In a lot of ways, she brought the unwarranted media attention onto herself. She made the decision to strip to her underwear at the VMA’s and grind on Robin Thicke. She made the decision to ride a wrecking ball buck naked for a music video. She made the decision to wear a metallic harness on stage with a prosthetic penis attached. And so on, and so forth. So, before we get into the gist of this article, let us get the obvious out of the way: Miley Ray Cyrus is not a perfect human being. However, she is also a public figure, and with that comes a dangerous responsibility, motivating a certain kind of public scrutiny perceived as necessary and normal, permitting society to collectively judge a person that they’ve never even met, and Miley’s case is no exception.
Millions of little girls and boys fell in love with her. Her fellow disney contemporaries didn’t compare. For a person of her age, Miley’s level of fame was almost unheard of at the time. That kind of universal public scrutiny could have been potentially dangerous for anyone, let alone a thirteen year old girl. It was like if Britney had hit the big time while she was still singing show tunes at The Mickey Mouse Club. Miley was judged on a daily basis, she couldn’t lift a finger without causing a national controversy. In the beginning, it phased her. She apologized, time and time again, simply for being herself. She then warned us that she couldn’t be tamed, when in reality, was actually begging us to accept her; to just let her be.
But we still didn’t listen. We continued to disparage and judge her, slut-shaming her for wearing less clothing, criticizing her relationships, and condemning her for smoking a joint. So, finally, she turned the tables. We were suddenly pawns in her game. She took every parent’s fear, every woman’s judgement and every man’s sexist comment and turned herself into a pop culture monster. And, amid all the madness, people suddenly forgot that this “child-star gone wrong” is actually the most philanthropic celebrity of her generation, having been devotedly supporting charities for the past decade.
In 2007, Miley donated $1 from every ticket sold during her Best of Both Worlds tour to the City Of Hope charity, a non-for-profit clinical research center/hospital dedicated to preventing and curing cancer, and helped raise $4 million dollars for the foundation over the next few years. In 2009, she helped launch the ‘Get Your Good On’ initiative with Youth Service America, an organization that encourages kids to participate and support one another through volunteer projects where they get rewarded for being good citizens. In 2010, after the calamitous Haiti earthquake, she donated her Grammy dress to raise money, participated in a PSA and charity single, and personally flew to Haiti multiple times with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, helping distribute hundreds of hearing aids to deaf children affected without access to proper medical facilities.
In 2012, she lent a helping hand to Feeding America, an organization that aids people living in poverty, helping raise public awareness on domestic hunger in the United States. In 2015, she donated money to and became the face of Mac Viva Glam, a makeup line that donates all of its proceeds to research and aid towards those affected by HIV/Aids. And, after sending Jesse Helt, a homeless teen to the MTV VMA stage to accept the Video of the Year award on her behalf, she launched the Happy Hippie Foundation, an LGBTQ+ organization that provides support to young homeless people all over the world by providing emotional aid, food and clothing. The organization has since raised over 5 million dollars. That’s just a small fraction of what this woman has achieved. In addition to granting 150 wishes to the Make-a-wish foundation, Miley has been actively supporting over 40 charitable foundations since the age of thirteen, yet all the media writes about her is whether or not they think Liam Hemsworth is going to dump her again.
It wasn’t simply about shedding the Hannah Montana character for Miley– it was about freeing herself from the hold the public had on her. Think about it, if Taylor Swift commits one fraction of the antics Miley has pulled over the past few years, she would be burned at the Twitter stake. But Miley is immune now. You can’t touch her. Regardless, it was never her responsibility to raise your children — she was a child herself. You can’t expect to sit your son or daughter in front of Disney Channel and call it a day. It also isn’t Miley’s responsibility to be your role model, meet your gender-based criteria, shield her body from your eyes or filter her words to your liking. Just like you and me, she is a human being. Living her life, on a day-to-day basis. You could probably learn a lot about being a good person from the girl that you call an embarrassment.