Pop star Miley Cyrus on Tuesday released a music video for her new single “Mother Daughter,” which she has called a “feminist anthem.”
The video’s explicit content is well in line with Cyrus’ oeuvre, which is often intended to shock and outrage.
“Mother Daughter” flashes between close-up crotch shots of Cyrus, glamorous nude appearances by a morbidly obese woman and provocative combinations of printed words, such as “Every woman is a riot” and “Virginity is a social construct.”
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times published Thursday, the video’s director, Frenchman Alexandre Moors, expounded on the artistic vision of the project. He said the video was conceptualized as a response to the anti-abortion legislation passed this year in several states.
“The video is about the woman’s body — the right to own your own body and make it free from the male gaze, in any way shape and form,” he said. “It’s a broad message, and we’re not trying to be dogmatic. But we’re living in difficult times in America, and what I get from this video is that it injects a lot of energy and determination and the right fuel for the struggle.”
Cyrus, 26, already took a public stand against the laws last month by tweeting out an image of herself licking a cake emblazoned with the words: “Abortion is healthcare.”
Moors also revealed that he and Cyrus were inspired by feminist groups such as Femen and Guerrilla Girls. Images of breastfeeding, C-sections and menstruation pads in the video were intended to break down taboos regarding the female body. Furthermore, Cyrus’ suggestive gyrating and crotch-rubbing demonstrated the artists’ advocacy for women’s rights.
“Even the right to be salacious without being judged, if you want to, is encompassed in [a woman’s] struggle,” Moors said. “If a man were in a video grabbing his crotch, nobody would make a second mention of it because it’s expected, and a woman is supposed to be shamed for expressing her sexuality. That’s just another component of the political messages that are in the video.”
Nor is feminism the only progressive doctrine represented over “Mother Daughter’s” 3 minute and 40 second runtime. Cyrus and Moors also nodded to the LGBT community by including Aaron Philip, a wheelchair bound model who in addition to being disabled is black and disabled.
Miley Cyrus and feminism
“Mother Daughter” is far from Cyrus’ first raunchy tribute to woke culture. Her rise from Disney Channel child star to pop queen was fueled by “sex-positive feminism,” which saw her pole dance at a teen awards show and swing naked on a wrecking ball.
However, Cyrus has sometimes struggled to walk the line between wokeness and “cultural appropriation.” Last month, she apologized for a longstanding criticism that she too easily adopted and then abandoned hip-hop music, only to return to the genre somewhat in her latest album, “She Is Coming,” on which “Mother Daughter” appears.
Meanwhile, despite getting married in December to actor Liam Hemsworth, a straight man, Cyrus has insisted that she remains “a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community.”
In 2015, she announced she is “pansexual” and “literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age.” And the following year, she said she is very “gender-neutral.”
Out of respect for Cyrus’ identity, the LGBTQ Nation website referred to her by third-person pronouns in its article about “Mother Daughter.” Never mind that she is the “daughter” in the song title and the “she” in the name of her album or that she routinely refers to herself as a woman.
According to Moors, he and Cyrus aren’t afraid to defy identity-politics orthodoxy, at least when it comes to hiring him.
He told the Times: “We also don’t want to fall into the trap of the political correctness of having to be obligated to have a female director for this.”
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