Miley Cyrus and Kaitlynn Carter are back from Italy, driving around L.A. and reportedly making out at Soho House in Hollywood (this as Liam Hemsworth officially filed for divorce on Wednesday). But based on the breathless, borderline horny stories emerging about Cyrus and Carter, you’d think they were the first women to ever lock lips in public. “They were obsessed with each other. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other,” Page Six said of the possible couple’s night at Soho House. “They were kissing and making out everywhere. In the bathroom, at the bar, in the middle of the floor. They were basically having sex.”
Exaggeration reigns in the descriptions of Cyrus and Carter, whose recent kissing photos from Lake Como are endlessly described as “scandalous.” Carter and Cyrus, bronzed and bikini-clad, smooching under their hats? “Kissing scandal,” gasped The Daily Mail. (Along the same lines, Cara Delevigne and Ashley Benson’s relationship has been described as “unexpected.” But only if you operate under the assumption that all women are straight.) Certainly, there is a soap-operatic situation unfolding given both Cyrus’s breakup with Hemsworth and Carter’s from her never-actually-legal husband, Brody Jenner. But to quote Miley’s now-famous comment to Jenner, some outlets might need to proverbially “take a nap” in their truck and “cool off.” Is it really so “scandalous” for any celebrity to immediately jet to Italy with a hot rebound—or is it just being depicted as extra scandalous because, in this case, said rebounding is between two women?
“It’s definitely viewed through a voyeuristic lens,” queer writer and cultural critic Trish Bendix, told me.
So wild is the notion of two women romping through #hotgirlsummer together that some people seem to believe Cyrus and Carter’s relationship—whatever its status may be—can’t possibly be real, but just another party trick for the collective male gaze. “This whole thing... just seems so fake to me, The Hills: New Beginnings star Brandon Thomas Lee (son of Tommy and Pamela Anderson and someone consistently inserting himself into this narrative) said in an interview with E!
Yes, Miley is a hypersexual, highly performative person who is in the process of releasing a new album. And there are even some in the queer community, Bendix says, who doubt Cyrus’s sexuality or might perceive it as an act. But “the way the media frames her pansexuality doesn’t help,” Bendix said. “It’s inherently biphobic and positions women who date both men and women as only having serious relationships with dudes and frivolous, sexual fun with women. Some people certainly do, but Miley has never treated it like that.” Someone might want to alert the headlines framing her and Carter as just a “fling.”
Recall her very real relationship with model Stella Maxwell. Lately, Bendix is thinking about “She’s Not Him,” the song Miley is presumed to have written about both Maxwell and Hemsworth: “It was all about how she was still in love with Liam, but not because Stella was a ‘she,’” Bendix said. “She just wasn’t the one Miley was in love with.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue