CULTURE

Miley Cyrus Is Not a Queer Icon: Do Better

"I always thought I had to be gay, because I thought all guys were evil, but it's not true."

For those still celebrating Miley Cyrus as a queer icon, may we invite you to take a moment to reconsider.

Yes, she came out as pansexual and genderfluid in 2015, soon proving herself to be an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community by founding Happy Hippie foundation for homeless queer youth. Then, after ending her marriage to Liam Hemsworth, Cyrus briefly dated reality TV star Kaitlynn Carter before moving on to Cody Simpson, with whom she did an Instagram live on Sunday. Here's where things got...dicey, to say the least.

In the midst of the livestream, Cyrus stated, "There are good men out there, guys, don't give up. You don't have to be gay, there are good people with dicks out there, you've just got to find them," She said, while Simpson laughed. "You've got to find a dick that's not a dick, you know? I always thought I had to be gay, because I thought all guys were evil, but it's not true. There are good people out there that just happen to have dicks. I've only ever met one, and he's on this live."


Miley Cyrus: "You Don't Have To Be Gay"! | Perez Hilton www.youtube.com


Oof. Miley, honey, it's 2019! Twitter, of course, immediately popped the f*ck off.

Soon, Cyrus wielded a powerful, often misused celebrity weapon: the notes app apology.

So. There's a lot of toxicity to unpack here. Let's start with the easy part: Cyrus' implication that the only good man she has ever met is Cody Simpson. *Cue her father, brothers, and Liam Hemsworth giving the camera a long, Jim Halpert-esque look.* Misandry aside, Cyrus implied that 1.) Being queer is a choice. 2.) Dating men is always preferable to dating women, even if you're queer. 3.) Cyrus herself chose to date women because of a distrust for men, not necessarily an attraction to women. None of these things were addressed in her apology; in fact, she didn't even bother to claim that she misspoke or that it was meant as a joke. All she really did was re-enforce that men are sh*tty.

To be clear, for anyone still living in 1950, being queer is not a choice, dating within the LGBTQ+ community is not an exciting and temporary foray into counter-culture on your way to a heterosexual relationship, dating men as a bisexual/pansexual woman is not somehow inherently preferable to dating women, and you don't get to call yourself queer just because you find men annoying sometimes. Being queer is defined by being attracted to genders other than the opposite gender to your own, and again, it is NEVER a choice. Just a little bit louder for those of you in the back: BEING QUEER IS NEVER A CHOICE.

If you still aren't sure, here's some science for you: A 2019 study by Andrea Ganna, lead author and European Molecular Biology Laboratory group leader at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland, said that while her study did not find a "gay gene," it revealed "there are a number of genetic variations that can influence sexual behavior." Essentially, the research reinforces that queerness is simply "a natural part of our diversity as a species." That means that women being attracted to women is not simply a matter of thinking "all guys were evil" and so resorting to women—it's a matter of bonafide, biological sexual attraction.

Please do better, Miley.

CULTURE

Nazi-Chic: The Aesthetics of Fascism

Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.

Villains always have the best outfits.

From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.

Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com

But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.

Oh, right.

Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.

Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com

Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.

As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.

History of Nazi Chic

For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.

The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.

Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it

Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.

The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.

Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.

Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com

Nazi Chic in Asia

Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.

A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.

In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.

OF COURSE. i.imgur.com

That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.

In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.

Implications

So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?

The answer is not so black and white.

On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.

But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.

Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.

MUSIC

Lana Del Rey Celebrates Birthday, Might Collab with Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande

Our queen of midsummer melancholy might be embarking on her most high-profile collaboration yet.

Lana Del Rey can she can do whatever she wants.

The 34-year-old is celebrating her birthday today, June 21st, which also happens to be the summer solstice. That she was born on the longest day of the year, which is also associated with a variety of mystical midsummer rites, seems appropriate in light of Del Rey's somewhat mystical status in pop culture. (Who could forget the time she hexed Donald Trump?)

Image via Out.com

Over the course of her career, she's joined forces with a wide variety of collaborators, from Stevie Nicks and Julian Lennon to A$AP Rocky and the Weeknd. Her ability to braid hip-hop, folk, pop, and psych rock has allowed her to constantly redefine her sound, and she's been a leading architect of this post-genre moment in music. Her aesthetic fluidity has also allowed her to shapeshift again and again, moving from sad girl to super-diva, Hollywood starlet to itinerant bohemian.

A collaboration with Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande would be a characteristic change of pace for the self-proclaimed "chameleon soul," marking a movement towards the top stratas of mainstream pop. Speculation began when Miley Cyrus liked a comment mentioning a collaboration between the three stars; then Ariana did the same thing with another post.

As ex-kids' TV pop stars with little indie cred to their names, Grande and Cyrus may not seem like the likeliest collaborators for the more fringe-based Del Rey. However, if you think about the spaces they occupy in modern culture and their music itself, it's not such a reach to imagine them getting high together in some luxe California villa and brainstorming the song of the summer. They probably have things to talk about: Grande has rebounded from her fair share of tragedies and destructive and difficult relationships; and Miley Cyrus has reinvented herself as many times as Del Rey, facing an equal amount of backlash for her anti-feminist, scandalously sexualized persona during the "Wrecking Ball" era, then suddenly reverting back to a Madonna figure as if none of it had ever happened.

There's something almost punk about all three of these women, each of whom make so many Christian mothers and people on the Internet so viciously angry, and there's something phoenix-like about the way they've all reinvented themselves, persistently releasing surprising, emotionally raw music and never becoming who people want them to be.

Miley Cyrus covers Summertime Sadness in the Live Lounge www.youtube.com


Happy Hippie Presents: Don't Dream It's Over (Performed by Miley Cyrus & Ariana Grande) www.youtube.com

There are also plenty of reasons to dislike each of them, namely that they have all appropriated and discarded elements of black culture. Plus, the quality of Grande and Cyrus's music has varied, and all of their careers have involved a fair number of crash-and-burn moments—but through it all, they've kept listeners hanging on their every move, watching as they rise from the ashes again and again. If the three do release a collaboration, we all know we're going to be listening.