Miley Cyrus Has a Powerful Message Against Society's Beauty Standards

Source: AP
Source: AP

Miley Cyrus has come a long way since her Hannah Montana Disney days. She has transformed from Disney's model of preteen perfection into a tongue-wagging, weed-smoking rock star shockingly comfortable with her sexuality. 

But one of these personas was extremely toxic. And it's not the one with the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.

In a new interview with Marie Claire, Miley Cyrus revealed that having to live up to Disney-prescribed standards of beauty contributed to a sense of body dysmorphia — a disorder in which individuals experience tremendous difficulty seeing past their perceived physical flaws.

"When you look at retouched, perfect photos, you feel like shit. They lighten black girls' skin. They smooth out wrinkles," Cyrus told Marie Claire. "Even when I get stuck on Instagram wondering, 'Why don't I look like that?' It's a total bummer. It's crazy what people have decided we're all supposed to be."

These realizations hit Cyrus hard, most dramatically when she would examine the touched-ups pictures Disney crafted of her. "I was made to look like someone that I wasn't," she said, "which probably caused some body dysmorphia because I had been made pretty every day for so long, and then when I wasn't on that show, it was like, 'Who the fuck am I?'"

Source: Tumblr

Thankfully, she seems to have figured it out now. She's created new goals for herself, and is attempting to avoid being in that kind of spotlight again. "I'm probably never going to be the face of a traditional beauty company unless they want a weed-smoking, liberal-ass freak," Cyrus told Marie Claire. "But my dream was never to sell lip gloss. My dream is to save the world."

Cyrus has mused on how impossible beauty standards are one of many reasons so many of us look down on ourselves, and she has made tremendous strides to correct this self-harming narrative. Cyrus works to empower people — especially young people — to accept themselves as they are. Her Happy Hippie Foundation has been having a major impact, providing on- and off-line resources for homeless and LGBT youth, and she's made massively generous traditional and untraditional donations to AIDS research. This how you change the game. Beauty standards be damned.

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Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes is a senior staff writer at Mic focused on music, activism and the intersection between the two. He's based in New York and can be reached at tom@mic.com.

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