10 Times Miley Cyrus Dropped Amazing Truth Bombs About Sexuality

August 19th 2015

Miley Cyrus is hosting MTV's Video Music Awards (VMAs) at the end of the month. The VMA stage is not a new arena for the 22-year-old pop star, as she made headlines for twerking and putting on a raunchy show with Robin Thicke at the ceremony in 2013. Though Cyrus had slowly been breaking away from her Disney sweetheart reputation prior to the 2013 VMAs, the performance solidified Cyrus' shift to an image that worked better for her.

Cyrus is living her truth now through various interviews, activism, and social media campaigns and posts. However, it hasn't been an easy road: her engagement to actor Liam Hemsworth ended shortly after the 2013 VMAs, and she recently recalled experiencing serious body dysmorphia during her years on "Hannah Montana." Despite these setbacks and constantly facing backlash from Internet trolls, Cyrus, a proud feminist remains an unstoppable force in her industry and beyond. Here are some of her most empowering moments.

1. When she called out Disney for giving her body image issues

"Hannah Montana" may have been a popular show beloved by children all over, but Cyrus says she was suffering and pressured to fit a certain mold throughout production of the series. When "Hannah Montanta" ended, she struggled to understand her identity, as the program was so all-consuming.

"From the time I was 11, it was, 'You're a pop star! That means you have to be blonde, and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some glittery tight thing,'" she told Marie Claire in a recent interview. "Meanwhile, I'm this fragile little girl playing a 16-year-old in a wig and a ton of makeup ... I was told for so long what a girl is supposed to be from being on that show. I was made to look like someone that I wasn't, 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?"

Earlier this year, she told TIME magazine that "Hannah Montana" wouldn't allow her to have braces despite the fact that regular people her age wore them. If she could go back, she'd tell them off.

“I had to take them off immediately because of the way I looked," she said. “If I was me now, I would have been like, ‘F— you. Normal 14-year-olds have braces. I’m going to have braces on the show, so kids who have braces in real life know that’s okay.’ But I didn’t have that in my mind then. I was coming from Nashville. My grandma’s a beauty queen. I didn’t know."

Cyrus gets to dress and appear the way she pleases now, though. Earlier this year, she received attention online for flaunting long armpit hair in an Instagram photo:

2. When she blasted unrealistic depictions of women in media

During the same interview with Marie Claire, Cyrus said Photoshopped images can be damaging to one's self-esteem, adding that it's unfortunate when some races are seemingly whitewashed in magazines.

"When you look at retouched, perfect photos, you feel like shit," she said. "They lighten [B]lack girls' skin. They smooth out wrinkles. 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."

3. When she spoke candidly about gender

Speaking to Paper Magazine this year, she said she doesn't identify as female or male.

"I don't relate to being boy or girl, and I don't have to have my partner relate to boy or girl," Cyrus said.

This came around the time Caitlyn Jenner graced the cover of Vanity Fair and helped start a nationwide conversation about gender fluidity and identities and the gender spectrum.

4. When she spoke candidly about her sexuality

Also during her Paper Magazine interview, Cyrus said she has dated both men and women but that her relationships with women weren't covered by the press as heavily as her relationships with men.

"I've had [serious relationships with women], [b]ut people never really looked at it, and I never brought it into the spotlight," she said.

Cyrus added that she told her mother at age 14 that she was attracted to females. Though her mom was initially hesitant to hear this, she ultimately accepted her daughter.

"I remember telling her I admire women in a different way," she said. "And she asked me what that meant. And I said, I love them. I love them like I love boys. And it was so hard for her to understand. She didn't want me to be judged and she didn't want me to go to hell. But she believes in me more than she believes in any god. I just asked for her to accept me. And she has."

After Cyrus cut off her hair three years ago, openly bisexual actress Evan Rachael Wood tweeted that she thought Cyrus was gay. Wood received ample backlash on the Internet for this comment.

Wood then went on to clarify on Twitter:

"I myself am bisexual and have always 'joked' about miley giving me gay vibes. Not a bad thing! Just an observation. So i 'joked' when she cut her hair that it supported my case. But, i am not so close minded or into stereotypes or labeling. It was a joke. Period. could care less what gender she was attracted to. But dont hate me for supporting her in whatever She chooses. Its all fine by me. That is all."

Cyrus responded to Wood by tweeting "well said ... lets be friends."

5. When she cheered on Caitlyn Jenner for telling her own story

Cyrus told Marie Claire that she's pals with Jenner, who famously transitioned from male to female this year and went on to star in her own reality series "I Am Cait" to increase awareness of trans issues. Jenner made news this week because of the latest installment of "I Am Cait," in which ex-wife Kris Jenner said Jenner abandoned their family.

"We've talked a lot about how you can never make every single person happy," Cyrus told the publication of her interactions with Jenner. "We always laugh about people saying she transitioned to be famous. Which is crazy. Caitlyn has to tell her story, because if she doesn't, everyone else is going to tell it for her."

After Jenner's magazine debut, Cyrus praised her with an Instagram reimagination of the Vanity Fair cover:


6. When she called out sexism in the entertainment industry

After cutting off all her hair in 2012, Cyrus released a single called "We Can't Stop," which sparked controversy due to her apparent reference to the drug Molly. Speaking to Marie Claire, Cyrus said that it's absurd that she was vilified for singing about drugs while male rappers do the same thing without receiving any negative feedback.

"There is so much sexism, ageism, you name it," she told the magazine. "Kendrick Lamar sings about LSD and he's cool. I do it and I'm a druggie whore."

Cyrus also took issue with singer Taylor Swift's music video for "Bad Blood," which is about a turbulent end of a friendship. Unlike Cyrus, Swift hasn't said farewell to her squeaky clean image (or been consequently shamed for it), and in the "Bad Blood" video, she takes on her frenemy with the help of many female A-list celebrities. Cyrus said the video doesn't send a good message and that it's unfair that she has been slut-shamed for posing sexually in the past while Swift gets away with promoting violence in entertainment.

"I don't get the violence revenge thing," Cyrus said. "That's supposed to be a good example? And I'm a bad role model because I'm running around with my titties out? I'm not sure how titties are worse than guns."

7. When she supported the #FreeTheNipple movement

Last year, Cyrus posted a topless photo on Instagram to highlight the platform's hypocrisy in removing photos of female nipples but not male ones. As she expected, the platform removed the photo, but she went on to post other subtle photos of her nipple on Instagram later on down the road:


8. Launching #InstaPride

Caitlyn Jenner isn't the only member of the LGBT community that Cyrus is cheering on when it comes to fluidity in both gender and sexuality. Earlier this summer Cyrus launched the an Instagram campaign called #InstaPride, which "supports and amplifies the voices of transgender and gender queer people," according to GLAAD.

The participants were interviewed about their experiences with gender, and excepts from the interviews are included in the captions.

Cyrus also shared a photo of a young individual named Leo who participated in the movement:

9. Her foundation, the Happy Hippie Foundation

In May of this year, Cyrus made headlines for something other than acting and music: the 22-year-old star launched a foundation for homeless and LGBT youth. The Happy Hippie Foundation has already started making an impact in Los Angeles. Cyrus first got involved with this issue, brining homeless youth Jesse Helt to the VMAs as her date in 2014.

10. Embracing feminism

There was a lot of discussion about Miley Cyrus and feminism—and even an open letter from singer Sinead O'Connor—following her now infamous VMA performance and the release of her video for "Wrecking Ball," where she appeared naked.

Since then, Cyrus has staked out her feelings on female empowerment and feminism. "There’s a lot of talk about feminism," Miley said to the Australian outlet Sunday Style earlier this year. "People want to take that word and make it a bad thing, but it’s the greatest thing ever! Of course you’re a feminist, you know?"

She also told Time earlier this year discussing how feminism has helped her.

“It has a lot to do with being a feminist, but I’m finally O.K. with being alone,” Cyrus told Time. “I think that’s something we have to talk about more: that you can be alone.”

“There are times in my life where I’ve had boyfriends or girlfriends," she continued, according to Time. "And there are times where I just love being with myself and don’t want to give part of myself away to someone else … I think that’s a new freedom for women, especially. I don’t know that my mother would have been able to be 22 and secure in being alone. But my future doesn’t rely on having a partner."

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