? this whole site is based off of a similar principle. One of the most important things to consider is that Bey may have smoked a cigar in a few of her videos, but she never lit up on stage after accepting an award. Miley makes drug culture look fun. Personally, I think that the music industry have been glamourizing drugs and, I’m 16, I can’t keep track of the people who have succumb. So yes, the two show a lot of their bodies, but what they’re doing with them is where they differ, whether it’s what they say or how they move it.

  • Morgan

    Great post!
    Full disclosure: I have not actually purchased any albums from Beyonce or Miley, just not my preferred music genre, however I continually keep up with the media and entertainment industry so I would like to think I’m still allowed to have an opinion on this. After watching all of the 30 second teasers for Beyonce’s new album (including reading many articles praising the music) and just being alive in 2013 to witness Miley’s surge to fame, I would argue that they both are doing the same thing. They are both selling sex, and apparently doing it well, the only difference is the people’s perception of them.

    Beyonce has been around long enough to forge her reputation as a role model and truly independent woman. She has sold millions of albums (I was reading an article saying that every album she has created has taken at spot at number one upon release) and has a massive following. Miley (forget the Hannah Montana stuff) is brand spanking new to the pop industry and basically came out swinging. She is selling the same things Beyonce is, but without a fan base that Beyonce has and without the strong reputable persona Beyonce has. Beyonce has long been comfortable in her “grown woman” skin, but Miley is barely an adult. People see Beyonce and say, “what a strong woman,” but they see Miley and say, “geez she’s just a kid”. When Miley performed at the VMA’s, everyone flipped a switch and immediately became concerned at who was advising her, they assumed she was being forced to act raunchy. Beyonce comes out and acts just as raunchy but no one questions wether it was her own decision to do so, that is understood.

    Is it right for Miley to be abhorred and Beyonce to be praised? Maybe. Maybe Miley should have steadily created an image of strength and personal freedom before all the sex crazy stuff, I don’t know. She certainly is making a name for herself though.

    • Catherine

      Exactly my thoughts. In the grand scheme of things, Miley and Beyonce are very similar. I see no difference in what they’re doing– they’re doing the same thing but in different stages of life. The general public seem to legitimize Beyonce’s overtly sexualized image and find it empowering simply because they see her as woman who’s a wife and mother yet is still “doing her thing.” But that reason alone is not enough for me to raise Beyonce’s “art” over Miley’s.

      • Melissa

        Although I don’t agree totally…you make a good point. I believe the difference between the two, and what has people crazy in love with B’s as appose to Ole-Wrecking-Ball, is that Beyonce has a successful reputation for being a lyrical, melodic genius and all out Boss, as witnessed in Life Is But A Dream and—well every time you see the woman (I may B a tid bit bias). But I do agree, Miley and Beyonce are at two different spectrums of womanhood. It would be rather unfair to compare the two. Now if we were comparing the artists’ ability to be Artists from start to finish: write, produce, direct, EXECUTE, then I mean yeah, of course King is on top. It’s kinda like critiquing freshman to graduate work, I mean…duh

        • catherine

          That documentary…(if we can even call it that) was completely biased as she made a documentary about herself. haha

          But yes, B has got time and experience on her side. Wonder where Miley will be when she’s 30

  • cinme

    This is dumb. One it’s clearly baiting the stans to come to this post. Second comparing A 21 just tryna have fun to a 30 yrs old married woman with children. Also stop trying to define what is proper sexuality please.

    • Mattie Kahn

      It definitely wasn’t and isn’t my intention to define the parameters of “proper sexuality.” Miley is more than entitled to her own. But I do think it’s fair to judge how she chooses to express it as an artist. Granting her her sexual freedom doesn’t preclude our critiquing her work.

      Personally, I feel like there’s value in comparing the differences between the messages that she and Beyonce are selling and certainly the differences in how the public is responding to both of them. Obviously, these two women are at different places in their lives. Still, by the sounds of it, marriage definitely isn’t preventing Beyonce from having her fun, too . . .

      • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

        I am beginning to see this side of the debate. Point taken! X

      • Catherine

        But you haven’t explained anything except simply saying one knows what she’s doing and the other one doesn’t. You should explain why you think this. Also, if I understand what you’re saying, Beyonce’s image is more valid because she’s not letting married life keep her from having fun? Yes, that message in and of itself is great for women but using that reason in an article where you’re comparing a single woman and a married woman is meaningless.

        • Chloe

          Amen, Catherine! Just when you think this post WAS going somewhere, the criticism of Miley undermines the validity of a “feminist” argument. It seems that Beyoncé enthralls the author because it’s Beyoncé. If Beyoncé created something, then it MUST be fantastic. I think Miley’s album is just as “feminist” as Beyoncé’s and perhaps more so. She embraces the heart of liberty – the freedom NOT to conform. She’s vulnerable. Honest. Sexual. And unapologetic. It seems, though, that because much isn’t expected from Miley, then she can be easily disregarded. She’s viewed the exact same way Kim Kardashian is. Take Kim’s post baby selfie, for instance. How quickly people jumped to criticize her. And exactly how is her post body reveal different from Beyonce’s? Weren’t they both oozing with female sexuality?

          • Mattie Kahn

            I hear what you’re saying. I just want to clarify that I don’t think Beyonce is exempt from criticism. I was seriously put off by the fact that she decided to christen her tour “Mrs. Carter.” BUT I am awed by what I perceive to be the sheer confidence of this album and the refinement of at least her public persona and voice. Personally, I just don’t feel that Miley’s most recent work commands as much presence. And I feel like it’s okay to talk about that while respecting her right to express herself.

          • catherine

            I see what you mean. All completely valid points. I just wanted to understand where you were coming from.

          • Hannah

            “sheer confidence” – those are truly important words in this debate. I imagine how women often differentiate between an unworthy and a worthy romantic partner: “boys are cocky, men are confident.” Same thing applies to M vs. B. M *seems* to express her sexuality recklessly, in a plea to be seen as shocking, mature, and all-grown-up. B *seems* to express hers deliberately through a carefully crafted public persona.

          • Ruffslitch

            How do you define female sexuality? Is it a pristine, muscular, athletic, trim, toned body which men want to frack or is it a female body which has obviously given birth?

  • kahreeen

    Miley’s attempt to empower herself through sexuality is by poorly appropriating black culture– which let’s us know she’s trying to figure out who she is. She has neither the credentials, the respect nor the power that Beyonce has over her own image. Beyonce’s album is a celebration of herself and her life as a black woman who wanted -and got it– all.

    • catherine

      Is the process of finding one’s self not a strong enough reason for Miley to be expressing herself sexually? Does the fact that she’s in a process of transformation or experimentation completely discredit what she’s doing? Why does one need credentials (i.e. other people’s approval) to do what they want?

      • kahreeen

        Miley can be sexual but she’s trying to define her own by taking advantage of someone else’s, in this case, black women. She uses them as accessories to symbolize the power of her own sexuality.

        Beyonce doesn’t do that.

    • Chloe

      Poorly ppropriating black culture? How exactly? Does this stem from the notion that twerking is inherently black? Come on, Kahreeen. You’re better than that.

      • kahreeen

        Should’ve just said appropriating black culture. Miley is a young wealthy white woman from the south who did a complete overhaul on her public image by accessorizing with black women (in her music videos, in her live performances) and exploiting black culture to be edgy and cool. Questioning how Miley could ever be appropriating black culture? C’mon Chloe. You’re better than that.

        • catherine

          I don’t think the topic of this article is a question of race but if you’re gonna go there you could say the same for Beyonce. http://youtu.be/EnocW1mqOMI

          She calls herself the queen and uses European history to illustrate this. Is she not as guilty?

          come on kahreeen. you’re better than that.

          • catherine

            And if this is worth anything: I am neither black nor white. I don’t agree when with Kahreeen said, I’m just demonstrating how what she’s accusing Miley of doing can be said of Beyonce as well.

          • kahreeen

            There’s not a history of oppression tied to Beyonce calling herself the queen, Miley Cyrus using black women to define her sexuality is.

          • catherine

            You’re saying Miley using black women to define her sexuality is oppressive? I don’t understand. Above, you also said Miley’s appropriating black culture for publicity. The video above is Beyonce appropriating white culture as part of a PR campaign for her tour. On one hand you have a woman who’s embracing a culture her ancestors oppressed and on the other hand you have a woman acting like the people who oppressed her ancestors… So one’s right and the other one’s wrong?

            What if Miley’s doing what she’s doing because she’s genuinely into a culture that just happens to be one she didn’t grow up in? How should she do it without making it look exploitative? You know that Gwen Stefani video for Luxurious? Would you say the same about that?

          • Noelle

            I think you, Catherine, have the wrong definition if appropriation. Miley can appreciate a culture she hasn’t grown up in, but when she does, it comes off as a parody. Its embarrassing and insulting as a black women to see a young privileged white girl claim to be “about that life” , meaning the hood/ghetto culture, when she clearly isn’t about any life, besides the privileged one. There are plenty of white artists who use elements of that culture in their work, but because they grew up in that environment it doesnt come across as offensI’ve (JT, Iggy Azelia). Beyonce, on the other hand, is not appropriating European culture in the O2 promo vid. Assuming that only European cultures had kings/queens is wrong and ignorant in the first place. Beyonce isn’t running around claiming to be European royalty. She’s just using the styling for a video
            Honestly we’re all better than this.

          • catherine

            (1. Justin Timberlake grew up in “hood/ghetto” culture? 2. Iggy Azalea adopts a contrived, false accent that has nothing to do with how she grew up, so let’s not even go there.)

            Does it bother you that Miley Cyrus is privileged or that she’s privileged and white? For me, as a HUMAN, I can see how both pop singers can be accused of doing the same thing, which is using another culture other than their own. .

            And not all cultural appropriation has negative undertones so yes, that video above is a video of Beyonce APPROPRIATING another culture other than her own. Yes, there’s history of royalty in all parts of the world, but that somehow clears Beyonce of doing it? Please tell me how that works? Because she’s still being specific to that culture that is not her own. “She’s just using the styling for a video,” so you’ve just admitted it yourself. I’m not on either side. My argument is that both artists have done it.

            Please tell me where I’ve stated only european culture had royalty. I said royalty because, as i have eyes, I can clearly see Beyonce was SPECIFICALLY inspired by european history, which is why i brought that specific continent up. xx

          • catherine

            **Please tell me where I’ve stated only european culture had royalty. I said EUROPEAN because, as i have eyes, I can clearly see Beyonce was SPECIFICALLY inspired by european history, which is why i brought that specific continent up. xx

          • catherine

            and to clarify further, i can see how Miley’s interpretation of a certain lifestyle can be seen as offensive, and in no way am i saying beyonce’s video is offensive. i’m just saying they’ve both been inspired by others. and to be fair to miley, I don’t think she’s trying to disrespect anyone or a specific demo by doing what she’s doing. she seems to be genuinely inspired, but perhaps she could go about it in a more respectful way.

          • delta

            I agree that Miley’s work doesn’t deserve praise because of her appropriation of black culture. I further argue that this fact is not a ‘race issue,’ because black women are women and feminism is about women. Therefore, issues that touch and concern black women are necessarily feminist issues. To say that black women issues are not feminist issues is to argue that black women are not women.

            Second of all, contemporary African American culture has roots in several different African societies; because the transatlantic slave trade took slaves from multiple areas of Africa. The vast majority of African-Americans are in the United States as a result of the transatlantic slave trade. The transatlantic slave trade benefited European countries like England and France because it provided skilled workers to man New World plantations.

            These plantations, though situated in the New World, largely produced products for the European market at a very cheap price. For example, cotton was a very expensive commodity in Europe until New World cotton plantations came along and made cotton cloth cheap. Who worked on these cotton plantations so cotton could become so cheap?

            Black slaves.

            The exploitation of blacks for cold hard cash didn’t stop with the abolition of slavery, of course. There was American sharecropping and the European colonization of Africa, where European powers like France bought up nearly all arable land in countries like Algeria to produce cheap European goods like wine.

            Today, in America, we see an utter preponderance of blacks in American prisons, who are put to work for barely any money to produce goods that the general public consumes. We see racist police practices that puts a preponderance of blacks in American prisons. We see a wage gap between black and white workers at the same job from the same educational background.

            And yes, we continue to see the ruthless exploitation of African resources for Western consumption.

            Now take that information and apply it to twerking.

            Twerking is derived from African dances like the Mapouka from the Ivory Coast. It has roots in traditional West African dances. It is not ‘associated’ with black people. It was created by black people in Africa, who were then brought to America against their will to provide slave labor for white people.

            Twerking has been around for much longer than Miley Cyrus. It has been around for much longer the 1995 song, “Twerk Something!” Twerking has been around long before white America gave it any notice; and it is a distinctly African-American dance.

            Miley Cyrus, a white privileged women from the American South, then took an African-American product and used it for her video which was used to advertise her song which would then prompt people to buy her album which would then cause people to go to her concerts which would generally make her a lot of cold hard cash.

            How many television appearances and magazine covers do you think Miley has made because of twerking? And she isn’t doing that stuff for charity either. She gets paid $$$$$$$$$$ for her use of an African American product.

            And guess who didn’t get paid for her use?

            Black people: the people who invented twerking and the people who practiced twerking for decades. I mean, twerking is so old that it’s vintage.

            If this sounds like exploitation, then that’s because it is exploitation. It’s the exploitation of a culture that has developed through extreme adversity, of a culture that struggles just to survive despite violent racists like Zimmerman, of a culture that struggles to thrive despite systematic discrimination on just about every level of the international system.

            Miley Cyrus’ actions were completely in line with a long history of abuse by white people of black bodies and histories and cultures.

            That’s what makes this appropriation: Miley Cyrus’ actions are REINFORCING A SYSTEM OF DISCRIMINATION that already exists.

            That is also why Beyonce isn’t appropriating.

            Firstly, there has never been a history of blacks exploiting white bodies or culture, to the detriment of white people, for $$$$.

            Secondly, white European culture has often been forced onto black communities in Africa and America. Black people have been forced to take up European religions, European clothing, and European languages as a result of slavery or colonization. This is why many South Africans speak English. This is why many Algerians speak French. This is why there are black church-goers; and this is why black people in Africa wear Eurocentric clothing.

            If you take up a culture as a result of that culture being forced upon you by another culture, then it is not appropriation.

            Thirdly, Beyonce is not from a dominant culture in relation to Eurocentric cultures. African American culture is not a dominant culture in America or Europe. African Americans are frequently criticized and discriminated against in the workplace and beyond for being ‘too black’ or ‘too different’ from Eurocentric standards of conduct. For example, a black person speaking African American Vernacular English is frequently corrected for speaking ‘substandard English.’ African American culture is viewed as non-standard while European culture is viewed as standard or normal.

            In sum: Miley is appropriating because she’s supporting a history of invidious discrimination against blacks while Beyonce is not appropriating because blacks have never had a history of invidious discrimination against whites on a large scale, transatlantic basis that lasted for multiple centuries.

          • catherine

            No one is acknowledging the fact that cultural appropriation is not solely a negative thing. Exploitation and cultural appropriation are not one and the same. Just because Beyonce’s video isn’t exploitative doesn’t mean it’s not her taking aspects of one culture and adopting it in her own way (albeit it’s just one video). It’s appropriating. You saying Beyonce isn’t appropriating because it’s not exploitative isn’t entirely correct.

            In terms of exploiting black culture… that can be said for many things. Many musical genres roots stem from black culture. Does that mean people of other cultures can’t take part without it exploiting blacks? Is Justin Bieber exploiting black culture with his music? The Rolling Stones are a bunch of English guys who were inspired by American Blues and whose music heavily references it. What makes something like that okay, but what Miley Cyrus is doing wrong? (And honestly, I’ve only heard her two singles but only one seems to reference twerking) I would like to know why people are solely targeting Miley Cyrus for something that has been done throughout history and still is still happening today, yet turning a blind eye when it’s done by others. Also, are you sure you haven’t contributed to the exploitation of workers’ in other countries yourself? It’s not just a black and white thing. And colonization is not just an African thing. That’s also happened/happens all over the world. We’re all guilty of it.

            Also, it’s interesting how Miley Cyrus’ twerking is seen as her exploiting another culture rather than embracing/celebrating it. I think the way you perceive it has to do more with you than her.

          • delta

            Actually, it’s a pretty common agreement among those in the African American community that appropriation is widespread and invidious. Just because I limited my discussion in scope to twerking does not negate the extreme harm that the African American community has suffered from past acts of appropriation.

            Your assumption that my limited scope of discussion meant a collapse of my argument’s validity is unsubstantiated. Jazz, rock and roll, blues, and rap have all been appropriated by white people. The African American community and its supporters have not simply ‘let it go,’ so it can go after ‘poor Miley Cyrus.’ In fact, the African American community is fairly vocal against the appropriation of all its cultural products as well as the appropriation of the cultural products of others.

            But other acts of appropriation by other people DOES NOT EXCUSE Miley Cyrus’ act of appropriation.

            “What makes something like that okay, but what Miley Cyrus is doing wrong? (And honestly, I’ve only heard her two singles but only one seems to reference twerking) I would like to know why people are solely targeting Miley Cyrus for something that has been done throughout history and still is still happening today, yet turning a blind eye when it’s done by others.”

            The gist of your argument appears to be: if other people have done it and are doing it, then no one person may be held accountable for their individual act of appropriation. If many people are doing something wrong, then that means there must be no accountability in this world for anyone. If everyone is exploiting, then exploitation is okay. If everyone is murdering, then murder is okay. If we cannot call out every person who has been complicit in racist and sexist power structures, then we should call out no one.

            This argument is not only ridiculous, but problematic. If you wanna know about all the callouts black people have made, then go to your library and read a book by a black activist. They are full of callouts. They call out the appropriation of jazz. They call out the appropriation of rock.

            No one is holding them accountable? Maybe you’ve just never listened to a black activist speak or read a black activist’s words.

            “And colonization is not just an African thing. That’s also happened/happens all over the world. We’re all guilty of it.”

            Further, you appear to be saying: If colonialism has touched other parts of the earth then Africa and Africans and their decedents must not be victims. We must either talk about everything wrong about the world or we talk about nothing at all. If you cannot make your argument about every instance of injury under the sun then your argument is invalid.

            We’re talking about Miley Cyrus appropriating twerking in the comments section of an article about Miley Cyrus. Are you really gonna say that, because I didn’t write about imperialism in China, then Miley Cyrus cannot be held accountable for her actions? That, because there are many things wrong in the world, that we cannot attempt to call out a bad act when we see it? That it is futile to stand up against someone doing something wrong simply because our one action cannot save the world in one foul swoop?

            And finally, appropriation is not the same as inspiration or appreciation. Appropriation has a very specific definition and it involves a dominant culture taking a minority’s culture. That is the definition of a word. There are many ways in which cultures can interact and appropriation describes ONE SPECIFIC WAY IN WHICH THEY CAN INTERACT.

            You are using the term appropriation wrong.

            Like I’ve written my past comment, Beyonce is not part of a dominant culture. Therefore, she does not appropriate. Appropriate is not an appropriate way to describe her interaction with European cultures.

            Haha, I even made a pun so you can better understand this concept.

            When it comes down to it, I have no idea why you’re defending Miley Cyrus’ ethics.

            What does it cost Miley to not twerk?

            Nothing.

            It literally causes no hardship on her to not exploit another culture.

            But she did it anyway and she did it to very little positive effect, considering that appropriation of another culture will always scream: my politics are that i have no intention of respectfully coexist with other cultures in a meaningful, egalitarian way.

            Also, I’d like to point out that you’re weirdly acting like black people didn’t exist in Europe in the 1600s—that only white women wore corsets in Europe and black people were just these other people off on this other continent who’d never stepped foot in European society. Thus, any black woman evoking European sensibilities a la Queen Elizabeth I must be blatantly doing something no black person has ever done before by historical information.

            That’s actually not true at all.

            If you go to Europe, you will realize that there are paintings throughout the continent that depict black people throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. And not as slaves either—but as monks and knights and all of that cool stuff. Like, you’ll be in the Louvre and you’d see a bunch of paintings with black people in European Renaissance garb. And these were painted during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, so these were not ad hoc revisions.

            If anything, black people were frequently painted over with white people throughout European history.

            So I would also challenge the argument that Europe is a white land and the only women who ever wore corsets there were white. Not true. In fact, a great deal of European literature from antiquity onwards mention black people. And black people were a part of the classical, medieval, etc. European landscape as a driving force of European cultural development.

            Black people aren’t separate from Europe. They’re actually part of it. Beyonce didn’t do anything unusual by putting on a corset and a lace collar. Plenty of black people did that too—and when it was in style the first time around!

          • catherine

            Excuse you but I was not defending Miley Cyrus’ behavior (whether I find it offensive or not is still debatable) and I wasn’t saying because appropriation of other cultures (NOT JUST BLACK AND WHITE) exists, Miley Cyrus is excused. You should really read my comment with an open mind rather than reading it with anger and twisting my words. Why are you so angry? And please don’t compare one culture being inspired by other with murder.

            My comment was an open-ended question on why current society is targeting Miley Cyrus when what they’re accusing her of doing has and is still being done today and why when others do it, it’s applauded? No one was calling Miley Cyrus “poor Miley Cyrus” so like I said before, you’re judgement of her says more about you than it does her as you’ve put that idea out yourself.

            The fact that you’re saying that I’m saying americans (black and white) are not victims are colonization is so crazy to me and really gives me an insight into how your mind works. Wow. That’s such an offensive statement that I won’t respond to it. You should really think about what you say to people you don’t know as you have no information about my life, my ancestors, and relationship/experience with oppression. Read my statement again when you’re willing to be receptive to what others are actually saying.

            You are really off on a solo tangent. (i said white people were the only ones in corsets? hilarious. the culture in which Beyonce specifically HEAVILY references in that video is of european royalty. corsets were not exclusive to royalty, so yes, black people have worn corsets in the past. again. stop putting words in my mouth.)

            A debate becomes pointless when you only see what you want to see.

          • catherine

            **The fact that you’re saying that I’m Africans are not victims are colonization…

          • Ruffslitch

            So is this why blacks are abandoning Christian religions in favor of the islamic ones which took them from Africa and sold them into slavery under European ownership? So you don’t have to forgive your “oppressors?” Because if you forgive the ancestors of your oppressors that means you will have to take responsibility for your lives and not live off of de facto reparations in the form of government handouts. You will have to say, ” Gee, if I’m poor it might be MY fault! It might be because I have many children out of wedlock and failed to graduate from high school and had sex with many nameless rapper drug dealers because I liked their swag!”
            Perhaps if people got degrees in , say, computer science and not minority women’s studies they might be employable.

          • Ruffslitch

            Spare me. If you have to be “genuine” and not “steal” anyone else’s culture then what is the benchmark? Pick a time in history and everyone go back to their home countries to assume an “authentic” culture and persona. I have a fragment of Jewish ancestry so I’ll go back to Egypt to be a slave once again. But then I have Cherokee ancestry-do I go back to the Trail of Tears or before that when Cherokees owned slaves? Or should I go back to 19th century Ireland and starve during the potato famine and become a indentured servant to escape to America? Kahreen, take your “history of oppression” and put it back in your minority women’s studies textbook. Miley and Beyonce’ are both tramps who use sex to sell their wares and make gobs of money. Neither of them have one iota of the talent of Beethoven or Mozart. To claim they are musical geniuses of any sort is specious. Do you enjoy their music-yes or no? But don’t try to obfuscate your inherent preferences by dressing it up as probative analysis.

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    Okay, Mattie, so I agree with you that Beyoncé’s album is far more appealing and empowering than Miley’s or Miley’s image. I get the sense that Bey has an agenda, and I think that shows in her cohesiveness — she really embodies, with this album, the different (and sometimes separated) facets of her life. Miley, on the other hand, just uses the common thread of sexuality to give a sort of ambiguous — and definitely unproductive — message.

    That being said, I don’t think comparing them is those most productive thing, either (despite it being so habitual for all of us to do so). These women are clearly on two different wavelengths, at two different crossroads in their lives. Both, in a sense, are in rebellion stage, Beyonce more questioning society and Miley doing more the equivalent of driving with loud music through on a quiet suburban neighborhood on a summer night. Cyrus is doing her late teens/early 20s discovery of increased sexual freedom in the public eye, and so in that sense I’m not entirely sure if she knows her message. And that’s totally okay, she doesn’t need to have one.

    It’s great the Bey has brought this sort of feminist wake-up call to the music industry in the past week, but I think at the same token it has entirely debunked the work of other women in the past few years. Yes, she’s been able to reach a much larger audience than some of her lesser-known performing counterparts, but then again many of the outlets that are denoting this wake-up call are very well-versed in the sphere of music and popular culture. What about Claire Boucher aka Grimes, who for years has been rallying for equality in the music industry via pop music? She’s spoken with and about Kathleen Hanna, she’s reached out to and/or rejected playing shows or doing certain interviews because of potential misrepresentation. And what about Lorde? Sure, fine, she’s 17, but I think she’s an excellent example of the reinvested interest in feminism in this 4th-or-whatever of feminism. For these outlets to credit Beyonce entirely, to say that this effort started at an obscure hour of the night last week is entirely false.

    Either way, I’m glad that that TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is reaching many more people. That’s really all we can ask for.

  • candabear

    all i know is yoncé makes me want to be a better woman

    • http://www.anativeblonde.com/ Jess H.

      To me, that’s the biggest difference between the two. Beyonce has this whole vision of female world domination and is on a mission to help other women feel truly confident, sexy, and empowered – not just herself – and that’s the message she’s belted out since Destiny’s Child.

      But Miley sort of alienated her base audience when she grew up much faster than they did. They’re still in high school now, maybe college, right? Marching around at 21 with weird hair, drugs, and fetishized foam fingers and construction equipment just kind of comes off as sensationalist and immature, whether you’re in that age bracket or an older fan who may be suddenly reminded of that time your little sister put socks in your bra and smeared your nice YSL lipstick all over her face.

  • Elisa Taviti

    That’ s great!

    Elisa – My Fantabulous World

  • av2122

    this is so smart

  • marinacasapu

    both talented, both sell the same amount of sex, but one does it in a vulgar way and the other one doesn’t.
    http://www.live-love-fashion.com

  • Eliza Chen

    Personally, I think that Miley’s public image is so overwhelmingly negative because A) she was once billed as a super-wholesome Disney star and B) she’s white. There’s this perception that it’s somehow more sexually transgressive when a white girl sings about “livin’ the party life” as opposed to when black girls do the same.

    I mean, Rihanna’s “Rated R” was released when she was just 21, and that album didn’t receive nearly as much criticism about its “sexual content” as Miley’s “Bangerz” did. In a way, the vastly different reactions to Miley and Beyoncé are a manifestation of how Western society still fetishizes black women because, for some reason, it seems “more natural” for black women to sexualize themselves.

    I don’t know. I kind of enjoyed “Bangerz,” just as I kind of enjoy Beyoncé’s new eponymous album. The most valid criticism I’ve heard of Miley’s conduct is that she may have been “managed” into this hyper-sexualized role (Sinead, looking at you,) but it’s not like Beyoncé’s life isn’t micromanaged by other people as well.

  • Marnie

    whether we are trying to raise them up a la Beyonce or tear them down a la Miley…popular culture and extreme social media coverage and analysis will attain the same result…BIG sales for the artist and the perpetuation of this crazy world we live in

  • Catherine

    When I first watched Bey’s new videos I traveled down this same road of comparison. I went back and forth between the two archetypal success stories, I began to sympathize with Miley for at least half a second, but then switched straight back to animosity. I think a huge difference between the two movements is their history in the industry. Yonce’ didn’t need nudity or hardware to lick to gain internationally acclaimed fame and power, all she needed was her iconic voice. After Beyonce took over the world, she subsequently earned permission to start a feminist movement however the hell she pleases, albeit via pornographic music videos or not.

    Miley, on the otherhand, in my opinion, took the cheap route. Instead of gaining our respect and appreciation for the person she is and her artistry first, then preaching towards the aforementioned anti-misogynist movement, she dressed up as a rabbit and defaced the foam finger we once held with pride.

    Further bringing the two icons together, do you believe in the illuminati? Write about it! That will be sure to mix things up a bit.

    • Lanie
      • Catherine

        Why did you send me a wikipedia link to Hannah Montana? Confused haha.

        • Lanie

          I wanted to make a point about Miley having gained international acclaim through her voice and acting before coming out in her underpants.

  • Sarita Williams

    I’m sure this has already been said, but I agree with Mattie. Beyonce expresses her sexuality in a graceful way, that Miley hasn’t been able to achieve yet. Also, whereas Miley’s thoughts on her body are constantly in our faces (MTV VMA’s, in tabloids, etc.) the public was completely blind sided by Beyonce’s thoughts about sex. Her album came as a surprise and we were further surprised by the album’s content. Now, while it is clear what Beyonce thinks of herself sexually via her music, outside performing you see her dressed more conservatively than Miley. That is not without saying that there is a clear age difference between the two, so only the future can tell how Miley chooses to have the media perceive her when she gets older.

    ~Sarita w.

    http://www.therabbitsoveralls.com

    P.S. I wrote an article about Beyonce’s album recently, too that you all should check out: http://www.therabbitsoveralls.com/2013/12/black-model-power.html

  • katie

    Beyonce is not encouraging girls to indiscriminately have sex, do drugs or hump other people’s husbands. Miley is promoting an empty existence of endless partying and Beyonce is promoting self-empowerment, motherhood and monogamy.

    • Lanie

      Maybe it’s the paradigm that needs shifting.

  • Catherine

    I’m indifferent to both Miley Cyrus and Beyonce’s music equally, but your argument that Beyonce’s hyper sexualized image is less “horrific,” is simply because Beyonce knows what she’s doing and Miley doesn’t, which is fine, but would you like to elaborate on how you’ve come up with this idea? I’m confused. Does Miley need to be married with a child for her message to be empowering? I agree, there’s value in comparing the images these two pop singers are selling but this article doesn’t say much.

    • Lanie

      I agree completely. Because Bey is doing her thing in the confines of a patriarchal relationship (I mean, come on, she calls herself a queen…) she’s more legitimate in using her sexuality to sell her product, which is just more of her sexuality?

  • Brittany

    First and foremost I should say that this is a biased comment. Beyonce is a queen! …moving on. For me, the main difference between Beyonce and Miley is that we know that Bey is head over heels for Jay Z. Her last album could have been called I love Jay Z and I want you to know it, and that would have been entirely fitting. I feel like with Bey we have a message- she loves her husband, he loves her, and they express it by doing super dirty things. In Miley’s case, it seems like she is using her sexuality simply to let you know that she is no longer affiliated with Disney.

  • Anna

    Hhm I think the difference to me, personally, is that Beyonce’s sexuality and performance feels natural while Miley’s feels over the top and contrived. Beyonce is like the calm confident girl walking into a party or the club in a short dress and heels, throwing back drinks, and dancing with her girls or man. Having fun and doing her own thing. On the other hand, Miley feels like the girl who goes to a party in a revealing outfit that she isn’t quite comfortable in but wears because she thinks it will get her attention from people and then starts twerking and humping things just to see what sort of reaction people will have. Like looking around to see how people are reacting to her. And then if they’re not paying enough attention she would jump up on the bar or take her clothes off. Like, it just somehow feels unauthentic rather than a true representation of sexuality I guess?

  • Maggie

    Is this the best our society can do? Are we so lost as to even dare to discuss if two pop singers are good enough for our young people to have as role models, this is beyond my comprehension. There are ladies around the world that can be the perfect example of “empowerment” the problem is that they don’t get enough attention from the media as these two.

  • Serene

    Jay Z isn’t stripping down to his skivvies and grinding in the sand. He doesn’t have to to sell records and make a name for himself. When female entertainers can perform withOUT having to play on their sexuality, then THAT would be truly empowering. I just don’t see how playing the “Watch how crude and down and dirty I can get” is feminist OR empowering.

    • marita_hunt

      Thank you thank you. I feel like the whole Beyonce world-wide (Well, english speaking world and a little further perhaps) hype is exactly what her huge team of producers have been working towards. She and Miley are products of production and publicity machines that are trying to make the most amount of money they can for their companies. Beyonce is unarguably beautiful, a good singer and a good dancer but she’s not a queen or any kind of groundbreaking role model for women. I’m sad that all of the music both she and Miley are being produced in is about sex, sex, love, and sex. It’s exhausting and dehumanising and boring and repetitive. I’m sad that Manrepeller is such a fan of beyonce when she’s … not really doing much for the manrepeller ideology, that we can dress for the love of creative fashion, not to be the sexiest man attractor out there :(

      • Mattie Kahn

        Personally, I think any woman who spots a sequin body suit with as much aplomb as she does head-to-toe pizza print is the consummate Man Repeller.

        See: http://style.mtv.com//wp-content/uploads/style/2013/12/beyonce-pizza-outfit.jpg

        Now the only question is . . . where can I find myself a version of the pepperoni playsuit? Pizza > Sequins 4eva.

        • marita_hunt

          I love the Pizza suit! But Beyonce is not exactly known for wearing whimisical two-peices. She’s almost always costumed in bodysuits, bras, thongs, and maybe a big fur coat in a nod to layering (this is coming from what I’ve seen of her visual album). Maybe it’s partly practical, and she can move more easily in less clothing. But Janelle Monae can dance like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwnefUaKCbc in a tux. For me it’s just so much more interesting and refreshing!

  • guest99

    Both of them are repulsive and irritating. Would not buy either cd if you put a gun to my head.

  • ClothesWHorse

    Experience vs Enthusiasm.

    Both have their advantages.

  • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

    @LEANDRA: Happy Birthday! :-)

  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    Miley Cyrus constantly sticking her tongue out is such a revolting sight, it’s disgusting.
    Mafalda ❤
    http://www.mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  • http://www.creamstop.com/ Mademoiselle C.

    I adorbs B’s new album! Although B does seem to hit the nail on how to be a woman, classy, caring and sexy.

    I think there is still hope for Miley – she is still a child remember? Who grew up in the spotlight, essentially missing her childhood. I’ve seen her interviewed and think she has very wholesome qualities and a maturity that unfortunately is not portrayed in the media.

    Time will tell.
    http://www.creamstop.com

    • Lanie

      There isn’t one way to be a woman, I think.

      • Mattie Kahn

        For the record, completely agree.

        • Lanie

          Sorry I’m just trolling this post, I’m just so excited to talk about it.

          • Mattie Kahn

            Me too! I’m fascinated by any person–especially any public figure–that people relate to as a role model.

      • http://www.creamstop.com/ Mademoiselle C.

        Hmm re-reading my post, I can see it comes across wrong. What i meant was that B seems to nail what i suppose, is perceived “idealistic” way of how to be woman. I agree with you Lanie (and Mattie) that there are several ways to be a woman and the unique-ness and differences are what make you special.

        I digress. I can see from a lot posts that the general consensus is that although both B & M use sex as a way to sell records, one seems to do it in a more dignified? appropriate? acceptable manner? I don’t think that’s quite fair on poor M. She’s developed her career from a very, very young age and most of which was spent doing a children’s show. Yes, she’s decided to take a bit more of sexy approach to her adult records, but that doesn’t make her any more/less role worthy than B.

        Additionally, I have seen them both sporting outfits that are almost naked and I personally appreciate both their takes on sexy.

        In my opinion role models are people who hold traits that people can look up to, aspire to and that encourage you to improve yourself. So in saying this, I think both B & M have accomplished a lot, and I do look up to their ability to develop their talent, work hard and turn that into a business and lifestyle.

        It’s just the case that the more famous you are, the more likely you are to be taken notice of.

        In my opinion there are lots of others that equally justify the title of “role model”, who have varying capabilities that I also admire and aspire to. Such as Nawal El Saadawi (Egyptian doctor, feminist & lecturer), Carol Bartz (first female CEO of a major software company), Caster Semenya (young athlete who overcame global gender taunts), Oprah, Sarah Murdoch… just to name a few.
        xx

  • Courtney

    I’m a little biased, in that I’m not a fan of Beyonce. But, I don’t think she is a good role model, she is married to someone who as someone else pointed out calls women bitches, she doesn’t always seem consistent to me in what she is trying to sell about herself. But, she is a grown woman, who is married an has a child – she appears to have a better understanding of her sexuality, which makes it easier for people to be understanding an accepting of her over sexualized content.

    I also feel like Miley is still young, if she weren’t a pop-star, she would be the age of many sophomores/juniors in college, a time when people are working to figure themselves out. She hasn’t had a normal childhood, this might not even be who she really is, this might be an experiment in figuring out who the real Miley is.

    I think it is unfair to compare two artists that are in completely different steps in their lives, and who really aren’t similar outside of making music in the same genre.

  • Brie

    The difference is how they handle themselves outside of the music that makes one a Boss and the other a little bit sad. Beyoncé is putting on an image when she performs. She has said so herself. She can separate the two. She has stayed squeaky clean in real
    life. Miley is having trouble with that. But she will get there. She is young. Most young woman in her place stumble a little. Beyoncé is the exception to that of course.

    • Guest

      Also, when you’ve got it. you’ve got it. B has it. Miley…not so much. When you are as good as Beyonce, people tend to just see the talent and weed through the other bullshit. When you aren’t as talented, sometimes you need the bullshit to keep people interested.

  • delta

    The main difference to me is that Beyonce put out an album empowering black girls in a year where white ‘feminist’ artists like Miley Cyrus and Lily Allen have put out music empowering white women at the expense of black women.

    I don’t want to turn on the TV to watch white women call themselves ‘feminists,’ then put down other women.

    Yes, NEWSFLASH, black women are women too.

    Issues that touch and concern black women are thus feminist issues; because feminism seeks to redress points of discrimination against WOMEN (and, again, BLACK WOMEN ARE WOMEN). As a result, feminism is necessarily about race if it aims to liberate ALL WOMEN as opposed to just SOME WOMEN. Why? Because most women on this earth are not white.

    I have already made a very long post as to why Miley Cyrus has taken a huge dump on black women through her appropriation of twerking. Now, I’ll turn to Lily Allen who literally sang the lyrics, “I don’t have to shake my ass for you, because I have a brain,” as the camera zoomed in on a bunch of black women dancing.

    Actually, i think that whole music video speaks for itself.

    So we’re coming from a year where Miley does a really really really bad caricature of a traditional African dance for $$$ and Lily Allen strongly insinuates she doesn’t think black women have brains for $$$ to Beyonce.

    Yes, thank God for Beyonce.

    Note, it’s not Miley’s midriff baring tummy or Lily Allen’s refusal to be a size 2 that’s got me annoyed. It’s how they treat black women. They can both go on stage naked and I wouldn’t call it unfeminist. What is unfeminist, however, when they take a dump on black women to make themselves more likable or endearing or edgy.

    Because black women are women, who are people, who are not to be exploited for career benefits.

    But back to Beyonce. Beyonce shows that she knows a thing or two about feminism in this album. Notably, Beyonce shows that she knows a thing or two about the historical discrimination against black people in the feminist movement. (Remember when feminists tried to rally support by saying women were the n-word of the world? Yeah, that’s the kind of feminism Beyonce knows a thing or two about.)

    That is why Beyonce employed a black feminist to speak on her Flawless track; and her entire album speaks to heavily womanist themes.

    NEWSFLASH 2: BLACK FEMINISTS AND WOMANISTS ARE NOT THE SAME AS WHITE FEMINISTS. Their discourse and rhetoric are directed to black female experiences, which exist as a result of multiple forms of oppression. In other words, black women experience sexism and racism from multiple parties and sources (including white women) and black feminism and womanism developed to express the unique needs of black women.

    If you want to know why Beyonce’s album is a salute to feminism while Miley’s is not, then that is your answer. Beyonce’s album is an expression of black feminism, which is often ignored by mainstream feminism. It is an expression of black womanhood and black community. Why does Beyonce feature three black supermodels in her Yonce video? It’s to show solidarity with other black women, who are often dismissed by white female artists.

    If this sounds more feminist than Miley twerking, then here’s a hint: it’s because it is.

    • catherine

      I’m assuming you’re going to excuse Beyonce calling other women “bitches” and tell ng them to bow down to her. Or was that a feminist statement too?

      • delta

        Wow you really don’t know anything about African-American culture, do you? Listen, lady. This album wasn’t made for you and your narrow mind so step off of a woman who black girls are immensely proud of. Go sit with Miley. Maybe she’ll twerk up on you so you can crawl inside her ass some more.

        • catherine

          My third eye is wide open, darling. I don’t rate Miley Cyrus over Beyonce. You clearly see me as some pro-Miley/anti-Beyonce crusader which couldn’t be further from the truth. (“Party,” [the Andre 3000 version] is one of my all-time favorite tracks if you were wondering. #nodisrespecttoJCole)

          Is questioning someone you’re a fan of not allowed? We can’t have a friendly debate? You seem really angry. Can you state your opinion without insulting others? Calling people names doesn’t make your argument any stronger and, in effect, makes you look very small. yikes. People tend to lose their cool and resort to name calling when they’re unable to express their thoughts clearly so I’ll assume that’s what’s going on here.

          Wishing you lots of love and happiness over the holidays. Big kiss xx

  • thechicincumbent

    Beyonce’s tastefully exudes her sexuality through her music. There’s a message of empowerment there. Not so sure about Miley… #BeyHiveForever #WeTheCHIC
    http://thechicincumbent.com

  • B.

    The biggest difference and the reason I believe everyone respects Yoncé more is because of her visual interpretation of her material. Miley is out here with giants and dwarfs smackin their ass, which is NOT what I immediately saw in my mind when I first heard “We Cant Stop.” There’s a way to visually represent your sexuality and party songs (see “Party,” of “Get Me Bodied”). Miley is coming out demanding the attention of everyone at any cost (I mean she succeeded, were comparing her to Bey), but she is doing so in a negative way. I respect Miley, I like her music, and I liked her much more after her Miley the Movement documentary but then less after that ridiculous shoot with T. Rich. Beyonce released “Grown Woman” long ago for a reason, she was warning us to get ready for the grown and sexy bomb she was about to drop. Yonce is just more mature, further along in her career, and and as a result, more respectable. Mrs. Carter is feminine power personified. Beyonce isn’t doing the sexual thing for gimmicks and attention, she doesnt need it.

    xB
    http://www.brittiish.blogspot.com

  • Laura

    Their differences aside, I’d prefer either’s version of sexy to any of their male counterparts’

  • Caro

    In the words of dear Susan Molinari: “It is high time we stop criticizing women for the choices and life decisions they’ve made and instead say, Hallelujah sister, whatever gets you through, I am here to support you.” DAMMIT

  • loafersnlipstick
  • Noemi

    Honestly, I came here for the comment section. It went way more in depth with this topic than the actual article did. It’s actually quite interesting to see all the different perspectives.

    @Catherine: Absolutely love your stance on this. Every time you comment it’s like we’re thinking the same thing.

  • JayLA

    There is little difference between the sexualized content of “Bangerz” and “Beyonce”. Freedom of sexual expression for women should not be limited by branding and marketing right?

    Feminism has a lot to do with helping to change society’s perception of women. We hope to get to a place where women are considered equals to men. Period.

    At no point in listening/viewing Beyonce did she represented herself as an equal to her husband or any other man that she referenced. All the applause has been about her overt expression of sexuality (which ideally should not be a big deal). However many seem to miss the damage that her content (and the applauding of it) could do the the feminist cause (especially in a society that already has a jaded perspective concerning the sexuality of women).

    Beyonce’s husband refers to her as his b**ch, she feeds into the stereotype of women taking forever to get ready (like little dolls), only to have her husband ejaculate all over her efforts, which only takes place after she gets on her knees and sucks his p*nis. She then refers to other women as b**ches while requesting that they bow to her then “throws” in a (dare I say eloquent) speech by a feminist as a form of justification.

    We have been viewed as “dolls” and “pinups” and objects of men’s pleasure for decades, centuries even. We are finally on the verge of breaking through these stereotypes (thanks to women who have showcased that their intellectual and creative prowess’s are not lesser than that of men) and then comes “Beyonce”.

    If Beyonce really wanted to promote feminism and the expression of equality of female sexuality, she could have started by mentioned her husband sucking her vagina until she squirted all over his tux. She also could have called him her b**ch and had him doing a striptease for her. Furthermore, she could have told other male pop singers to bow down to her. Seriously, imagine Beyonce calling Jay-Z her b*tch. Unimaginable right? That is the problem.

    How many men are watching “Partition” and thinking, “Jay-Z dances for Beyonce, and sucks her vagina in the limo until she has an orgasm, man, I am slacking, I need to do more for my wife?” No. It goes more like, “Jay-Z’s a lucky dude” or “why doesn’t my wife dance for me?”

    In the end, she gyrated her hips for her husband while doing all that she could to please him sexually with minimal mention of how he does the same for her. Women have been doing that for centuries. Nothing awe inspiring there. Entertaining, absolutely! The frontier of modern feminism, no.

    Sidebar
    I’m quite a prude and personally do not care for either Miley’s or Beyonce’s crotches flashing in my face (same with any male pop singer). However, I do not believe that my personal truths should stop me from standing up for women who do want to have their crotches in the air. I just do not believe that Miley or Beyonce’s “in your face” method is how this “war” will be won.

  • http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/ Newborn Fanatic

    Hah I bet Beyonce is still going to be super hot when baby blue sees the videos. :)

    Moving on to Beyonce and Miley Cyrus… I think the biggest different just might be that Beyonce is a woman and her explosive sexiness is just that. Insanely sexy. But somehow Miley twists herself into looking really cheap and crass. Maybe it’s because she’s still young?

    http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com

  • Michelle

    I second that! Poor Miley is just seen as “that ratchet girl” while Beyonce will always be seen as “the woman”. She “makes the decisions”, “leader of the pack”, etc. (she’s called Queen B for a reason) Beyonce does NOT go back to Disney, she has always remained sexy yet graceful with her image and exposed herself to the world as a WOMAN since the beginning. That is why her merchandise/product has so much impact in comparison to Miley’s , because it’s always been, and always will be, WOMANLY. Its the loyalty of Beyonce’s direction with what she throws out that keeps her at such an iconic state in pop culture, while Miley’s Disney background taints her future and makes her look like a facade, another slutty teen, just a “new look” (plus this new trend of hip-hop fashion, Beyonce being African American, etc., but this is not my blog…). Its that loyalty that Beyonce’s music has maintained that have kept her “holy”, while poor Miley started out too young perhaps, she couldn’t immediately merchandise herself as a woman and now appears to be hopping around too much for some people’s likes…. Like any other brand, Beyonce keeps a reputation, as many other pop stars do, while Miley is still escalating unsure, new, changing, evolving; unreliable basically. In the end time will decide what path she chooses, but until then her new-image scandal has brought her big bucks (I wouldn’t complain) ;P

  • Hannah

    I going to bring “authenticity” and the role it plays in art? Is it relevant/necessary? I make this statement because Beyonce to me is more effortless compared to Miley. Yonce’s finesse perhaps. Whereas I find myself cringing and squirming when observing Miley. As a result, Beyonce makes a fuller artistic statement. Should we even compare artists? Doesn’t the combination of experience, the phase, etc. inevitably create opposing outcomes? Please chime in.

    • Hannah

      Ughh…my grammar. Sorry guys….

  • Danielle

    I think the difference between the two is this: Miley exploits her body and makes it an object for the male gaze. She uses her body as a shock factor and there is no substance in her music. Beyoncé on the other hand, owns her sexuality and while subject to the same male gaze, its pretty clear that she’s no object but a human being. I honestly believe no one would even talk about Miley if it wasn’t for her tendancy to twerk in her videos/performances. While Beyoncé is also known for her body, I think her music could and does stand alone.

  • disqus_YQ27evFlxa

    Can we talk about the “Eat the cake Anna Mae” line in Drunk in Love please? How can Beyonce go from singing about being a feminist to mouthing along to Jay Z rapping about their Ike & Tina, domestic abuse themed role play??

  • ashley

    The reason Miley is not taken as an empowering women may be because she is still very young so everyone feels like she is going through “rebellious” phase that most of us have gone through. Beyonce has given us songs like “who run the world” that set the stage for feminism before she came out with this album.