By Eliana Dockterman
May 1, 2014

ELLE magazine asked 17 year-old blogger-journalist Tavi Gevinson to interview Miley Cyrus, 21, for their Women in Music cover story this month. Cyrus was excited to be interviewed by someone even younger than herself. “It’s kind of why I was excited for you to be interviewing me,” she told Gevinson. “I sit with a lot of old people that try to get me to explain culture. I’m like, ‘I don’t know how—you’re just not living in the same world I’m living in.'” And indeed Cyrus’s explanations for many of her more shocking behaviors (highights are below), can be summed up in that statement. Miley performs for herself and her teen fans and simply does not care if she offends old fogies (you know, 24-year-olds).

And yet ELLE magazine is not a teen magazine. According to its website, the median age of its readers is 36.4. In fact, I would venture to say that a large percentage of ELLE‘s readers are moms—the exact demographic which Cyrus says hates her most. Still, Cyrus refuses to be unapologetic and makes no overtures to parents. In fact at times during the conversation, she sounds even younger than her age thanks to some bombastic and often contrary statements on everything from sex, to race to feminism. If anything is to be learned from this interview it’s that in order to understand Miley, we have to get into a younger mindset because she doesn’t seem to have any plans to mature.

Here are five of her more eye-brow raising comments:

1. She says she’s not profiting from the Bangerz tour.

2. She believes she’s guiding her fans through a sexual awakening…like the Beatles did for their fans

3. She has struggled with depression.

4. She believes black culture is everyone’s culture now.

5. Miley’s interpretation of feminism is…confusing.

Some have had a hard time reconciling Cyrus’ actions (objectifying backup dancers, getting naked in “Wrecking Ball”) with her feminist declarations. But she has an explanation.

Is she really a feminist? Is she broadening the definition of feminism to include objectification of “hot model bitches?” Or would that really mean using “hot model bastards?” These are just some of the questions that the feminist blogosphere will be chewing on for many months.

[Elle]

Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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