Leave Miley and Lily alone! The shock new faces of feminism

Miley Cyrus and Lily Allen have provoked outrage and awe in equal measure, but the singers have kick-started a fresh debate about women and their place in the modern world

She spanked a twerking dwarf, simulated sex acts with a foam finger, swung naked on a wrecking ball and has been warned against “prostituting” herself to the music industry.

But Miley Cyrus has picked up some new and unexpected fans. Before her X Factor performance this evening (that is eagerly awaited or dreaded, depending on whom you speak to), leading female artists, comedians and professionals have credited the 20-year-old pop star with prompting a modern feminist manifesto.

It has not been an easy ride. Sinead O'Connor went head to head with Cyrus in an open letter last month, warning her about "allowing herself to be pimped" by the music industry. After Cyrus replied, Lily Allen sparked further headlines last week when she released her new single, "Hard Out Here", parodying the increasingly sexualised nature of pop videos. Cyrus hit back, claiming: "I'm one of the biggest feminists in the world because I tell women not to be scared of anything."

American performance artist Amanda Palmer has called for an provocative and new approach to 'a feminist-loving world' American performance artist Amanda Palmer has called for an provocative and new approach to 'a feminist-loving world' The debate moved up a notch this weekend when American performance artist Amanda Palmer and British artist Bryony Kimmings unveiled their new "hopeful and provocative manifesto for a peaceful, feminist-loving world" at the Other Club in London. It called for an end to sisterly in-fighting, an active alliance with men, and a "de-shaming" of the word feminist, among other things.

"It wouldn't have happened without Miley Cyrus doing what she did, or Sinead or Lily doing what they did," Palmer told The Independent on Sunday after the manifesto was unveiled. "Say what you like about it or the provocation it caused, but it's generated enthusiasm [about feminism] that hasn't existed in my lifetime. A window has opened and if we don't stick a fucking log through it, it will close."

The former The Dresden Dolls performer said she never used to identify herself as a feminist for fear of being "put in a box". Although feminism is "simply believing in equality between men and women", the term "has been dragged through the dirt". "Now, we have a window to take the word back and make it equal and forward thinking," she said. "There's a feminist revolution brewing."

Key to the duo's new manifesto, which will be posted online this week, is the desire to "allow and actively encourage" men to join in. "We've got to allow men to be in our club and actively pursue feminist rights on our behalf and on their behalf," Kimmings added.

Some men are already on board. Joss Whedon, the film-maker and creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, tried to rebrand the word "feminist" during a recent speech, offering up "genderist" as an alternative. "I would like this word to become the new 'racist'," he said. "I would like a word that says there was a shameful past before we realised that all people were created equal. And we are past that." While Whedon received a bit of a backlash from those who did not want to see the word "feminist" disappear, most people agree that the fight for equal rights is still far from over.

Power pop: Lily Allen Power pop: Lily Allen Jo Swinson, minister for women and equalities, told The IoS that "Whether you look at the pay gap, media sexism or violence against women and girls, it is clear we still need a strong feminist movement to drive change.

"I'm often puzzled when people seem reluctant to describe themselves as a feminist when it is about nothing more controversial than equality. Perhaps this message needs to be expressed more clearly, so that men and women alike can feel comfortable embracing feminism without feeling it is in some way a man-hating crusade."

Tomorrow she will join a group of women, including the Great British Bake Off finalist Ruby Tandoh, to debate whether feminism needs to be rebranded. Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, does not think it is necessary: "This is an incredibly exciting moment for feminism. Thousands of young people around the country are coming to the movement fresh, while social media is enabling it to spread virally and democratising it, too."

News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Reach for the sky: there are around 250 new buildings of 20-plus storeys planned for London alone, some 80 per cent of them residential
architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
television
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
filmReview: The ingenious film will intrigue, puzzle and trouble audiences by turns
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower