Miley Cyrus: 'I'm one of the biggest feminists in the world'

The 20-year-old said she 'tells women not to be scared of anything'

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The Independent Culture

Slammed for twerking with Robin Thicke, simulating sexual acts with a foam finger, swinging naked on a steel ball, licking a sledgehammer and, most recently, smoking a joint on stage, Miley Cyrus has declared she is "one of the big feminists in the world".

The 20-year old pop star said in a recent interview: "I tell women to not be scared of anything", and condemned the double standard in society that gives men permission to behave badly but criticises women for doing so.

“For me, it’s not even that I’m a feminist, I’m for everybody for anything. As long as you’re breathing you should just find the best in everything,” she told Radio 1's Newsbeat.

Earlier this month, the singer said she was a feminist because she believed she was "empowering to women".

She told Cosmopolitan: “I’m a feminist in the way that I’m really empowering to women. I’m loud and funny, and not typically beautiful.”

The "We Can't Stop" singer faced a barrage of abuse following her performance of "Blurred Lines" at the MTV VMAs in August, with a number of viewers criticising her overtly sexualised performance.

Cyrus, however, said she was unphased by the negative comments.

“I never worry about what I do on stage making me look bad,” she said. “I think people, if they actually knew me, would be surprised at how normal I am. I don’t actually walk around all day twerking with my tongue out dressed as a teddy bear.”

Cyrus' recent antics have split opinion, with many saying her outfits and actions are no different to Lady Gaga or Rihanna's.

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem, 79, spoke in defence of Miley after she was "slut-shamed" by critics, saying: “I wish we didn’t have to be nude to be noticed but that’s the way the culture is so women make decisions. I think that we need to change the culture, not blame the people that are playing the only game that exists.”

Sinead O'Connor, however, wrote an open letter to the star to warn that her shock-tactic antics were “absolutely not in any way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women”.

“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,” she said.

But Cyrus told Newsbeat she takes criticism on the chin and knew it would only improve her record sales.

She said: “If someone talks about me then they always just say, ‘Miley who smoked a joint on stage had a record come out a few months ago’, then everyone knows about my record and people go buy it.”

“If you have good songs I think you can wear anything or do anything, just be able to back it up by what you’re doing."