The High-Value Woman Position On Miley Cyrus

The whole Miley Cyrus phenomenon has been on a lot of people’s lips recently. I generally don’t use my platform to talk about celebrities, firstly because I don’t like to judge people whose lives I know nothing about, and secondly because I don’t much care what they are up to. 

I did however watch the VMAs along with a lot of other people, and found the whole performance somewhat uncomfortable. It’s hard to express exactly why without some serious reflection. 

I believe in empowering women and showing them what beautiful people they are. I believe respecting women to be of the utmost importance, secondary only to a woman’s own self-respect. 

So I was left a little conflicted with the Miley thing. A lot of people are judging her right now. She’s entitled to go through phases, just like any of us have. In a perfect world she’d be entitled to go through these phases without the judgement of millions of fans and non fans. Unfortunately (and fortunately for her income), she has millions of fans and non fans ready to judge her. 

The truth is, I do not care what the world thinks of what she’s doing. Nor do I much care about what the general population thinks about anything. We all have to be smart enough to look at a situation objectively without the rants of the mindless controlling every aspect of our thought. The temptation to parrot the demagogic ramblings of the gross tabloids and magazines is always there. 

But I’m reluctant to go down the righteous route of “she’s a role model so she should do better”. She’s not some elected politician who has a responsibility to their electorate. She’s a singer. She makes lot’s of money selling records, amongst other things. I will admit to finding the concept of lots of teenage girls emulating this ‘phase’ disturbing, but whether that really is her responsibility is another matter. God forbid we ever be in a position where every move we make is judged on how great an example it presents to millions of others; an impossible standard to live up to to say the least.

Although I don’t think ‘Miley news’ or any sort of celebrity news is ever really interesting or of any consequence, yesterday something did catch my attention: an open letter from Sinead O’Connor to Miley Cyrus.

Since I cannot talk from any personal experience of the music industry, nor of being a 20 year old woman, this letter contained a lot more credibility than I have on both counts. 
 
After allegedly claiming that her Wrecking Ball video was inspired by O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2U, Sinead expressed her concern for Miley not only as an artist but as a woman. 
 
This letter sums up the ‘High Value’ way to look at this situation more authoritatively than I could. It’s long, but it’s worth the read I assure you.

After you’ve read it, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your opinions on the matter (I would love it if the comments weren’t about Miley Cyrus, but about the situation itself. There’s enough judgement on her as an individual without us having to add to the pile. I think it’s much more positive to keep it constructive and look at it as something to take personal learnings from).

 

Dear Miley,

I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today i’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your Wrecking Ball video was designed to be similar to the one for Nothing Compares … So this is what I need to say … And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.

I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether its the music business or yourself doing the pimping.

Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.
I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.

The music business doesn’t give a shit about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted … and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, ‘they’ will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.

None of the men ogling you give a shit about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a fuck about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a fuck about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped … and that includes you yourself.

Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them prey for animals and less than animals, a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and it’s associated media.

You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever … Don’t be under any illusions … ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty … which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.

I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying fuck about you. They’re there for the money… we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.

You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age … which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.

Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question … I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. Its really not at all cool. And its sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.

As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image … whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now … Not because you got naked but because you make great records.

Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that its somehow cool to be prostituted … its so not cool Miley … its dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. We aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers … that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherfucker who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.

As posted on www.sineadoconnor.com

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229 Replies to “The High-Value Woman Position On Miley Cyrus”

  1. I am kind of speechless – I am torn between whether I think it’s a good idea for Sinead to publish this very personal letter to Miley Cyrus on the internet. I think it’s great that she wrote it to Miley, and it was very well written for sure… I just think the fact that everybody can read this is a little out of line because – it’s Miley that has to deal with it (her issues) BUT not everybody elses’s business. I think it’s even harder for Miley to deal with her problems when everybody can get a peak into her ‘counselling sessions’.
    With that being said I agree with everything in the letter!

  2. Hi Matt,

    I think that there are a couple of issues to be addressed here. Firstly, if our children emulate Miley…it’s far from her fault. We, as parents, should be looking to having far more influence on our children than any singer. As a culture, we need to reflect on how much finger pointing we do and discern when and where the buck should stop with us and step up to the responsibility. Secondly, whether high value or low value as seen by myself or any other outsider, the behaviours of this type which some people indulge in are their own and are a product of many factors. It’s no more right to judge this, or nay other, young woman for things which many of us did in our own way and at certain stages of our own personality development. We, as a culture, may need to stop ourselves from saying “youre not supposed to do that” and ask “why do you feel the need to do that”, instead. This may help us get to the root of issues in our culture and address them, rather than perpetuating them.

    1. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could let small children watch music videos…? Obviously performers’ behavior affects millions of people, not just themselves.

  3. Hi Matt, I had already read the letter and posted it and my thoughts on my FB page. I was an 17 year old when Sinead O’Connor came out with NCTY and adored her, the honesty of the modest video (she was really crying genuine tears for the break up of a recent relationship). I think Sinead’s letter is spot on, again it is honest and caring. She tells Miley that she is a talented young woman, she is not scathing at her but at the industry which I totally agree, is exploiting her beyond the pale. I was in total agreement. Emma

  4. Having both been a 20 year old woman, and been in the music business, I tend to “stick up” for Miley, even though I didn’t choose the route she did. (Which could be why I’m not super famous-I’m good with my decision.)

    I appreciate that you’re not jumping on the bandwagon and ragging on her. I also think Sinead has a point. I have a lot of feelings on the Miley situation. Many of which start with me wanting to ask her a bunch of questions and trying to understand where she’s coming from.

    Some people like to be naked all the time and it doesn’t bother them who sees their body. Madonna did similar things, and people loved (and hated) her. I will admit to not liking Miley’s performance on the VMA’s, but my preference for performance is more conservative. I don’t need lighting, and back-up dancers, etc. to feel entertained. I just have to like the song.

    That’s as much as I want to say because I’m already annoyed at myself for discussing people I don’t know for this long- I feel you on that point as well :)

  5. We all women should read this at 13, I don’t know what its going on with this generation, but I don’t like it… Me, as a mom of 3 boys always say that they have to respect women in every moment, but what happen when girls don’t respect themselves?

  6. Well said, Sinead! It’s sad but I believe there isn’t a single parent in Miley’s life that truly cares about her, or her future that is sure to be riddled with consequences for poor choices. I have two girls and remind them DAILY that they are much more than sex objects to boys. Even though I have to compete with a boatload of raunchy young women (like Miley) using their bodies for attention in the media, I hope that my lessons will override that power. We’ve been steered away from the days of Cyndi Lauper or Sinead showing that young women can embrace their individuality and still be loved. Now, skin is in and it saddens me to see everything become so sexualized.

    I hope Miley takes Sinead’s message as a firm wakeup call and starts to wise up a bit. Certainly, there must be some other redeeming quality she can offer the world than a tongue that can’t stay in her mouth and exposing as much of her body as possible without crossing the lines of censorship.

  7. I am quite impressed by the letter! I hope Miley reads it and really thinks about what Sinead it saying! I haven’t paid much attention to the whole Miley Cyrus thing in fact I did not watch the awards when they were on that night but saw a lot of media buzz around what had happened! I hope that it will make Miley think!

  8. Hi Matt, iam really empressed that you share her opinion in the way how a high value woman actually act!

    It made my day, that so many people thinks that way…

    Lots Of Love and blessings
    Saida

  9. I don’t feel Sinead’s message was high-value at all. Her tone was condescending and patronizing, and her message was slut-shaming and framing female sexuality as bad and dangerous. “Your body is for you and your boyfriend”? Really?? I guess her catholicism runs deep despite that pope-tearing incident.

    Let’s look at it this way: Miley was no more naked at the VMAs than Lady Gaga was in her Alejandro video, but Gaga performed better and was clearly in control of her artistic vision. In fact Gaga has posed full-on nude for Vanity Fair and other places on the internet without receiving flak. It’s not about Miley’s nudity; it’s about the fact that she’s not committing to a good performance. Were she to hire a decent art director and choreographer and take a few dance classes, she could get as naked as she wanted. No one likes to see a woman who seems out of control. That’s the real issue here.

    But in the meantime, slut-shaming is not cool, Sinead. I’d hoped for better advice from her when I started reading her letter but that bunch of hurtful things that eventually amount to “Put your damn clothes on, Miley” was a disappointing tack. Shame on Sinead. Shaming disguised as maternal concern is just gross.

    1. Seriously? It’s “shaming” someone to tell them they’re being taken advantage of? With that mindset, no wonder girls and women continue to be objectified and disrespected… it’s their right and no one can take it away!

  10. I agree with what Helene St. Pierre concluded on the link you posted on your Facebook page. In fact, I was thinking the same. Since there are several cases before this one, cases we all watched and paid for (in money, in rating, in fan clubs and the list could continue) what kind of argument can we bring now, to this girl, or to those to follow? And I don’t think we should.

    On the contrary, I think we, the viewers, should learn to filter these kinds of models (for lack of better word) and put our money where the real High Value Women are. Honestly. Maybe (just guessing now) we could find the High Value Women amidst artists and share their stories or views. Like Sinead did here.

    1. Liana, I’m sure Sinead would say the same thing to other performers, but she didn’t feel her comments were invited. So she took this opportunity to share her thoughts with Miley because Miley looks up to her. Hopefully the other women will listen, too. Just because an opportunity opens up to speak to one person doesn’t mean she is being judged more harshly — especially when Sinead is warning more than judging.

      1. Just to make sureI’m not missunderstood, when I said we should look at other High Value Women artist and hear teir opinions I wasn’t referring to their oppinions on the same case. I meant (but didn’t put it into words that precisely) their oppinions on self – expression, self – development and taking your place in society by choosing with thought, feeling and care. So, women that others could look up to and forward to. I think Matt started something of the sort when he made the video on what he woukd tell his teen self. Perhaps something could come out of it, meaning a sequel ;-) (I’m sure something worthwhile did come out of it already)
        p.s.: sorry for any typos, English isn’t my native language
        p.p.s.: who here implied that 30 might not be so young? I feel great! and I think so did she who wrote it.

  11. I think the letter Sinead wrote is spot on, very kind and thruthfull. She’s right on all the points, also in posting it online.. I think Sinead did this not to humilate Miley publicly, but more so that other girls could see how wrong this way of lessening oneself is and perhaps to get the press of her back. In the beginning I also had the idea that Miley wanted to shake off the good girl image, something what lots of girls and guys seem to do these days. Got me thinking what is wrong with morals and being good in this age? speaking like that I might sound old lol, I’m not.. well, I like to think I’m not as Im in my 30’s. Anyways I think it’s a growing common believe that being good is a bad thing, and being ‘loose’and promiscuous is more sought or wanted by the community… this is a disturbing development. I think it’s refreshing that Miley isn’t trashed a bit in this post you made Matt. Can’t help but feeling sad for the road that Miley has chosen for herself and where she is headed now, hope she will follow Sinead’s advice and gets back on track.

    1. You’re so right, Ramona. Virtue and especially chastity are considered ridiculous these days. That’s one reason I like Matt’s blog so much — he encourages women to have higher standards. (Although in his book he assumes that women are just waiting for the soonest chance to sleep with a guy without appearing slutty.)

  12. The letter speaks so much truth. I am glad you shared this, Matt. I saw that Miley tweeted something kind of rude about the letter, as if the message blew right over her head. I do hope that in time Miley will figure it out and listen to this great advice that was given to her, because she is talented and deserves to be respected. Definitely a great message for all women, especially those who are around my (and Miley’s) age.

  13. I think Amanda Palmer expresses her opinion on the matter very well. It’s a fine line a woman nowadays has to walk -often damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I think it all just comes down to being true to yourself, while taking some care in knowing how your actions will reflect on you. People judge – it’s just reality. If she really doesn’t care what people say, then more power to her.

    http://musicfeeds.com.au/news/amanda-palmer-weighs-in-on-sinead-miley-beef/

  14. hello Mathew
    i liked that she explained everything that needed to be cleared up for that young girl , they convinced her that the only way to get rid of Hanna s image is by getting naked which eventually will get her to rehab taking all of her self worth and value. BUT i did not like her advice ( your body is for you and your boyfriend ) i don t think that a high value women would give herself to her boyfriend i mean u could get 10 boyfriends and give yourself to them it s like prostitution but with a better name tag … although her knowledge of the music industry was helpful she could n t convince anyone because i felt she was lost in the matter as well and who would listen to a confused 47 year old women :P

  15. I do like O’Connor’s advise minus the telling her what to do. I believe by taking time writing that letter shows that she does care and sharing her first hand experience is valuable, however the judgemental part could be left out. Miley has no obligation to follow or not, at least other girls have another perspective to consider before blindly following.
    Though Miley does not have an official obligation or responsibility to influence others, she still does have quite an impact.
    For me, we are all sinners. Like the bible says, let the person without sin throw the stone first. We all make mistakes. Lets forgive and support her to live a better life.
    :)

    1. I don’t think there was anything wrong with Sinead telling her what to do. The Bible is full of chapters telling us what to do. And it was a very non-judgemental letter.

  16. I have to agree 100%. As a young girl I was molested by family members, guilted into giving them what they were asking for. Then as a young woman my first sexual experiences was in a drunken stupor from being given too much to drink by said individual that took my virginity and then later date raped me. Since a very young age, for I believe these reasons, I had a victim’s mentality when it came to sex…I tried to gain a healthy view when it came to sex, but for whatever reason I felt almost obligated to have sex if I were going to have a man eventually fall in love with me. Therefor play up the sexy etc. But now having gone through a ton of soul searching and growing I finally got it!

    I recently took a trip to Ireland by myself and when I was in a pub a gentleman was chatting me up, offering marriage, to walk me back to my hotel etc…now I know for some this is a fantasy a chance encounter and to use his words “sex is something to be shared and enjoyed by two individuals” I agree. But when he asked to take me to my hotel room I said no. He asked why and I responded after thinking about it “because it is my choice” For the first time it dawned on me sad to say that it is always my choice for myself. And no matter how I am approached I need to think for myself is this what I want? Is he a man I want to share my body with? Does he meet my standards? Not what does he want?

    There are a multitude of ways that woman get the wrong message about sex. I am a sexual being I do enjoy sex. The only times that I didn’t is when I didn’t listen and stand up for myself, and did it just to please the other person. I think that a strong, sure, confident woman in a pair of sweats is 10 times sexier than a woman in a teddy.. :)

    I believe by becoming this woman we then are able to show a man how to be a proper man…and let him shine as well :)

      1. I’m glad to hear that :)I know it is a little off base from the music industry etc. but i think it all plays into it. We as women have quite the road to travel when it comes to sex and ourselves, and understanding our value. :)

    1. Dear Allison,
      You are such a brave woman! Although I don’t know you, I’m proud that you became such a wise woman although all the things you’ve been through.

      I wish you all the best and that GOD provides all the good things you want and deserve.

      With love from Brazil,
      Dayse =]

    2. Thank you for sharing these personal things. I hope you find a man soon you could really trust and share your life with.

  17. Proverbs 31:10 is about the High-Value Woman…

    “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

    Rare gemstone :)

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