If you had told me this time last year that not only would Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth be divorcing, but Miley would have moved on with not one, but two people in the time it usually takes me to throw out my leftovers, I would have laughed in your face. What can I say? I still believed in love then. It was a simpler, purer time. But now, after watching Miley declare “Miam” officially dead and proceeding to bounce from relationship to relationship (first with Brody Jenner’s ex Kaitlynn Carter and now with Australian musician and one-time BF to Gigi Hadid, Cody Simpson), nothing that comes out about Miley’s love life surprises me anymore. And while I’m happy that Miley seems to be moving on and living her best life, I can’t help but admit that watching her love life play out like a public game of musical chairs has made me think differently about her—and not in a good way.
I’ve been a huge fan of Miley’s for years. We’re both the same age, and it always felt like when she was going through a significant life change I was somehow going through something similar. When Miley and Liam broke up for the first time and she went through her Bangerz phase, I was just coming off my own breakup. I was a junior in college and things with my on-again, off-again boyfriend seemed officially off. He was my first serious relationship and the only guy I’ve ever said “I love you” to. After the breakup, I felt wild and lost and a little like I didn’t know who I was anymore without this person in my life. I saw these same feelings reflected in Miley. Except instead of getting drunk off strawberry Burnett’s and getting felt up in a bathroom at the Pi Kappa Phi house, Miley was miming masturbation with foam fingers and swinging naked on wrecking balls. At the time, the media made it sound like Miley was just “acting out” after a bad breakup, but to me it didn’t seem like an act of rebellion so much as her just trying to figure out who the hell she was after Disney and Liam.
When Miley and Liam reconnected in the fall of 2015, I felt irrationally happy, considering the two of them are actual strangers to me and probably always will be. Seeing them work things out after all these years, it was almost like I was reconnecting with my own first love. So when Miley announced earlier this summer that they were divorcing after only a few months of marriage, and that she had already moved on with friend-turned-lover Kaitlynn Carter, I was shocked and a little—dare I say—angry?
The anger didn’t stem so much from the breakup itself. I get it, people change, and even though I follow several Miam fan accounts on Instagram, I’m not actually in that relationship so I guess I’ll never know the full story. No, the anger was more about Miley’s actions post-breakup. One minute she was posting on social media about reconnecting with nature and focusing on herself during this trying time, and the next she’s making out with Kaitlynn Carter on a boat and posting thirst traps on IG. When her relationship with Kaitlynn eventually fizzled out I thought, “oh good, now you can start actually dealing with this breakup,” only to watch her dive head-first into some sort of romantic thing with Cody Simpson. I felt disappointed by her actions. It seemed disrespectful for her to jump so publicly from one relationship to the next so soon after breaking things off with her partner of 10 years.
The media seemed to agree with me. Over the past few months, story after story has been published about Miley and her romantic suitors. And while no one outright calls her a slut for her behavior, most of the articles read with thinly veiled contempt, as if we’re all disappointed that she’s not sitting at home alone, scrolling through her phone for old pictures of her and Liam, listening to “Wrecking Ball” on repeat, and crying into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (or is that just me?).
Picking up on the contempt, Miley took to her Instagram stories last Friday to defend herself against slut-shamers by pointing out that men rarely get called out for serial dating. She referenced Leonardo DiCaprio and John Mayer in particular, saying:
“Men (especially successful ones) are RARELY slut shamed. They move on from one beautiful woman to the next MOST times without consequences. They are usually referenced as ‘legends’, ‘heart throbs’, ‘G’, ‘Ladies Man’ etc… where women are called sluts/whores!”
Honestly, she’s not wrong. I myself have written about instances like Scott Disick moving on from Kourtney Kardashian to Bella Thorne to Sofia Richie in rapid succession, and only commented on the diminishing age of his hookups, and not the frequency of them post-breakup. And while it’s not news to me that the media is often sexist in the way they portray famous women versus famous men, what was news to me was that I was a little sexist myself.
As a feminist, I pride myself on advocating for women. It’s 2019 for god’s sake, and women should be allowed to be open about their sexuality, to own their sexual experiences without consequence. This is what I’ve always preached but rarely practiced myself. After my ex-boyfriend from college dumped me (on my birthday) for a girl he’d been secretly dating behind my back for months, he made the comment that no matter what happened between us, I shouldn’t “spread myself around” after the breakup and that I should still be a “good girl.” At the time, I’d only had sex with two people and one of them was this prince. He made me believe that if I had sex with other people or started dating around, I wouldn’t be attractive to men, that I’d somehow be dirty for moving on too quickly.
I’ll admit that those words have stuck with me, even years later. I find myself saying things like, “I’m not a casual dater” or “I just need some commitment before I sleep with anyone,” which are statements I rarely follow through with, but often use as a way to make myself feel bad anytime I have a casual hookup or a one night stand.
Watching Miley Cyrus defend herself on Instagram for doing something that men do ALL THE TIME brought back those feelings of insecurity and worthlessness. I’ve always felt like you should grieve a relationship when it ends and be respectful of the other person, but why do I feel that way? Hell, I’m notorious for mourning a
breakup ghosting from guys whose most attractive quality is that he had a washer/dryer in his apartment. So why do I owe them celibacy?
And it’s not just me, either. Most of the women in my life are the same way, keeping their sex lives on the down-low post-breakups—at least from their exes. So why are women like this, then? Men certainly don’t hesitate to move on after a breakup—or even hesitate to flaunt their moving on, so why should women? Is it that we don’t want to seem undesirable to the men who’ve wronged us or to the future men in our lives? And why is a woman having a healthy sex life so often associated with spiraling out of control or acting out?
During the same IG stories where Miley took down slut-shamers she said, “I am trying to just THRIVE/survive in a ‘mans’ world… if we can’t beat em, join em! If our president can ‘grab em by the pussy…’ can’t I just have a kiss and açai bowl?!?!” And, this, poetic as it is, struck a chord with me. Here I am, saying how I support women and f*ck the patriarchy, and I’m getting disappointed in a woman doing what she wants to do because it doesn’t seem… ladylike? Apologetic? What? Bottom line: Liam seems to have moved on (albeit more quietly), and also these people are literal strangers to me and therefore I have no emotional stake in their relationship, so what am I really angry and disappointed for?
And while I may have handled a breakup like Miley’s a little differently (or maybe not, because literally the only people invested in my love life are my dog and @SweetestBetchYou’llEverMeet who is constantly trying to pimp me out on Hinge), I’ve decided that I don’t want to read about Miley Cyrus making out with Cody Simpson or Kaitlynn Carter or anyone else for that matter. Why? Because it’s none of my damn business. If I’m not going to be angry at Leonardo DiCaprio for serially dating any model under the legal drinking age, then I shouldn’t be angry at Miley for doing whatever it is she does.
Watching Miley go through all of this has made me realize that for how much I call myself a feminist, I still have work to do when it comes to judging other women and coming to terms with my own sexist thoughts. So, thank you, Miley Cyrus, for the reality check and this deep self-introspection. I’ll be sure to tell my therapist that there’s no need for their services anymore, I’ll just get my life advice from your IG stories from now on.
Images: Shutterstock.com; Giphy (3); @cosmopolitan /Instagram (1)
Happy Valentine’s Day, betches. Whether you’re in store for roses and chocolates from your beau or pizza and excessive amounts of wine with your Galentines, it’s time to forget about all that shit and get down to what really matters: your yearly love horoscope.
Sure, you probably already know how the events of today will unfold, but what about next week when you ghost the guy who sent you flowers today? Or next month when you get drunk and accidentally text your ex? Or this summer when you decide to Eat, Pray, Love your way across Europe in the hopes of finding a foreign summer fling? Don’t worry, we’ve got your year in romance on lock. Here is what your love horoscope has in store for your sign.
You’ve never shied away from a battle, Aries, so why start now? Your love life isn’t in shambles by any means, but it’s also not flourishing. The good things in life are worth fighting for, and this year you’re going to come face-to-face with that truth. Don’t let the things you want pass you by and definitely don’t sit and wait for them to present themselves to you. Get out there and fight for what you deserve; it’ll make the victory all the sweeter.
It’s starting to seem like all the people around you are settling down and that’s because, well… they are. It’s a weird and confusing time, but guess what, Taurus? Ignore it. You’re a free spirit who has so much more living to do before you start Googling things like “couples’ calligraphy classes near me.” You won’t be content to settle down until you’ve seen and experienced everything you can, which is what your love horoscope and the next year have in store for you. Go on more trips than your PTO technically allows. Try different things. Meet new people. 2018 is the year of finding yourself (I already called Kylie Jenner to verify) so don’t waste it.
After a couple years of romantic turmoil, you’re finally in the clear, Gemini. You’re in a good place, with a good person, and the only thing to do now is not self-destruct. I know, easier said than done. Your history has a tendency of creeping in and making you second-guess your love life at the worst of times, and you’re going to have to do everything in your power to ignore that. Don’t let the ghosts of shitty relationships past have any power over your happiness.
Man, not to be that cliché Valentine’s Day love horoscope, but this just might be the year you find love, Cancer. In fact, it definitely is. Then again, finding love has never been an issue for you, has it? More aptly, this is the year that you don’t run away from the love that you’ve found. Sounds scary, right? Probably because it is. But you know what’s scarier? Ending up miserable because you abandoned things that made you truly happy. For the next year, take a deep breath before you consider ghosting someone, and remember why you’re with them in the first place. With any luck, they’ll still be around come New Year’s.
You’re going to fall in love with one person and one person only this year, Leo: yourself. Is that cheesy? For sure. Doesn’t make it any less true. This isn’t one of those “no one will love you if you don’t love yourself” situations, because that’s, quite frankly, bullshit. Your own self-worth has never been dependent on what other’s think and that’s not going to change. Loving yourself is about being happy and comfortable in your skin, something you’ve never quite mastered. So spend some time this year romancing the most important person in your life: you.
This is a year for leaving your comfort zone, Virgo. You’re a creature of habit, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it means you may be closing yourself off from experiences that you’d otherwise enjoy. It may seem like you’ve seen and done and met every possible point of interest in your city, but you haven’t. Open yourself up to the idea of meeting new people, and you may be surprised by who wanders into your life.
You’re no stranger to love, Libra. It seems like you’re always in it, searching for it, or complaining about it. In light of that, this is the year that you ignore it. It’s hard to tell if a relationship is real and worthwhile if you haven’t been single since you were seventeen. It may seem outrageous at first, but 2018 is the year that you let your single flag fly. You’ll learn to love the freedom, which your free-spirited nature craves anyway, and you’ll learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible.
It’s time for some much-needed change, Scorpio. You’ve given up on love because you think it’s impossible to find, but in reality you just have shitty taste. Sorry, but it’s true. Yeah, it’s hard to hold a relationship down when you’re dating assholes with the emotional maturity level of a 12-year-old. This year, try pursuing people you usually wouldn’t. Literally anyone but the person that you’re instantly drawn to. Ignore your gut, try something new, and see what happens.
This is the year that you start to take love seriously, Sagittarius. What has always been a fun pastime is about to become very real, and it’s going to be an adjustment that you might not exactly be ready for. It’s cool, being prepared is overrated. Catching feelings is rough, but it was bound to happen at some point. Our advice is to take it day by day and try not to overthink things. It’s going to feel weird not being the one with the upper hand for once, but the results just might make all the suffering worth it.
Is your love life starting to get stale, Capricorn? Not surprising. You’ve been out here mistaking contentment with actual happiness, which means you’re skating by but not living life to the fullest. Sure, it’s not the worst thing that could happen to someone, but it’s not the best either. This year, start demanding the best. If that means overhauling your relationships, do it. Life is short (getting shorter every minute that Donald Trump is in office), and you don’t have time for anything half-assed. It’s time to go all in, Capricorn.
Aquarius, this is the year that you try and be honest about a single emotion. Any emotion at all that isn’t amusement or apathy. The bar is so low, and yet you’ll still struggle to surpass it. If 2018 teaches you anything, let it be that you’re allowed to admit to feelings, even when you’re sober. I know, it’s a revolutionary thought. But it’s true. The aloof, intimidating vibe that you’ve so diligently honed is great for fending off creepy guys at the bar, but it’s pretty detrimental to establishing any kind of functioning relationship. Start peeling back those layers, you ogre, before you find yourself stuck with a (metaphorical) donkey for the rest of your days.
Love is a crazy thing, Pisces. It makes us think that we’re happy and content when in reality, we may not be. It’s time for you to take a good, long look at your current relationship and decide if it’s something that you actually want. Yeah, heavy shit for Valentine’s Day, but it’s about time we injected some honesty into your situation. Don’t let the illusion of love convince you to stay in something that is, quite frankly, draining you. Stepping away may be hard, but living a lie is harder. Sorry for the dose of truth, but you need it.
Apparently, there’s such a thing as a yearly “State of Our Happiness” report. And Americans really shit the bed in 2016 at being happy (shocker) with only 69 percent claiming to be happy.
“Happiness in the US is on the decline. Overall, happiness is equivalent to a D+ in school,” said Chuck Bolton, the author of the study.
To find this number, Bolton and his science people interviewed 1,461 people via an online survey. They were asked to rate their happiness on the usual shit: money, family, health and fitness, significant others, etc. And while basically every aspect of these random humans’ lives sucked, the question that garnered the least favorable responses (especially for women) was their significant other.
If we trust our fellow survey-takers, men not only suck now, they will suck even more as we age. Women are already dissatisfied with their partners at our age (only 71% reported satisfaction) but that satisfaction number drops 15 points among Generation X (56%). The beauty of aging.
Well color me fucking shocked. You mean men don’t suddenly become amazing and supportive partners as we get older? Damn. Really throwing me for a loop here.
Despite all the doom and gloom, millenials appear to be the happiest of all of the other depressed generations with 75% happiness. Which is still a failing grade for all of us who are too far removed from the beautiful years of college to remember happiness.
Yay. I need a fucking cocktail.