I’d rather watch a dancing bear
By Aidan Mouellic, Staff Writer
Unless you’ve been living in the Northwest Territories, you’ve likely heard about what Miley Cyrus has been up to lately. Instead of going in-depth, I’ll quickly summarize the past few years of her life: teen pop star and Disney Channel actress, Cyrus, has become an adult and is doing everything she can to show everyone how adult she is by wearing as little clothing as possible and singing about mature topics like drugs and sex.
While Ms. Cyrus is transforming into her new role as a sex symbol, the media and mothers across America are crying foul at the singer’s raunchy antics. I can understand why they might find it distressing, but I have no problem with how she dresses, how her music sounds, or how she poses in photographs.
But I draw the line at insulting the mentally ill, and that’s exactly what Cyrus did this past week. In a highly publicized back and forth Internet battle, Cyrus and Irish singer Sinead O’Connor exchanged words on Twitter and through open letters published on media sites. Neither party displayed much class during the exchanges, but Cyrus crossed the line when she stated in a tweet that “Before Amanda Bynes… There was…,” attaching a screenshot of a series of tweets made by O’Connor two years earlier, seeking assistance for her own mental health troubles.
Cyrus blatantly used O’Connor and Bynes’ mental illnesses as a means to attack both of them; an act that’s awful and hurtful to everyone who has suffered with a mental illness. I thought Cyrus was better than that. I thought that an artist who has supported other disenfranchised groups would know better than to belittle and make fun of a serious issue.
Before this incident I was not a huge Cyrus fan, but I acknowledged her musical talent and defended her when I heard people unjustifiably dissing her. She’s doing her own thing and not letting the industry boss her around too much, which is admirable—but I can no longer support her or defend her actions. She’s gone too far.
The media was quick to cover the story of her spat with O’Connor and it got wide coverage, but the coverage of Cyrus’ extremely inappropriate tweet in regards to O’Connor’s mental illness hasn’t gotten as much notice. Cyrus’ tweet and the media’s lack of a reaction is a sign that the stigma towards mental disorders is still alive and well. If Cyrus tweeted that O’Connor’s hairstyle makes her look like a dying cancer patient or if Cyrus made fun of AIDS patients, I doubt the public or the media would ever let her forget that. But when she makes fun of O’Connor and Bynes for seeking psychiatric treatment, that’s apparently no biggie.
I really hope Cyrus makes a formal apology and realizes how wrong her comments towards O’Connor and all psychiatric patients were. Cyrus is a talented, beautiful, and daring artist with international stardom. I just hope that she becomes more aware of how damaging comments from someone of her stature can be.