Miley Cyrus’s “Feminist” Song Selection on ‘The Voice’ is Questionable

This season on The Voice Miley Cyrus was the first coach in the show’s history to enter the Battle Rounds with an all-female team. Some have argued whether this will help or hurt Miley in the long run, but Miley is all about that GiRL PoWeR.

Last week, as Miley introduced us to her first Battle Round pairing, she provided some insight into her song selection this season:

Miley “I chose ‘American Woman’ for Mariah and Shilo because I think it made sense for what I’m doing with my all female team. Choosing songs that have strong female character and celebrating feminism.”

That makes sense, why wouldn’t she want to celebrate her strong female artists by having them perform songs about or by strong women. Well, the main issue is that this sentiment is juxtaposed with The Guess Who’s “American Woman” whose lyrics include:

American woman, get away from me
American woman, mama, let me be
Don’t come a-hangin’ round my door
I don’t wanna see your face no more
I got more important things to do
Than spend my time growin’ old with you

Don’t get me wrong, the Battle was amazing, and I loved every second of it, but you can understand how that may not be the most empowering song for women everywhere. The song was written by the Canadian band The Guess Who after they toured the States in the late 1960’s. Many have called the song chauvinistic, but the band disagrees with this assessment. In 2013, band member and lyricist of the song, Burton Cumming, clarified the song’s intentions in an interview with the Toronto Star:

Cummings: “What was on my mind was that girls in the States seemed to get older quicker than our girls and that made them, well, dangerous. When I said ‘American woman, stay away from me,’ I really meant ‘Canadian woman, I prefer you.’”

Guys, he isn’t being sexist, he is just trying to say that mature women are dangerous. He prefers the docile females that only Canada can produce.  He doesn’t hate American women, he just doesn’t want to see their faces or waste his time growing old with them.

Some of Miley’s other song choices do embrace a message of strong women, such as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy, and “W.O.M.A.N.” by Etta James. But she also throws in “You’re a Big Girl Now” by Bob Dylan which is about, well I’m not really sure what the main message is, but it hardly has strong female character. In truth, when Miley said that she was going to pick songs celebrating feminism, what she really meant was that she will pick songs that have the word “girl” or “woman” in the title.

Keep rocking that feminism, Miley!

Alyssa Berkowitz
Alyssa Berkowitz
Alyssa (TV Editor) likes long walks on the beach, Greek food, talking about television, watching a good sunset, and girls who wear glasses. Wait, this isn't a bio for OKCupid? Alyssa got her start recapping in college when her friends got tired of her constantly talking about TV and suggested she start a blog. The idea was if she wrote about TV she would talk about it less. Well her friends succeeded in one of their goals...she started writing about TV.

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