Monday, 7 October 2013

Sinead O'Connor Vs Miley Cyrus: A Tale of Two Prejudices

Despite the large volume of media commentary on the public feud between Sinead O'Connor and Miley Cyrus, one element of the exchange between the two seems to have been overlooked.

Perhaps it never even occurred to most observers, but I do find it odd that while Miley Cyrus is rightly condemned for her idiotic mocking of Amanda Bynes's and Sinead O'Connor's mental health troubles, very few people have complained about the appallingly hateful language O'Connor used against sex workers in her open letters to Cyrus.

O'Connor's brand of feminism seems to view as harmful and immoral any displays of female sexuality outside of monogamous relationships behind closed doors. Thus, she demands that Cyrus "please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend." According to O'Connor, being a prostitute (or behaving like one) is "fucking stupid" and "anti-female". Indeed, Sinead warns Miley that she will "end up in rehab as a result." These sentiments are dripping with hate, but they seem much more genuine than O'Connor's self-professed admiration for Cyrus's "great records" and "obvious talent."

Thankfully our society is finally making efforts to reduce the stigma against those of us with mental illnesses. That is a good thing, and people like Miley Cyrus who try to use this stigma to win arguments deserve all the criticism they get. Sadly though, women who work in the sex industry are still utterly reviled in society - often by so-called feminists who claim to represent the entire female population. If it is wrong for Miley Cyrus to "mock and humiliate" the mentally ill, why is it right for Sinead O'Connor to subject the women in the world's oldest profession to what may be the world's oldest prejudice?

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