From A Fellow 20-Something: Why Miley Cyrus' New Video Matters


The building backlash against Miley Cyrus' newest single "We Can't Stop" is about to explode now that she's released the accompanying music video. The 20-year-old has twerked off whatever Disney chains have bound her and is proving that her 2010 single "Can't Be Tamed" wasn't just a middle finger to her first employers, but a lifestyle. And, frankly, it's a great thing.
I happen to love Cyrus's evolution. Who's to say a celebrity kid can't go through the rebellious, punk phase, experiment with alcohol, their sexuality, and maybe dabble with drugs? She's growing up and into herself. Not to mention, it just so happens that she's in the spotlight. "We Can't Stop" is, at its core, a track about youth. It's the "Fight For Your Right" of the millennial generation. We have no problem with the party theme of the track. Its hypnotic bass womp captures both what's happening in music right now and the weird, in-between feeling that comes with being young today. You want there to be a huge build and drop, but it never comes; it just rolls on until it stops. To be honest, if Miley wasn't talking about drinking and experimenting with drugs, I'd start to think she was a robot. Youth is about discovering yourself and making mistakes, but it's also about gaining the maturity to own up to your low points and learning what's good for you and what's not. She hasn't gained that maturity yet, but we're witnessing her grow into it. At the same time, she's more in control of her life than ever. As long as she maintains that sense of self and doesn't become another celebrity rehab case, she'll be fine.
There will be nights where you go too hard, maybe kiss the wrong person, and watch the sun rise. This music video captures just that. I know there will be protesters who will play the role-model card and say she shouldn't be flaunting her sexuality and party antics. Why shouldn't she, though? I think she's more of a role model now than she's ever been. Having a perfect, never-do-bad role model is intimidating; it's an unreachable goal. I personally look up to people who have screwed up, lived a little, and aren't ashamed of it. I respect and look up to people who look back on their youth proudly, who aren't perfect, and are better people because of that.
"We Can't Stop" is an over-the-top, rose-colored look into what it means to be a young person today. Being only a few years older than Miley, I understand where she's coming from and where she's going. Is it weird seeing Hannah Montana wearing a strategically tucked T-shirt and getting her butt spanked? Yeah, but that's seeing this video through the Disney lens. It's looking at her in hindsight rather than looking at who she is in this very moment: a 20-year-old girl discovering herself, challenging the box we believe she should be put in by constructing her own. She's made it loud and clear that she's not going to stop, and I don't think she should.
Photo: Courtesy of VEVO.

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