What Did Miley Cyrus Say About Her NSFW Selfie?

Miley Cyrus is no stranger to controversy; in fact, she might be the most controversial musician of the 2010s. From her risque music videos to her wild live performances, Cyrus loves provocation. Even when she’s just posting selfies on Instagram, she somehow finds a way to make that outrageous. Here’s the story behind her recent NSFW selfie.

Miley Cyrus | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Miley Cyrus’ brand

Cyrus recently posted an image of herself wearing a see-through crop top that leaves little to the imagination. Alongside the image, she posted the caption “I’m getting more basic by the day. The only thing the ‘new me’ loves more than a mirror selfie is a self timed one.” Regardless of Cyrus’ claims of being “basic,” the image could be rather inflammatory due to Instagram’s current community guidelines. Even if Instagram isn’t a fan of the photo, Cyrus’s fans seem to enjoy it as an expression of the singer’s carefree attitude. Although Cyrus makes no mention of it in her post, the image could be part of her ongoing campaign to “free the nipple.”

Miley Cyrus and ‘Free the Nipple’

Cyrus sees restrictions on a woman’s right to be topless in public as harmful and sexist. She supported a film on the topic titled Free the Nipple by posting an image of herself nearly topless on Twitter in 2013. In reference to the post, she tweeted “THANK YOU NY for being one of the few states to @freethenipple” and “It’s not about getting your titties out. It’s about equality.”

Miley Cyrus in New York City | Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

To further support the film Free the Nipple, Cyrus recorded a cover of “Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma” by Melanie Safka. The song was perfect for the film, as it bemoans the restrictions that society puts on the singer. Cyrus’s version of the song was very raw and reminiscent of early rock music.

The film was directed by Lena Esco, who previously acted in LOL, a flop teen comedy starring Cyrus. Esco explained her beliefs on the Free the Nipple movement to Variety, saying “This is about equality. You can show beheadings on Facebook, but you can’t show breastfeeding. If you’re going to censor nudity and love, you should censor violence.”

Miley Cyrus performs in Las Vegas | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Amber Heard is part of Cyrus’ fight

Other female celebrities who support the wider Free the Nipple movement include Rihanna, Liv Tyler, Lena Dunham, and Amber Heard. Amber Heard brought the movement into the headlines with an Instagram post of her own. She protested Instagram’s policies against female toplessness by posting an image of Aquaman actor Jason Momoa with his nipples visible.

Jason Momoa | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The image was captioned “In honour of IG’s rigorous and equitable Community Guidelines against showing the Female nipple…and since mine enjoyed the brief privilege that’s afforded to my male counterparts…I decided to pay homage by replacing it with a picture that DID meet IG’s strict nudity guidelines and such careful gender policies.”

Whether Cyrus intended to make a statement or not, her Instagram post certainly fits in with the rebellious image that she has cultivated across her last several albums. Cyrus’ actions might not fit in with the Disney Channel’s brand, but they show that the singer has a deep and personal commitment to free expression.