Words to live by, basically.
If you’d told me 23 years ago when I was busy worshipping the single, beguiling tear streaming down Saint Sinead O’Connor‘s face that one day she’d be embroiled in a weird war of words with Miley Cyrus regarding stripping and twerking, I would’ve been like:
1.) Dude, Miley Cyrus isn’t going to be born for another two years.
2.) What’s Twitter?
3.) What’s Twerking?
4.) Why are you bothering me with this s*** when I’m trying to VCR tape “Family Matters”?
But the Sinead/Miley open letter/ Twitter beef has been fertile ground for some interesting, intelligent discussion about women in music and the support and/or, of course, criticism women draw when they willingly take their clothes off, willingly pen open letters to each other, and become the target of supposition, ire, and general #SMDHisms.
“It’s like a game of cosmic dress-up, but the stakes are high. If we’re allowed to play it, we’re empowered. If we’re not, we’re still in a cage… I want to live in a world where the internal dialogue of a woman’s brain has evolved to the point where a female performer can wear a sex-pot outfit and, instead of the all-too-common head-chatter chorus of “UNFAIR! MANIPULATED! WEAK! MANIPULATIVE! EVIL!”, she dons her sexy costume and hears internal voices screaming “FAIR! POWERFUL! PLAYFUL! BRAVE! SEXY!” You know…you go girl. But not “you go girl and be manipulated by the man, or manipulate the men in your wake”. just… “you go girl and wear whatever the f*ck you want. And play smart… Let’s give our young women the right weapons to fight with as they charge naked into battle, instead of ordering them to get back in the house and put some goddamn clothes on.”
And the always brilliant Sia pretty much gave a feminism 101 lecture with one earnest, succinct tweet, which I may needlepoint and make into a throw pillow for my couch.
I truly believe that feminism is being nice to other women, and allowing them to express themselves however they choose, without criticism.
— sia furler (@Sia) October 5, 2013
To add to the dialogue, MTV News did me a solid and asked Paramore’s Hayley Williams, one of my favorite, smartest (I’m smart enough to know it’s “smartest,” not “most smartest”) young women in music to give us her take on the Miley/Sinead conversation. Unsurprisingly, she nailed it with the insight for which she’s known. (See: Hayley’s intelligent, fair reaction to the racial connotations of Miley’s VMA performance.)
“You just can’t tell anyone what’s right for their life. That’s how I feel about it,” Hayley told MTV News last night in L.A. at the launch of Hard Rock Cafe’s 2013 PINKTOBER breast cancer awareness campaign.
“Right now for women in music it’s a crazy time because young girls are learning to use their voices and be exactly who they are and be brave about it and then as soon as someone does it everyone sorta attacks them for it… I did like Sinead’s letter in a sense that I believe she was coming from a real place, but now there’s like 15,000 open letters right now!.. If you really care about someone and you’re concerned, go to them because it’s just going to come across as passive aggressive on Twitter.”
Watch Hayley Williams discuss the Miley Cyrus/ Sinead O’Connor feud after the jump.
“I couldn’t do the stuff Miley’s doing, but if she feels empowered to do that and she feels like it’s her and it’s genuine to her, then more power to her,” Hayley added. “Everyone’s gotta make their own way.”