In 1987 my mom’s friend gave me Sinead’s Lion And The Cobra on cassette, “I hate this. You want it?” The music on that cassette was extreme and intense and exactly the kind of female image I needed to be empowered with. As a loner who was fed via books, music and TV, I am thankful that before my first period, I learned that we all have to be a warrior.
I’m quite sure Miley knows all of this already, but it was great of Sinead to write it, because it’s true.
OPEN LETTER TO MILEY CYRUS
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 oggling 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 pray [sic] for animals and less than animals (a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and the 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.
Guys. I opened my account on Vine to post funny TV clips. You know that everyone is going to be using this app for the exact same thing within a year? Everyone. Okay, maybe not everyone… but lazy funny people for sure. I’m a trend forecaster basically. Everyone bring me the money.
So I just read the first review of my book, and you’d think since it was balanced and positive I’d be elated… but I’m actually terrified. That’s right. It’s real.
This isn’t just something I’ve been solidly writing for a year and a half as I wrote and sold screenplays (on the side, you know)… it’s a real, living thing and it’s going to be available to ALL WORKING EYES AND EARS very, very soon. The thought of this launch is making me sweat. I’m waiting for a large order from Kiehl’s to arrive and the deodorant could not come sooner. Will I pass out during my morning show appearances? Probs. I really hope it just sells more books.
I’m as sad as you are (much, much more sad) about the cover not being available yet.
Here’s an early review:
On Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford
It’s a good thing Oxford won me early, with her big-spectacle-magnified, cartoon eyes and her precocious, naive sensibility. Else I might not have been able to stick with her as the vicissitudes of life cured her in fairly short order of a predilection for telling the truth. Sure, I enjoyed the cognitive dissonance of knowing more than she did when, at seven, she came across potsmoking and just thought of it as “not smoke, but something like smoke,” but when the author threw a masturbating monkey and a stolen, potentially loaded pistol in with her seven-year-old self for good measure, cute gave way to dismaying and I might have hit a comfort wall right there and bowed out – if it weren’t, as I say, for having been conned into caring about her right from the start.
I wind up glad I’ve stuck around when, at fourteen, like the insufferable yet irresistible Augusten Burroughs, the girl has her run in with modeling, and the author really hits her stride. Oxford the teen sheds her glasses like her childhood innocence, and the lying begins. She’s one of ours at this point, though, and doing us proud. Only our Oxford could claim a nonexistent bladder condition while she pees her pants in public and have the presence of mind to gurgle “stommm-ach fluuuuuuu” while in the process of puking on a bicycling Chinese man. These foul feats aside, some interesting writing emerges amid the coming-of-age drama, concerning what it means to be oneself, or to feel one cannot be.
By now, roughly a third of the way into the book, it is to be suspected that Oxford has sloughed off those readers who don’t have the stomach to hang, and has effectively desensitized the remaining audience to the disgusting. As such, we can only chuckle predictably as porn enters the picture. Without getting into any of the cheap-shot details, let’s say the higher grade humor arises from where Oxford’s sympathies lie. In this, as in other parts of the book, she sides with the antihero, the perp, and does so in an endearing timbre which does not feel feigned. But of course we’re aware we can’t really trust her. We’re on our own in sorting morality out of this fine mess. Celebrities and drugs, roadtrips and more drugs, all very madcap and sordid, and then what Oxford’s calls her ‘terrible horrible’ – a scam most despicable to be sure… And which structurally serves as a turning point in the book – a last childish act of her own before she meets the man who will father her children…
As Oxford begins to write about her adulthood, it is clear that she’s making difficult choices about where to allow herself to linger. She gives over twenty pages to her stint as a personal assistant to a TV producer, but a mere single page to acing her coursework in technical college as a young mother (lots of fertile ground left fallow there). Then we see why: she had to leave room for her on-the-job experiences working with head injury cases and the elderly. These are emotionally genuine, deeply moving passages of the book. So much so that we almost wonder whether we’re reading the same story. Where are the cutting quips? The lies? It would appear that Oxford the woman may have regained some truthfulness. Ultimately, though, the sense that arises is one of range. Like a vocal artist who can hit high and swing low, here is an author who can made us coo as well as cringe, and a person who harbors real compassion above and beyond her piercing wit.
Lest we become lulled into a false sense of security by her more earnest writing, Oxford proceeds directly to giving herself an enema, talking about her adorable, shitty kids some, and exercising vigorously preparatory to what seems to be set up as the book’s grand flourish – meeting David Copperfield. The encounter speaks well to Oxford’s having arrived as a celeb. Sharing the stage with D.C. is powerfully rendered, with bladder-bursting suspense, and the narrative gives way afterward to some real Vegas grotesque behavior, but this chapter does not in my overall view deliver the knockout punch it might, which leaves me feeling as the book draws to a close (in Disneyland), that Oxford has won by keeping her gloves up and her feet moving the whole twelve rounds. T.K.O.