We Need to Talk About Miley Cyrus Calling Herself the World's Biggest Feminist

We're conflicted about the provocative singer's latest attention-grabbing statement

This has been Miley Cyrus' big year, and her antics have been described in many ways. But "feminist?" That may be a new one. In an interview with BBC Radio, the "Wrecking Ball" singer declared that she is basically the ultimate feminist, because she's fearless and non-judgmental.

"I feel like I'm one of the biggest feminists in the world because I tell women to not be scared of anything," Cyrus said. "For me, it's not even that I'm a feminist. I'm for anybody. I'm for everybody, for everything. I don't care what you wanna do in your life, or who you wanna be with, who you wanna love, who you wanna look like."

Honestly, we're pretty conflicted about Miley calling herself a feminist. Should we be cheering, or booing, or just confused? Here's the argument we're having with ourselves.

FOR STARTERS, good on Miley for calling herself a feminist! Far too many successful women, including fellow pop stars Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, try to distance themselves from the (other) f-word. There's this widespread perception that being a feminist means you hate men, when in fact it literally means that men and women should have equal rights. We should all be feminists, starting with Miley.

AND YET isn't she kind of distancing herself from feminism with the second part of that quote? "It's not even that I'm feminist... I'm for everybody, for everything." Isn't standing for everything the same as standing for nothing? Does Miley actually care at all about women's rights?

BUT she has a point, in that she's doing her own thing and not worrying about what other people think. Isn't that exactly what feminists want -- for women to have the same freedom as men to create their own lives and careers?

YEAH, BUT what part of Miley's career is a step forward for women? She's not running for office. She's not writing op-eds about women's rights or singing about how we should all have access to birth control. Basically, she's turned her life into a three-dimensional Playboy centerfold with a really good soundtrack. Empowering women doesn't seem high on her priority list.

AND YET isn't that exactly what people used to say about Madonna when she was dancing between burning crosses in lingerie? And now she's considered an important feminist icon who helped bust taboos and gender stereotypes. Maybe we just need to give Miley a few more years, and we'll see that all of her twerking is part of a grand plan to install a female President or something.

EVEN SO, isn't it kind of unfortunate that Miley thinks feminism means running around naked and telling everyone she smokes weed?

BUT WAIT, who is anybody to say what "feminism" does or doesn't mean? Miley is in charge of her own career, she's making up the rules as she goes along, and she's wildly successful. Surely, there must be room in the definition of "feminism" for someone like Miley.

OKAY, FINE, but we're still not buying that she's "one of the world's biggest feminists." That title probably goes to someone like Hillary Clinton or Gloria Steinem or Kathleen Hanna or even Amy Poehler. On the big global list of all the feminists, Miley Cyrus probably ranks somewhere between Rachael Ray and that lady from the Progressive commercials.

Donna Kaufman is a freelance writer and iVillage contributor. Find her on Twitter and Google+

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