Are You Really Just Being Miley, Though?

Frankly, We Can’t Stop either.


Do you think Miley Cyrus ever believed that Jay-Z would return the favor of being mentioned in her 2009 hit, Party in The U.S.A with a mention on his newest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail? We didn’t. (For the purpose of context, Jay-Z’s mention comes in a song titled SomewhereinAmerica–no spaces–and raps as follows: “Cause somewhere in America/ Miley Cyrus is still twerkin’/ Twerk, Miley, Miley, twerk.”)

Frankly, the amount of time that we have spent writing digital love notes to Jay-Z’s wife, protegé, and botanic phenomenon of a daughter feels like it could warrant a rhyming couplet or two. But what do we get in return? The joy of self-expression, yes, but definitely no mention on Magna Carta Holy Grail. I suppose when you’re Miley Cyrus, though, anything is possible.

If we’d started with that thought – that anything is possible when you’re Miley Cyrus – perhaps what seemed like an overnight transformation (though we appreciate that this transition actually took years), wherein she metamorphosed from daughter of Billie Ray Cyrus-cum-Southern Disney star to a pelvic-humping, tongue-out combo platter of Kate Lanphear and Stevie Nicks enthusiast, might have been slightly less jarring.

In the wake of her newest music video for We Can’t Stop–which, mind you, We Can’t Stop talking about–we also can’t help but view Miley’s provocative conversion as further proof of fashion’s distinct ability to (yes we’re going to say it again) let us slip in and out of different identities. (Is likening Miley’s pixicut to Hannah Montana’s blond wig too far a stretch?)

Case in point: can you imagine the skinny jean, suede boot, knee bopping, wigged pubescent rolling around in a most suggestive come-hither manner? Probably not. Just try to picture the below Hannah Montana evocatively singing, “It’s my mouth I can say what I want to,” while swinging at a teddy-bear fabricated pinata wearing nothing but a cropped top and panties. Or maybe don’t; turns out that vision’s more troubling than intended.

But we’ve got to hand it to Cyrus. Instead of disappearing from the limelight and returning in a confounding new form, her public image shifted in near-graceful increments that eased the transition from charming girl whose guitarist donned a fucking sweater vest to the present grill-bearing, net-wearing, controversy-stirring Barbie kisser.

In the triangle of evolution collaged above, Destiny Hope (that’s her birth name) opens the floor, smiling in her floral shrug pre-metamorphose into her pop-sensation alter ego Hannah Montana–see: the neighboring “realistic” blonde wig that made discerning the difference between Hannah and Miley exorbitantly difficult for her fictitious best friends. From that point, she becomes acquainted with red carpet traipsing, declaring an affinity toward rhinestones and consequently, too, toward highlights and extensions. By the triangle’s apex, she’s candidly becoming something of a woman. On its way down, the transition to present begins–making the photoshopping process of her silhouette considerably more difficult. (So many spikes, says Charlotte.)

But what do we make of the evolution?

It is certainly very ballsy. Whether intentional or not, Cyrus is undoubtedly alienating some of her previous fans, or at very least, their mothers. Starting one’s career as a Disney star perpetuates an image of wholesomeness that the twenty-year-old has seemingly taken pains to buck (with relatively little drama to this point, compared to some of her peers). Then again, how long can someone maintain their role in popular culture before finding themselves  fallen victim to a cold case of Cosmo Kramer-style typecast? And more importantly, how long can someone maintain a childhood persona that no longer resonates?

She’s growing up and as that happens, the fans will grow too. Does it matter if a couple wean off along the way? As someone whose breakout character and actual life were so intertwined, it’s easy to imagine that Cyrus has been sharing intimate parts of her life from the start, and is simply continuing to do so. Morever, she’s doing it well; this feels more like a coming-of-age than a Britney or Lindsey-esque ramp up to the breakdown. Which brings us back to point one: when you’re Miley Cyrus, anything is possible.

Written by Leandra Medine and Kate Barnett

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  • aimee

    The fact that her birth name is DESTINY HOPE says everything.

    • Leandra Medine

      Not the fact that her stage name became Miley because she was always so sMiley!?

    • Aubrey Green

      Thank you!

    • anna

      in nortern europe people think jews have a very strange face, especially the nose is very bad-looking,kinda scythe-like they say, . They call it ” Ful nasa”. the word “ful” is pronounced like the english word “fuel”. i kind of feel sorry for them, but maybe its the testosterone.. i´ve heard it increases the tissues inside the nose, especially bone mass.

      It´s intresting to note that the hebrew work “nasa” can mean both “to marry” and “to lift” and “to desire” among many other verbs..

      In scandinavia people think jews have a very strange face, especially the nose is very bad-looking,kinda scythe-like they say, . They call it ” Ful nasa”. the word “ful” is pronounced like the english word “fuel”. i kind of feel sorry for them, but maybe its the testosterone.. i´ve heard it increases the tissues inside the nose, especially bone mass.

      It´s intresting to note that the hebrew work “nasa” can mean both “to marry” and “to lift” and “to desire” among many other verbs..

      • bumblejeaniepie

        ok, but wtf

        • bibi


  • Not here for her new found love of the “hip hop” culture. It seems like she is trying way to hard to be …well I won’t say that here. But I think it’s great to evolve but for some reason her logic and interviews of why she is aiming to be more “hip hop” rub me the wrong way. She is going out of her way to hang with certain folks but I get it. The music industry people do what they have to do be relevent. I mean afterall she took something that is so ratchet as Twerking which really isn’t as “cute” as she makes it look and made it so main stream that I’ve seen “twerking instructions” in a magazine with the same Klout as Marie Claire/Elle…

    I do however like some of her recent Fashion Choices.

  • Louise

    There is a subtle manrepeller element to the shaved at the sides haircut which could mean she is doing what she is doing because she wants to… Much better than kissing Madonna!

  • mariah serrano

    the graph really shows it was gradual, thanks for clearing that up girls!

    this whole thing is actually brilliant, cheers!

  • I’m loving her recent fashion choices and I love that her metamorphosis did not happen overnight. She’s just a girl growing into her own.

  • danielle

    i actually like a lot of her music and love the new song. but i can’t wrap my head around the unnecessary use of her tongue as a prop. hey miley: twerk all you want girl, but keep that thang in your mouth. it’s distracting us from this catchy song you’re trying to sell.

  • CarlotaLMorais

    I salute her capacity to recreat herself in baby steps but o dont like her present style i think its very mainstream and notinhg really new, se resembles rihanna or kesha in someways and the video is sexual with no point! No her biggest fan

  • CarolinaG

    I loved it!!!!

    I’m posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:

  • ashleymaciejewski

    *Barbie mouth-raper …the doll had no choice.

  • dd

    It sure is a party in the USA for her #twerk

  • I’ve always looked at her as a girl who is growing up in front of us. Many of us went through phases in our early 20s where we experimented with new looks, new hair colors, and listening to new music. She’s just doing all of that in front of the world, and not just her mid-size state university. Sure, she was going to lose fans along the way – but as we all grew up, we lost friends too. Miley just does things on a bigger scale.

    I, for one, am glad to see she’s doing her thang – and that it doesn’t involve copious amounts of drugs or mental breakdowns. It seems that transitioning from a Disney kid to a grown woman isn’t easy, but she’s managed to it without too much more than a dramatic dye job and some spikes…okay, lots of spikes. 🙂

    You go, girl…and please don’t totally shave your head. We’ve all seen where that leads, and it’s not pretty.

  • Ali S

    White Tights.

  • I like that Miley’s growing beyond the stereotypical expectations of Disney stardom. Honestly, it was difficult to take her earlier characters seriously. Nothing ever felt genuine. But now she’s honest in a very raw way, and even though I may not agree with some of her more glaring fashion choices, I respect her for doing what’s true to her.

  • i think the problem is that she can’t just be bein’ miley because she has no idea who miley is. this trying on of different personas reeks of someone who doesn’t know herself at all. she tried the america’s sweetheart thing, then she went full mary kate for a hot second, and now she’s doing this poor man’s rihanna thing.


  • Love her evolution. Nothing but love for her so far for doing her own thing.

  • “I don’t know, I didn’t write the song, so I have no idea,” she said. “Honestly, I picked that song because I needed something to go with my clothing line. I didn’t write it [and] I didn’t expect it to be popular, originally. It was just something that I wanted to do and I needed some songs and it turned out for the best. I’ve never heard a Jay-Z song”

    This is, to me, how I view the authenticity of little Destiny’s metamorphosis. I find it to be as wholly disingenuous, manufactured and knocked off as her endorsement of Jay-Z in Party In The USA. However, it’s being overseen so exceptionally well that we all often forget where Miley came from (as so perfectly stated above). So well, in fact, that I too cannot stop listening to/watching/trying to twerk like a back ground friend in We Can’t Stop.

    Maybe I’m wrong and being judgmental in assuming that there’s no room for growth for a former child popstar, and that’s not fair. But I mostly can’t wait for 10 years from now when her, Katy Perry, Ke$ha and Selena Gomez are sitting on Dr. Drew’s couch lamenting about how their past addiction to glitter, twitter and fame led to their untimely overdose on celebrity pop culture.

    (btw the Miley Montage picture is brilliant work and I’m pinning it immediately.)

    • I really love the new song and I’m all here for her new image as well, but that interview that you quoted above is always in the back of my mind when I see videos of her twerking at Juicy J shows and (ironically) inspiring Jay to rap about it on Magna Carta. #neverforget

    • Kate Barnett

      isn’t that interview fantastically honest, though? i think we expect musicians to share more of their personal selves blatantly in their art than actors, but not so much in pop. yes, she comes across completely ignorant, but there’s something very curious about the forthrightness of it all.

      sidebar: it took me six months to realize the line “butterflies fly away” was referring to nervous stomach butterflies. i thought it was just a poorly written non sequitur. literally about butterfies.

      • On the topic of being fantastically honest, I never thought about the fact that she wasn’t talking about real butterflies until this god damn second. you’re a genius, kate barnett, you really are.

        • Kate Barnett


    • Magda McCann

      I concur with much of what you wrote here but I was also thinking: At Miley’s age I felt a true awakening to many things that I had previously never even considered. I imagine it’s the same for everyone (tho the things we awaken to are as varied). Perhaps this is part of her awakening?

  • Z_Lauren_Z

    Miley Cyrus is a total SKANK

  • Her birth name was a true bombshell. I did approve of her Met Gala outfit though, minus the hair.

  • bean

    everything miley has ever done or will ever do has been redeemed in my mind by her cover of jolene ( ) which is really quite good

  • mekeesha

    i like how you spelled billy as “billie,” which i think is the female way to spell that name. maybe that was on purpose. i think she is from tennessee and not texas too, but maybe they aren’t really that different. 🙂

  • Vicfern

    Oh Miley, Miley. In my opinion, she has never looked prettier. Her hair is fabulous and her body is perfect. But my GOD what is she doing in her music video?! It is super disturbing but somehow I don’t think anyone is surprised. She could’ve taken the classy road, that of a talented and poised young lady ready to show her talent to the world sans the pelvic thrusting. Instead she chose the road most traveled in Hollywood-the road that usually ends up in rehab. Sorry Miley for judging you too hard but hey, you did this to yourself. Hopefully you can prove the haters (I’m half of a hater) wrong and still look great while keeping your tongue in mouth and legs closed. Think about it.

  • erin

    don’t be too jealous, that shoutout from jay-z was not complimentary.

  • Jessica

    No differently than any one of us would dye our hair, gradually change our personal style, lose weight or adapt to our surroundings in a new city, Miley is changing her (public) persona to fit her mood in this moment. She isn’t professing that “We Can’t Stop” is the new “Imagine,” or that this track is going to make her the next Michael Jackson – she’s capitalizing on the right-now mentality of our collective social focus. And with the way she’s kept us talking, it seems like she’s doing a pretty good job of it.

  • contentnet

    Let the record state Ms. Cyrus is from Tennessee.

    • Leandra Medine

      damnit, you are so right. amending.

  • Jennifer

    I liked her image better when she was a rock’n’roll hippie a couple years ago… I’m not sure where this ghetto persona came from all of a sudeen

    xo Jennifer

  • I quite like what she’s become, I mean, I was pretty wild in my 20’s, and if you don’t have that kind of experience when you’re young, you might regret it when you’re older. I find her beautiful, and provocative in a nice way. Mind you, if my 4-year olds try to do anything like that when they’re 20, I’ll send them to a convent!

  • sketch42

    I think she LOOKS awesome, and I like the new vibe and think the music video is kinda cool. I guess she’s very much tuned into the current zeitgeist and tapping into the emotions of the fans who grew up with her with this transformation. But. THE SONG IS SO BAD.

  • Royal Wang
  • Aubrey Green

    I think she looks great.

  • Keely

    Please never equate Miley with Kate Lanphear again. Thank you.

    • Sandi

      Thank you! I couldn’t agree more.

    • Leandra Medine

      That is audibly the look she was going for!

  • Khensani

    I always admired how Miley grew out of her Disney image. She didn’t jump into “scandalous” movies or taking dirty photos. She’s just having fun, being young, finding who she is.

  • jamie

    Haters gonna hate.

  • CDJ

    You never mentioned how cute her dogs are…

  • pixiedust8

    I know she’s young. I know she’s trying to find herself. But she and Justin Beiber seem to be becoming one person–and no, that’s not a compliment, if anyone reads it that way. It’s just sort of amusing when uber-privileged, uber-white people try to be “street”, because it fails so spectacularly. What’s not as amusing is that it seems like both she and Justin are headed down the breakdown path of all the other Disney child stars.

  • Cherie Gisondi

    I want those Tom Ford sunnies she wears. She’s awkward and makes me miss the Old Madonna.

  • Cherie Gisondi

    Oh. And the reference to doing Mollys . Not cool. So cliche. Lohan, Bynes, Bieber now Miley.

  • miley should have stopped at the hot bod and bun stage, he had a recent dig at her on twitter too, miley got all riled up about it

  • pipa


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  • StyleNonsense

    I Think This Is Just An Overnight Thing, I Don’t Think Is Genuine, Her Style Has Gotten A Lot Better Though.

  • Alba B.

    Why the hell we have to read also here about Miley…..if “World is NOT Enough” of such wits. Is she the only example of transformation on earth?!!!

    As far as I know our predecessors were monkeys. Right Darwin?!!!

    To me she totally looks like a nightmare. What about passing from an extreme to the other, under the name of Miley?!!! So bad…..
    Please Leandra, I beg you, hope the next post in line with this one is not going to be talking about Justin Bieber……So bad either

    Regarding your point 1 issue: when you’re Miley Cyrus, anything is possible, naturally inside a nightmare everything bad is POSSIBLE!!!!

  • kristiina ^..^

    Can we talk about all of the product placements in the beginning? BOOM – look at my Beats By Dre speaker. BOOM – GO BUY THIS EOS LIP BALM. I think it felt like an ad.

  • the egg


    xo The Egg

  • Rebecca

    Applause to Miley for making bolder fashion choices and managing to make it to 20 without a coke-infused spiral out of control that lands her in jail or rehab.

    However, Miley’s appropriation of twerking and hip hop culture to try and be relevant continues the commodification of black women’s bodies while propelling her fame. She not only uses black women in the video to try and gain some kind of imaginary street cred, but then places herself at the forefront anyway and grabs there bodies in a sexualized way that makes it clear she is just using them for an image.

    I think here on the Man Repeller it is important to recognize the social implications of the image Miley is creating and that her fashion choices, repellant in one way or another, could represent the way white america marginalizes black culture while trying to take the ‘best’ of it for its own use.

    • Thank you for saying this. I was so taken aback when I first saw this video. It was a conscious choice to use black women as accessories and it was disgusting.

  • Andreina

    She has succeded in that “we can’t stop” and “we won’t stop” discussing miley anytime soon.

  • HelenaT

    Theres growing up and rebelling a bit and then theres singing about Class A drugs in her latest single when you know that her fanbase are largely young girls. “Dancing with Molly” is the line Im talking about in We Cant Stop. Now everyone thats saying shes just ‘growing up and maturing’ might look at it completely differently. She is famous and rich because young girls idolize her so whether she likes it or not thats the audience that will ultimately look up to her as a role model and shes singing about taking MDMA…. I also agree that her love of hip hop just comes across as phony, nothing about her change in image seems authentic to me

  • Elisa

    rebel is overrated and she’s a joke. that’s all

  • Urban observer

    Miley looks great, but I tend to agree with Pixiedust. Miley has an excellent stylist given the image she is trying to project, but she is a poser to me. And that song sucks! Also the Molly drug reference isn’t cool. Is she saying she’s on Molly? (Not cool) or is she just posing (not cool)

  • Gaby

    “(with relatively little drama to this point, compared to some of her peers)” HAHAHAHAH yesssss…understatement of the year!

  • Sofia K.

    We all miss old Miley,but lets be honest,the new Miley is so hot.Like even the white leggings,c’mon guys!

  • Yes she’s growing up and trying to find herself, which I entirely approve of. I just think that she is trying too hard to shake off her ‘Disney image’. You can tell people you’ve grown up without being overly sexual or provocative. Same goes for Justin – it just feels like he’s trying to act all ‘gangsta’ or whatever to show that he is not the teeny bopper anymore, but again, there are ways to show that you’ve matured without being so…controversial or extreme, I guess?

  • Erica

    However her blatant disregard for grammar rules is a little upsetting.

  • Austen

    Buzzfeed combines images from Miley’s video with the disney logo… she really can’t stop lol

  • Style This Style That

    It’s mind blowing how much she’s changed! Bring the innocent girl back


  • Manila Beauty Insider

    I am being MILEY or rather, being on a MID-MILEY CRISIS

    I woke up one day and decided to throw everything colored in my wardrobe. Goodbye prints, goodbye I bold colored tops, goodbye scantily clad clothing that covered nothing but my tits. And traded my closet for Black and White, which I’m sure Leandra can relate.
    Here is the link for the curios MR – -

    I don’t know about you man repellahs, so let me know what you think xx

    follow me on instagram at @lea_yosalina

  • Andrew

    I think the next man repelling trend is going to be Miley Cyrus circa 2007.

  • anna

    In northernn europe people think jews have a very strange face, especially the nose is very bad-looking,kinda scythe-like they say, . They call it ” Ful nasa”. the word “ful” is pronounced like the english word “fuel”. i kind of feel sorry for them, but maybe its the testosterone.. i´ve heard it increases the tissues inside the nose, especially bone mass.

    It´s intresting to note that the hebrew work “nasa” can mean both “to marry” and “to lift” and “to desire” among many other verbs..

    In scandinavia people think jews have a very strange face, especially the nose is very bad-looking,kinda scythe-like they say, . They call it ” Ful nasa”. the word “ful” is pronounced like the english word “fuel”. i kind of feel sorry for them, but maybe its the testosterone.. i´ve heard it increases the tissues inside the nose, especially bone mass.

    It´s intresting to note that the hebrew work “nasa” can mean both “to marry” and “to lift” and “to desire” among many other verbs..

  • Jill S

    Agreed…everything’s possible for her. LOVE everything she’s doing – I say she, not Lady Gaga – is the new Madonna. Pushing boundaries, creating crazy looks, and her makeup and hair lately just ROCKS. Haters gonna hate, but you go, Miley.

  • bumblejeaniepie

    I have an estranged niece whose name is Destiny Hope. This is kind of a bummer to think about.

    But more of a bummer right now is that I. can’t. stop. either.

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