Sexualisation, or the queer feminist provocations of Miley Cyrus

McNicholas Smith, K. 2017. Sexualisation, or the queer feminist provocations of Miley Cyrus. Feminist Theory. 18 (3), pp. 281-298. doi:10.1177/1464700117721880

TitleSexualisation, or the queer feminist provocations of Miley Cyrus
TypeJournal article
AuthorsMcNicholas Smith, K.
Abstract

Miley Cyrus has increasingly occupied debates at the centre of feminist engagements with popular culture. Evoking concerns around young women and ‘sexualisation’, Cyrus emerges as a convergent signifier of sexualised media content and the girl-at-risk. As Cyrus is repeatedly invoked in these debates, she comes to function as the bad object of young femininity. Arguing, however, that Cyrus troubles the sexualisation thesis in the provocations of her creative practice, I suggest that this contested media figure exceeds the frames through which she is read. Thus, I ask: what kinds of insights might be possible if we were to transform the terms on which we approach this figure? Considering a selection of the images and performances that constitute the Cyrus archive, this article proposes a reading of Cyrus as performative provocation. Mobilising an existing sensibility of queer feminist struggle, Cyrus emerges as a disruptive, albeit contradictory, figure. Questions of privilege, limit and possibility emerge in this discussion, as well as what constitutes feminist struggle.

KeywordsDrag
femininity
feminist
Miley Cyrus
performance
popular culture
queer
sexualisation
JournalFeminist Theory
Journal citation18 (3), pp. 281-298
ISSN1464-7001
1741-2773
Year2017
PublisherSage
Accepted author manuscriptSexualisation, or the queer feminist provocations of Miley Cyrus FULL TEXT WITH REVISIONS.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/1464700117721880
Web address (URL)https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1464700117721880
Publication dates
Published in print01 Dec 2017
Published online28 Jul 2017

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