Why the narrative of painting Miley Cyrus as a scarlet woman in her split from Liam Hemsworth is so sexist

The narrative unquestionably seemed to have taken a sexist turn.

16 Aug 2019

It’s safe to say you won’t have missed the wall-to-wall tabloid reports about A-listers Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth splitting this week. Sadly, going their separate ways after less than a year of marriage, it didn’t take long for the rumours to start circulating. Human nature taking hold, public interest has - as with every celeb drama - been centred around supposed reasons this beautiful duo chose to part. But here at GLAMOUR HQ, we’re asking, why is a predominant theme of such chatter focusing solely on painting Miley as the scarlet woman?

Almost immediately after the split was announced, pictures of Miley allegedly kissing Brody Jenner’s ex-wife Kaitlynn Carter on holiday surfaced. Cue later jokes from Jenner about pap pics of him and Mr Hemsworth hand-in-hand coming to a paper near us soon. But from a more serious angle, headlines primarily shining the spotlight on Miley’s potential new relationship initially put all of the blame onto her for any marital breakdown. HollywoodLife claimed to have proof of Miley and Kaitlynn kissing before the split was even announced, and every news source on the planet seems to have run that sun-lounger shot. Which if you ask us, doesn’t even confirm anything anyway.

Meanwhile, Liam was said to be being supported by his actor brother Chris, and initial tabloid sympathies leaned towards him. Acutely aware of how intense this scrutiny must be for them both, adding an extra element of the blame game can’t have helped either Liam or his estranged wife. No matter how famous they are, this is a young pair of people who are going through an incredibly tough time, simultaneously enduring their personal lives becoming media fodder.

Being in the public eye, vast amounts of scrutiny does go with the territory, but the narrative unquestionably seemed to have taken a sexist turn.

Founder of Leopard Print PR and celebrity PR expert, Vanessa Munnings, adds her take. Vanessa says: “Once again we are seeing a woman’s alleged actions being portrayed as the sole cause of a celebrity breakup. Aside from the fact there’s no official statement to say she has been unfaithful to her now-estranged husband, it can’t be ignored that the media’s first response was to paint her as promiscuous and essentially, at fault. It’s depressing that in 2019 we haven’t moved past this dated format.”

Breaking up in 2013 before rekindling the romance in 2015, the pair married last year. And during a recent interview with ELLE, Miley explained: “I’m in a hetero relationship, but I still am very sexually attracted to women. People become vegetarian for health reasons, but bacon is still fucking good, and I know that. I made a partner decision. This is the person I feel has my back the most. I definitely don’t fit into a stereotypical wife role. I don’t even like that word.”

Over the last few days Liam was misquoted a couple of times, before releasing a statement on Instagram which said: “Just a quick note to say that Miley and I have recently separated, and I wish her nothing but health and happiness going forward. This is a private matter and I have not made, nor will be making, any comments to any journalists or media outlets. Any reported quotes attributed to me are false. Peace and love.”

Now stories of addiction and cheating, which hold them both accountable (all allegedly and completely unfounded at this point, we might add), are hitting the mainstream too. And it goes without saying that absolutely nobody knows what happens behind closed doors, and we’ll never truly understand their private relationship.

BACKGRID

But the fact that Miley is so vocal and empowered about her sexuality doesn’t mean global news teams get to use it against her. Whether she was enjoying time with a friend, or has indeed embarked on a new relationship, the point is this is private territory. Miley’s holiday may have absolutely nothing to do with her marriage breakdown, but if it does- there will always be two sides to every story. And most importantly, neither of which should ever be scrutinised from a sexist viewpoint.