Miley Cyrus now claims she is “one of the biggest feminists in the world” because she believes women should be unafraid to go nude, twerk in public or smoke pot on camera. Really.
“There’s absolutely no contradiction at all between being a feminist and taking your clothes off, and being comfortable about displaying your sexuality,” the “Wrecking Ball” singer tells BBC Radio1’s “Newsbeat.” Because, after all, men can go sans shirts in public, “So why can’t we?” Wow, talk about a fighter for equality.
Miley was recently called out on the carpet by one of her pop music predecessors Sinead O’Connor, who wrote in an open letter to Cyrus, “Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you.” Still, the pop star readily concedes her antics on the 2013 MTV VMAs and MTV EMAs were all about boosting record sales.
Since some famous self-proclaimed feminist warriors like Miley, Courtney Stodden and Beyonce seem to have mixed-up notions about what feminism actually means, let us introduce these women to five of the actual “world’s biggest feminists”:
5. Malala Yousafzai
The Pakastani teen was a frontrunner for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize after continuing a worldwide campaign for women’s rights to education, despite being shot in the head by Taliban assassins for her public defiance of a ban on girls attending school.
4. Jacqueline Cochran
During World War II, Cochran successfully campaigned to have female pilots accepted into the U.S. Army. She was later integral in increasing the maximum difficulty of women’s mission assignments.
3. Joan of Arc
Born a French peasant in 1412, Jeanne d’Arc overcame veteran French army commanders to lead King Charles VII’s France out from under English siege. Despite her victories, she faced charges of insubordination and heterodoxy, and at age 19, was burned at the stake for heresy. Nearly five centuries later, she was declared a martyr and patron saint.
2. Susan B. Anthony
Publisher of women’s suffrage journal, “The Revolution,” Anthony was arrested and found guilty of voting in the 1872 U.S. presidential election. As the verdict was read, Anthony defied the judge’s order not to speak, and explained proudly that her purpose in publishing “The Revolution” was “to educate all women to do precisely as I have done: rebel against your man-made, unjust, unconstitutional forms of law, which tax, fine, imprison and hang women, while denying them the right of representation in the government.”
1. Alice Paul
Paul authored the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1923, which sought to grant women and men “equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.” The ERA was finally passed by Congress in 1972, just five years before Paul’s death. The amendment failed to gain approval from the state legislature, and still to this day has not been adopted by every state.