Miley Cyrus : an analysis of intersectional failures across sexuality, race and class
Lim, Ashley Li Jun
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
In the opening scene to the music video, “Party in the USA” (2009), American artist Miley Cyrus is characterised as a marginalised Southerner from Nashville, Tennessee. She arrives in Hollywood, California feeling homesick, nervous, and out-of-place with her worn-out leather boots. By the end of the song though, Cyrus’s “butterflies fly away” (Gottwald) after listening to her favourite songs by pop diva Britney Spears and hip-hop icon Jay-Z. The incorporation of these singers, who notably represent different racial and music groups, reasonably hails the song as an inclusive empowering anthem, celebrating American patriotism and its contemporary multiculturalism. Also, it presents Cyrus as a hip and open-minded worldly artist. However, although Cyrus sings about embracing ethnic assimilation, she ironically appropriates “white trash” and African-American cultures. My essay uses Cyrus’s intersectional failures across sexuality, race and class in her career trajectory as a case study of how postfeminist, post-racial rhetoric may nevertheless enable cultural appropriation.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University