Oppression of Celebrity Relationships

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Miley Cyrus a well-known singer and songwriter recently got married to her now husband Liam Hemsworth. Miley expresses about her queer identity and that after her home was torched in flames from the fires in Malibu, Liam and Miley decided to make their union official. Miley said, “the reason that people get married sometimes can be old-fashioned, but I think the reason we got married isn’t old-fashioned — I actually think it’s kind of New Age, we’re redefining… what it looks like for someone that’s a queer person like myself to be in a hetero relationship”(FitzPatrick 2019).

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She continues to say, “A big part of my pride and my identity is being a queer person. What I preach is: People fall in love with people, not gender, not looks, not whatever. What I’m in love with exists on almost a spiritual level. It has nothing to do with sexuality”(FitzPatrick 2019). She believes that people should marry for love and it shouldn’t matter the gender of the person, their looks or their sexuality. Miley is a public figure and she finds it extremely difficult to be a queer celebrity marrying a straight man. I chose this article because I think it’s interesting that Miley feels so strongly about oppression even as a celebrity and it’s interesting to see how oppression can really affect anyone.

The Webster says to oppress is “to lie heavy on, to weigh down, to exercise harsh dominion over” (Bartky 1990). Oppression has an overlying effect, it is double binding or enclosing meaning there is a limitation of options to options that all expose one to penalty, censure, or limitation. Stereotyping is a type of oppression. A stereotype is a fixed or general pattern, specifically “a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment” (Webster Dictionary). Stereotypes weigh people down technically because the standards of the world pressure those to feel that they need to act a specific way. Sandra Lee Bartky wrote in Femininity and Domination, “it is hard enough for me to determine what sort of person I am or ought to try to become without being shadowed by an alternate self, a truncated and inferior self that I have, in some sense, been doomed to be all the time” (Bartky 1990). Bartky explains that finding who you are as a person is hard enough never mind adding the social pressures of the expectations of a woman. Women feel as stereotypes undermine their ability to make an authentic choice of themselves. Miley Cyrus is oppressed by the binding of her relationship with a cis man and her identity as a queer female.

Specifically, in Miley Cyrus’ case, Miley is a white queer female celebrity who chose to marry a cis male. Miley defies the stereotype of being queer when she married Liam Hemsworth. When defining what queer actually means there are a couple of different ways to describe this word. The Webster Dictionary defines it as differing in some odd way from what is usual or normal or sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Miley disproves one aspect of this definition and marries into a heterosexual relationship. The stereotype that Miley defies is the idea that all queer people marry members of the same sex. Someone who identifies as queer stereotypically marries the same sex. To reiterate, Miley believed that people fall in love with the person, not with their gender, their physical appearance or sexuality. Miley is oppressed because she chose to marry a cis male. Miley said, “I felt like my previous experiences as a queer-identifying woman were getting erased. I wondered whether it possible to continue identifying as queer, even within my relationship, which felt very heterosexual in nature. At the time, the answer seemed like a clear, hard no. And as such, I felt an incredible sense of loss” (Kassel 2019).

Miley feels as if her identity and her relationship do not align with the social norms. She feels that she is at a loss and this is because she felt like she couldn’t be queer in a heterosexual relationship. She feels oppressed by the social norms and doesn’t think that she could continue to identify in these ways. Being a celebrity, Miley has a lot of viewers that can have oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment towards her relationship and her identity. Miley doesn’t seem to worry about people and how people stereotype her though, and I believe that’s because she values individualism. Miley is challenged by her mind because of the stigmas from society and instead of hiding Miley chooses to embrace herself and shows the world who she really is. Miley really defies oppression and that shows how she benefits from her strong views of individualism. Cyrus’ marriage with Liam has not changed her in anyway and that’s where Miley is proving that it is ok to be who you want to be.

Miley continues to express her identity on social media and in interview with Vanity Fair. There is a lot of power coming from Miley when she expresses her queer identity and her queerness in a straight relationship. This will allow others to understand that it is ok to be who you want to be as a person. Miley is starting a movement to show her fans and those of the LGBTQ community that is ok to not follow the norms and be yourself. She believes her relationship and marriage is a way that Miley can change how people express themselves. She also wants people to see her marriage and change how they view love, gender and identity. Miley is a huge supporter of the LGBTQ and she uses her experiences to share her story. She has upheld that relationships do not have to include specific genders or physical appearances, but they are based upon who they are as a person and how they act mentally and emotionally. At the end of the day, people should identify as they want too, and should not feel pressured by outsiders to love or be in a relationship with one specific characteristic of a person.

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Oppression of Celebrity Relationships. (2021, Jun 17). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/oppression-of-celebrity-relationships/