Of course, it didn’t start that way–this feud, I mean. It began with Miley expressing admiration for O’Connor, so much so that she claims the video for her song, Wrecking Ball, was inspired by the iconic video for O’Connor’s cover of the Prince classic, Nothing Compares 2 U. Here’s O’Connor’s video:
For the sake of comparison, here is Miley’s. Fair warning, you may not really want to see this:
I know, it’s sad. Miley is trying so hard, too hard. How will she ever be able to follow this up? Don’t answer that. The only elements I could find that the two clips have in common are as follows: close up, tear, semi-shaved heads and, of course, the Doc Martin-esque boots. Thereafter, two roads diverged in the woods.
After being asked for a response to Miley’s tribute, O’Connor wrote an open letter to Cyrus on her blog.
It’s actually a nice letter with some great pieces of advice. Miley promptly threw a little hissy fit. She put pictures of Sinead O’Connor on her Twitter page from two of Sinead’s lowest points in the artist’s life. The first, when she ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II on SNL, and the second was just prior to Sinead seeking professional help in a mental health facility.
Making fun of someone’s mental health is really hitting below the belt.
The letter that infuriated Miley so much said Miley was a talented artist who didn’t need to play the sex card. It warned that the music industry would chew her up and spit her out, not to make the music better, not in Miley’s interests, only for the sake of the almighty dollar. O’Connor recommended that Miley find people with her best interests at heart and fire anyone else. I’ve included the text of the letter in the bottom of this blog or you can go to Sinead’s website.
The war of words has been escalating. I think O’Connor is on her fourth letter now as I type this entry.
Sinead O’Connor is right. Miley’s song isn’t actually bad. It didn’t need the nudity, the licking of the sledgehammer, or any of the other disturbing elements included in her video. These elements add nothing to the quality of the music and they detract from the possibly poetic message the song could have sent. For me, instead of giving her a more adult image, I saw a little girl being exploited. Sinead’s advice to Miley was to let the music speak. Everything else is just noise.
A woman should be never ashamed of her body and she should be comfortable with her own beauty. That said, we live in a society where women and men are still faced with double standards as to how to market themselves. You don’t see that ass, Robin Thicke, stripped and licking tools. No, he has naked female extras in his Blurred Lines video. (Don’t get me started on that guy- his song, in my view, is nothing more than an exhortation to date rape.) Some women use their sexuality to advance and control their careers. Madonna and Cher spring to mind as two who have successfully navigated these murky waters, but they are the exception.
We as women are more than the sexual pleasure that we provide men.
For this week’s song, I chose one with true artistry and raw vulnerability. Please check out Sinead O’Connor’s Troy from the Pinkpop Festival in 1988. She had just given birth to her daughter (that’s a onesie the mother of four is wearing around her waist).
Mylie- this is how you rock those boots.
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 ogling 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 prey for animals and less than animals, a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and it’s 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.
As posted on www.sineadoconnor.com