May 1, 2008

All's Fair in Love and Vanity

Yesterday, the latest issue of Vanity Fair hit stands. The issue contains now-controversial, already infamous photos of the 15 year-old Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) shot by Annie Leibovitz. These shots wouldn't be anything write home about were it not for the fact that Cyrus was clad only in a sheet in some of the shots and sprawled across her father - one-hit wonder Billy Ray Cyrus - in a somewhat suggestive manner in others. Of course, even with both of these elements, the story wouldn't be a story at all if not for the relentless stoking by the celeb-hungry media.

A few weeks back, I posted about the invitation to a Bratz-themed birthday party Mia received. And that post fueled a lot of conversation. But now seeing the uproar and media feeding frenzy over the Vanity Fair piece and catching news of brawling Winehouses, drunk Lohans, and soon-to-be Spears spawn my head is all screwed up and I can no longer be sure which came first, the skanks or the Bratz. I mean, were Bratz dreamed up because sluts just became so popular or did Bratz and products like them contribute to the overall skankiness of society?

My brain is locked in a chicken-and-egg argument over sluttiness. But what my brain does know is that I want to dismiss all of this - the celebutantes, the paparazzi, the media - as a great big old ball of meaningless crap but I can't because it's what people - kids in particular - pay attention to. And that's just all shades of wrong.

So I ask you, oh readers, oh limitless fonts of knowledge and inspiration, what's the problem and what's the solution? And in the Vanity Fair versus Miley Cyrus argument, who's at fault - Miley, her parents, Vanity Fair, Annie Leibovitz? Or are we all being manipulated by the media?

Posted by Chris at May 1, 2008 6:50 AM

I think we're all being *easily* manipulated by the media. However, I also blame Miley's parents for allowing the photo shoot to go on. They DO have the power to say NO, but they're media whores, just like the majority of the rest of the celebrities. VF and Annie Leibovitz are just guilty of pushing the envelope farther and farther to see just how far they can take things.

It's a sad, sad society we live in.

Posted by: ironic1 at May 1, 2008 6:58 AM

Not to excuse the activity, but apparently the series of images that eventually produced the controversial cover shot happened after her father left the set. So I don't know if we can hold Billy Ray accountable for that.

However, as for the shot of her and her father, I don't see it as suggestive, myself. The problem (at least from where I stand) is that both are famous, and since the majority of the world knows Miley as Hannah, daughter of not-someone-doing-the-achy-breaky-heart, we can easily forget that this is her daddy.

Think about it Chris: when Mia is 15, will you no longer hug her? Would you not cradle her in your arms when she's sick or sad because of something a mean girl said to her at school? Of course you would. You would never deny that of her. Would it be sexualized to you? Of course not. But what about to others?

Bottom line: the cover photo is abhorrent. It sexualizes a CHILD. It demonstrates a lack of good judgment on the part of the photographer, and arguably the parents as well (since Leibovitz isn't exactly known for tame imagery).

Posted by: SciFi Dad at May 1, 2008 7:20 AM

Maybe it’s because I'm not a parent but I see nothing wrong with the photos. The one with her dad- paaleeze...suggestive? Since when is it wrong for a daughter to sit with her dad? I think we would be able to see if it were a "creepy" photo and to me its not. The one with her and the sheet, I personally don't like it, its a little dark for me but with that said I see nothing inherently wrong with it. I don't understand all the hoopla. Don't we have more important things to report in the media?

Posted by: Greta at May 1, 2008 7:57 AM

My daughter is a huge Hannah/Miley fan so it's a bit disconcerting, this whole Vanity Fair fiasco. I sure don't want my daughter seeing those pictures. From what I read, the parents had left the set, but her grandmother was still present when those pics were taken. Hell, I'm 31, married with two kids and my grandmother wouldn't want me to pose like that *NOW*. What's interesting is that not only is she wrapped in a sheet, she looks like a corpse. I mean, it's just a weird set of photos all around.

Posted by: Sarah at May 1, 2008 8:03 AM

To blame her father - why one earth would you allow your daughter to expose herself in such a way, teach her to respect her body and her privacy.

Annie Leibovitz - dont know who you are but stop trying to make some cash on the innocence of a child.

Posted by: Steff at May 1, 2008 8:13 AM

I think we are being manipulated.

I didn't see the photo of Cyrus and Miley as sexual, but I am likely in the minority.

Posted by: Maria at May 1, 2008 8:16 AM

We're all being manipulated by the media. There's no way Miley, her dad, and/or her "people" didn't know who Annie L. is and what she does as an artist - pregnant Demi shot? Hello?

It was a calculated move to transition Miley from tween to teen and beyond. She's hoping to do it with more grace than others, like Britney.

Posted by: Gwen at May 1, 2008 8:49 AM

We are being manipulated by the media I believe. They are hanging around waiting to pounce on Miley the minute she slips up....probably b/c Lindsay and Brittany are unavailable at the moment for scandal. But....these pictures I blame the parents. Vanity Fair and Annie Leibovitz are just doing their job,even if I don't personally agree with what they are doing. It's not just the blanket and's the bedhead hair and smeary lipstick that makes me cringe. Her parents should have stopped it the moment she was asked to remove her shirt.

Posted by: idane at May 1, 2008 8:53 AM

In the wrong: Vanity Fair for using this image to sell magazines; Lebowitz for taking a suggestive photo of a 15-year old; Grandma and Manager who were the ones who apparently reviewed the photo and had the chance to say "hell no." My daughter is a big fan, but she at 9 knows this is not right, although she doesn't understand the very adult reasons why. I hadn't seen the photo with dad until now and I have less of a problem with it, although would it hurt to have her smile instead of trying to look sultry? Dad had input on that shot, or should have.

Miley has usually seemed above the media fray and mature enough to handle her situation, but her comments about this show that she is still very much a girl, giddy about being photographed for a big magazine by a famous photog. Hence, I find her least in the wrong. The adults are the ones at fault here.

If VF is trying to manipulate people into buying magaines, I think (and hope) that this has had the opposite effect.

Posted by: Teresa at May 1, 2008 8:54 AM

Ultimately, it's the parents' fault. Apparently the suggestive pics were taken after they left, but that's just it: they should've been there! Perhaps I'm a little naive but I'm hoping it was just a lapse in judgment on their part, rather than rampant fame-whoring. Even fame-whoring parents make mistakes. As for Liebovitz: well, that's her job and the photo I saw didn't look THAT bad. Then again, maybe I'm just desensitized to images of sexualized children, which is terrible if it's true.

Posted by: Fraulein N at May 1, 2008 9:10 AM

I think we are being manipulated by everyone involved, Billy Ray, Disney, the photog, and the media. I don't buy the whole "her parents had left, so they shouldn't be blamed" excuse. There is no way that her parents didn't have a say in what was finally published, or if they didn't, her Disney handler did. Honestly, there are worse pictures of the girl out there that look as if she took them herself. In the AL/VF picture, she is at least leaving something to the imagination, rather than posing in a sexual manner in her underwear.
If I were Annie Leibovitz, I would be angry with Billy Ray saying I manipulated his precious little snowflake into taking the pictures. But that's just me.

Posted by: kmum at May 1, 2008 9:17 AM

To be honest, I don't think the pictures are all that provocative. The media has TOLD us that they are, and so that is what everyone is talking about. It really just isn't as big of a deal as everyone is making it out to be. I think the media and sucky parenting combo have started the slutty epedemic.

Am I going to force Mila to stop listening to Miley or watching Hannah Montana? Nope. I think I will send more of a message if I just ignore all of the hype and let her decide (with my parental guidance of course) what she likes, and besides, she doesn't read Vanity Fair anyways : ).

Posted by: Mymilabean at May 1, 2008 9:19 AM

Oh, I forgot to put in my other comment, that yeah, she's 15, so the picture is too grown up. There is enough time in the future for her to phase into grown up Miley. I think everyone involved should be a little ashamed of themselves for doing this to a child.

Posted by: kmum at May 1, 2008 9:21 AM

I think we're all being manipulated by the media on a slow celebrity news day. After all, Britney isn't causing a ruckus anymore.

Didn't we already go through this scandal with Brooke Shields?

Anyway, I think everyone thought it was fine, it's just her back, blah blah, and then people flipped out so everyone's pretending they were "manipulated."

And as far as the Bratz Dolls and the egg, I'm pretty sure both started around the same time and fed off of each other until no one was the wiser. Dolls came around in 2001-2002, right around the rise of sluttiness...

Posted by: Caleal at May 1, 2008 9:37 AM

You know, honestly? I was more ... um, offended? ... by the picture of her splayed over her father than the "naked back" shot. I think she's a beautiful girl on the verge of becoming an adult and beginning to *ahem* bud as a sexual person and as a woman.

I think that this was a LOT of hoopla for what amounted to nothing. How is this different from the 16 year olds who go and get Glamour Shots done in the mall? Who wear teeny tiny shorts that proclaim JUICY across the bottom?

I think people need to back off. Her father was there, this is a master photographer, and she is a celebrity. You can't pretend she is going to stay young and innocent forever, especially growing up in the spotlight. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: moo at May 1, 2008 9:37 AM

Miley has been in the spotlight for years and is obviously quite savvy and mature. Yes, her parents/caretakers should have drawn the line on the shots themselves, but once they were taken they were taken. Someone signed the release, right? Still, I'm sure she was more than aware what was going on.

In fact, this didn't become a huge media event until she came out herself saying how "embarrassed" she was about it. What better way to draw attention.

I don't blame anyone here, except all of us (myself included) for wasting good time discussing it.

Posted by: Jeff St Real at May 1, 2008 9:41 AM

This entire situation has been blown WAY out of porportion. So what, she's 15 and showing some skin. She is not laying on a bed naked with a sheet covering her, she is actually wearing jeans and holding a shirt over herself. Because of the way it's shot it looks more provocative that it really is. I think the picture with her father is sweet and there is nothing about it that cries "inappropriate" to me. The media is stirring up a buzz to flame people and try and make a scandal out of nothing. Personally, the only problem I have with those pictures is the lack of styling on her hair and makeup, she looks a bit sick and HIV-like. Annie Leibovitz is a world renowned photographer and there is noone out there who doesn't know her previous work and style. Pinning the blame on her for making this "poor girl" look slutty is ridiculous. 15 is a bit young to be flashing your girly bits, but I've seen far worse that has never reached such sensational levels. What about Brooke Sheilds? Does anyone remember THAT whole thing? *sigh*

Posted by: Naughty at May 1, 2008 9:43 AM

How did it start? Shit, I think it started when girls started menstruating at 13 and dying at 35. It was called life, every year prior to about 100 years ago.

I couldn't give two shits about that photoshoot. Or any other celeb news, frankly.

Posted by: Brad at May 1, 2008 9:47 AM

I don't know. The whole thing seems to have been blown up a bit too much. I don't think any of the shots are all that provocative, although I don't think they are necessarily the most flattering. But like other people have said, it's Annie Liebovitz's style. I saw an exhibit of hers last year and anyone who knows who she is wouldn't be the least bit shocked by these photos.

I think the issue is that here's this teenager who plays a character that kids worship, and she happens to not have on a shirt, although she's still completely covered up. But it's not like she posed like this for Nickelodean magazine! It's for freaking Vanity Fair... what kids are even reading that?

I guess if anything, I blame her agent or PR person, who didn't lay down the ground rules with Vanity Fair and Leibovitz before the shoot. They should have known the possibility of this becoming such an issue and wanted to keep their Disney superstar out of such a mess. I agree that Vanity Fair and Leibovitz were just doing their jobs, and that Miley and her family probably were just excited to be doing a photoshoot with such a famous artist.

Posted by: Stephanie at May 1, 2008 9:55 AM

She's a minor so her parent's are at fault.

Personally, I think Billy Ray is a leach just like Yoko Ono.


Posted by: Edge at May 1, 2008 10:01 AM

I don't think the photo of Miley and her father is suggestive, and while I'm bothered that a 15-year old - a girl my 10-year old niece idolizes - would be photographed partially naked, I have to admit... Miley looks good. That Annie Leibowitz has talent and a knack for pushing the envelope. So does Vanity Fair, for that matter.

But something I've noticed, the world we live in today isn't the same as the one I grew up in. My nieces and nephews face very different problems then I did at their age. I wish I could change that for them and give them their childhoods back, but I can't. I can't change the entire world, but what I (and their parents) can do is talk to them about what they see, and teach them to think critically about the world around them. My niece has told me that she still likes Miley and doesn't think bad of her for taking the photos, but that she herself wouldn't do the same. That she came to that conclusion on her own is fantastic. (And it also saved my brother a few gray hairs.)

Posted by: GreenCanary at May 1, 2008 10:03 AM

One solution? Well, at our house, we have no satellite or cable, just rabbit ears. Started out as a money-saving sacrifice when my ex left, but since I can get the few shows I'm addicted to on the network channels, and some children's programming on CBC (educational and commercial free), I haven't restarted the cable, even though finances are better now.

The unintended byproduct of pared-down TV is that my girls are not exposed to as much advertising (for toys, Bratz, video games, sugary crap cereals), or as many shows of dubious quality (seriously, I saw one episode of Hannah Montana - CRAP. Poor writing, boring story. Actually most of the Disney Channel stuff, except for a few cartoons, is terrible). Also, since there's less on TV, we watch more DVDs which means I have more control over what they watch, we play outside more, we go to the library and get lots of books to read.

I'm not a fanatic, if they watch the Cartoon Network or one of the other kids' specialty channels at their friends' places or at their dad's house, cool. But I'm not going to spend an extra $50 or more per month to have us all sit in front of the television more than we already do.

Sorry, that sounded kind of rant-y and holier than thou, and it wasn't supposed to. It works for us, for now.

Posted by: alison at May 1, 2008 10:06 AM

Manipulated by the media. Completely and totally. There's nothing wrong with those pictures. Or rather, whatever a handful of people in the media deems wrong with those pictures will become gospel in the minds of those without the ability to think for themselves. Which means it will become mainstream thinking and headline news, despite people being killed and starving and the homeless problem and the overcrowding of prisons, etc., etc.

It's very much a case of 'Look at the shiny object over here!'...the equivalent to a parent shaking a set of keys above the head of an infant in order to distract them.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at May 1, 2008 10:08 AM

This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, but...I don't think the images are at all out of line. I think this is not only being sensationalized by the media, but also by the Cyruses themselves. There was ZERO uproar until they publicly apologized for the photos, then suddenly...publicity galore! I think it's one of two things. 1.) a publicity stunt on their part, or 2.) a forced move by the Disney companies (for fear that Hannah Montana's squeaky-clean image might be damaged). Either way, I'm sure everyone involved feels there's no such thing as bad publicity!

Posted by: Miss Yu at May 1, 2008 10:13 AM

A little bit of everyone. Her parents for allowing her to do this, the media (both general media that is fueling this crap and Vanity Fair, Annie Leibovitz) and well us the consumer. I mean seriously do you think these magazines (supposedly the solid ones as well as People, US Weekly, etc) would exist if we the people were not asking for this crap!? I totally buy them from time to time. I check celeb blogs from time to time. I click on the story about Brit Brit or Amy and their latest embarrassing moment in the front of everyone and cackle of the absurdity of their behavior then hope OMG that better never be MY child.

I doubt we are being manipulated by the media because we make a choice to read or watch this stuff, you know?! Miley is young and even though I am sure she is a savvy gal she is going along with it all. She is not an adult and 20-30 years from now she may be like 'OMG why did I do that?! How horrible. Why didn't my parents stop me?!'

These young girls/boys are driven to success by others even though they seem to be doing it on their own (the media spin says that anyway) then you end up with people like Ms. Spears or the Olsen twins who are just sort of messed up despite years of hearing how together and on task these people are. Also, the fact is that we damn well know child stars have always been horrible messes and ended doing very little later in their life of substance (well with substances...) you get the idea. I just think it is failure on the part of our society to allow this to happen but it is addictive. We want to see these things happen to discuss and analyze it. Like a natural disaster or some horrible happening the news (think the Petersen case...) It is totally out there. Perhaps we are drawn to the craziness in that we feel so normal next to that kind of thing?!

Posted by: Christina at May 1, 2008 10:14 AM

i think they all are a little bit at fault and i think we're also being manipulated by the media.

i don't really see anything "suggestive" about that photo with her dad. i figure that it's a fashion magazine and i'm sure annie leibovitz was thinking about composition and whatnot.

the other photo, which is a really unflattering photo of her (she looks like the joker), is pretty inappropriate for a fifteen year old.

Posted by: Denise at May 1, 2008 10:17 AM

I never hear about this stuff. If it's not the Backyardigans, I don't pay attention. But, I have to admit, I didn't see anything wrong with those pictures. Maybe I would like her to be wearing a swimsuit and not a sheet, but I thought the one with her dad was nice.

Posted by: Mr Lady at May 1, 2008 10:19 AM

I think her parents. You know they had the right and the responsibility to protect her.

Posted by: Maribeth at May 1, 2008 10:38 AM

I'm completely oblivious to stuff like this. If it weren't for people blogging about it, I wouldn't have known there was any controversy. I've made it a rule to not read or buy any magazine that has Britney or Lohan on the cover. True, that doesn't make one bit of difference in the grand scheme of things, but I least I can feel a little better about the fact that I am not contributting to the nonsense.

As for you as a parent having to pay attention to it, on some level yes that's true but there's a difference between knowing about it and validating it by giving it too much attention. It's hard, I know. Especially when you have a kid that's old enough to say, "But so and so parents let her watch/read/do [insert latest thing here]." But the beauty of being a parent is that you do get to pull rank when necessary. And then, a decade later you get to laugh over the fact that your kid didn't get to watch the Simpsons till she was 13. Okay. Maybe not your kid but that's what I did. Some things just aren't up for discussion.

Posted by: patricia at May 1, 2008 11:00 AM

Miley = Britney

Can't have a new Britney without made-up controversy.

I personally found the sheet photos stupid, not controversial.

I personally found the photos of her draped across her photo tasteful art. He was looking away, she was doing what teenagers do (expose a little skin).

I don't have human kids. Ask me again when/if I have them.

Posted by: Poppy at May 1, 2008 11:05 AM

* of her draped across her --photo-- = of her draped across her --father--

Posted by: Poppy at May 1, 2008 11:07 AM

We had a discussion about this at work the other day about Miley's picture.

For the record, I think the picture is gorgeous. Then again, I don't see it as a sexy picture. Unlike Britney in her underwear. Call me crazy on that point.

After all, she did not say no. Her parents walked off and she decided on her own to not say no. Seriously. She COULD say no if you want to get technical on it. She could've told her parents about the shot and they would've said no way you're going to publish that.

We think since she's almost 16, the transition into an adult/older teen idol is beginning for her. Sure, Hilary Duff seems to transitioned well, but seriously, on the famous meter, she's not as huge as the more sexy-fied ingenues.

Miley has been vamping it up for a bit now. Have you not see her make up and gowns at award shows? It makes her look like she's 25!

She's getting ready to make the jump. Disney needs to find a new squeaky clean product in a few years.

Posted by: oakley at May 1, 2008 11:24 AM

Are we being manipulated by the media? I think we have only to search the blogosphere today to answer that question. Miley and VF have gotten more publicity off this than they deserve.

And please tell me you were kidding about the father daughter photos being suggestive! Thoughts like that are screwing this country up. Did you see the poster of a man and girl holding hands and walking down the street? It was an ad to have people report inappropriate behavior. Would you want someone reporting you for taking a walk with your daughter?

As for the bare back shot, she should have said no and her parents should have stayed on the set till the shoot was done. She is too young to be doing photos of that nature. Ultimately though, I feel sorry for us. We are being force fed this crap and told how to react and we are doing it.

Welcome to the show!

Posted by: Jeff A at May 1, 2008 11:51 AM

Nothing happens unless the media says so.

Posted by: Stephanie at May 1, 2008 12:21 PM

Donny Deusch (who is an asshole) had a decent statement about this, and I kind of agree with him. Miley is 15. Soon she'll be 18, 20, 28. And if she wants to continue to be an actress/singer she needs to slowly start transforming herself from the 15 year old Disney star to someone who will be taken seriously by adults. And this was a tasteful way to begin that process. And Vanity Fair isn't typically read by 12 year olds.

I can see the wisdom there...and disagree with it at the same time. No answers, here, sorry. Just more questions.

Posted by: Candy at May 1, 2008 12:22 PM

it's all the media. who cares about miley cyrus? who cares about her "racy" vanity fair photos? she's not that talented. or pretty. why she is famous, i will never know.

perhaps her parents thought the best way to raise her celeb status was to do something "controversial". it's the britney spears road to fame! and look, it worked! everyone is talking about her even more than they used to.

it's lame, so totally lame. i feel for the challenges you face raising a daughter in our fame-whore culture, but i'm sure you will do a great job. me? i'm praying i have all boys. :)

Posted by: Noelle at May 1, 2008 12:39 PM

The media dammit!

Posted by: Heather at May 1, 2008 12:53 PM

The problem is us - and our insatiable appetite for all retarded things the media spoon feeds us.

The solution? Turn off the t.v. Step away from the computer. Ignore the rags at the checkstands. Especially those of us with kids. Read them books. Play with them in the park. Play games with them. Get them cooking in the kitchen. Get them helping out with chores. Surround them with like-minded friends and family - family dinners and bbqs and game nights. Get them involved in something - a sport, scouting, reading hour at the library, piano lessons - SOMETHING (but sweet baby Jesus, don't overschedule them). Go camping. Take them hiking. Take them to museums. Take them to free concerts in the park. Inundate their little minds with positive stuff and limit their exposure to Miley and Lindsay and Bratz and the whole bunch . . .

Actually - it's pretty damned easy. It just requires a higher level of parental involvement and more willingness to say NO . . .

Posted by: Mindy at May 1, 2008 12:55 PM

I wondered if you'd hit on the miley cyrus thing. You never disappoint cactus my friend ;)

So here's my take on the miley thing, I can totally see both sides here. On the one hand, she's supposed to be a role model for young girls, some as young as 3 and 4, she needs to be aware and cautious of what kind of image and message she's putting out. On the other hand, there is not a single 7 y/o I know reading Vanity Fair. They aren't going to see these pictures, unless shown by someone. And Miley said in her apology that the photo was supposed to be arty, not skanky - there was no ill-will intended. Are they over the line for a 15 y/o? Absolutely! Is she going to be squeaky clean Disney star forever? Not a chance! I think the media had nothing better to report that day and therefore decided to blow this whole thing waaaay out of proportion! And if Miley and her family/minders truly like the pics then I think they should have stood behind them and said "listen, we're sorry if anyone is offended but we think they are beautiful" or something to that extent. It's a big ol' clusterfuck (can I say that? oh well, just did), and a media circus.

Posted by: Kris at May 1, 2008 1:11 PM

The photo of her in the sheet is taken out of context the way it is cropped. She is wearing jeans and sitting on a stool, the angle and cropping makes it worse then it should be. What I think the worst part is, is that she looks cheap shitty and strung out in the photo.

Posted by: Sleepynita at May 1, 2008 2:26 PM

You/me/we are being manipulated. We have been dressing or undressing young women and putting them in ads and media since MEDIA/MODELING/DOLLS/MAGAZINES/PHOTOGRAPHY was invented. Miley knew exactly what she was doing. She's a media mogul, she's not stupid. I don't think she should have ever apologized. The best response is always, "so what". I'm sure Billy Ray and His wife are way better parents that half of the parents out there not getting media coverage. C'mon we have real probelems in this country.

Oh and PS. I used a lot of Sex and the City episodes to help acquaint my daughter with sex education and actual attitudes about sex. Guess what, she's fine and healthy because of it.

Much love, Grumpybutt Redhead.

Posted by: chantel at May 1, 2008 2:53 PM

Miley's parents are to blame here. She is a minor and they should NOT have let participate in those photos. The one with her dad, although most likely innocent, is suggestive, and a little unsettling. The other is just bad - they put a 15 year old girl in a situation where she shouldn't have been, unclothed and in front of a camera. But the issue is bigger than that. If you see her show, or listen to the words of her songs, she is behaving MUCH older than her 15 year old self ALL THE TIME.

And - we are all to blame. Or at least the kids that watch her / listen to her and the parents that allow it. If we keep supporting that behavior, it will continue.

Now is where I join you in the chicken/egg roundabout. Kids are growing up faster in general now (and bread used to be a nickel when I was growing up, walking to school with no shoes, uphill both ways) and they are interested in more mature things than we were. They have more access to information and have more freedom to find out what they like. This information is what we are now complaining about. Do we really want to filter everything they have access to, or do we want to spend that time and energy teaching them what is right and wrong / teaching them how to filter on their own?

Ah, the joys of parenthood.

Posted by: Charlise at May 1, 2008 3:25 PM

Miley's parents are to blame here. She is a minor and they should NOT have let her participate in those photos. The one with her dad, although most likely innocent, is suggestive, and a little unsettling. The other is just bad - they put a 15 year old girl in a situation where she shouldn't have been, unclothed and in front of a camera. But the issue is bigger than that. If you see her show, or listen to the words of her songs, she is behaving MUCH older than her 15 year old self ALL THE TIME.

The guilty? We are all to blame. Or at least the kids that watch her / listen to her and the parents that allow it. If we keep supporting that behavior, it will continue.

Now is where I join you in the chicken/egg roundabout. Kids are growing up faster in general now (and bread used to be a nickel when I was growing up, walking to school with no shoes, uphill both ways) and they are interested in more mature things than we were. They have more access to information and have more freedom to find out what they like. This information is what we are now complaining about. Do we really want to filter everything they have access to, or do we want to spend that time and energy teaching them what is right and wrong / teaching them how to filter on their own?

Ah, the joys of parenthood.

Posted by: Charlise at May 1, 2008 3:27 PM

I think the problem is people who are too quick to jump to the negative. That photo is beautiful and probably the best photo that has ever or will ever be taken of her. She should be proud of it. Nothing is shown in that picture that might not be shown in a backless gown that she might wear to a premier or awards show or some other Hollywood event. I don't see sexuality in it, I don't see pornography in it. I see a lovely girl, on the cusp of womanhood, who was captured beautifully by one of the best photographers in the world.

And the so-called supermodels who get photographed for the cover of Cosmo have been known to be the same age or younger, and wearing less, and often have their image next to a banner reading "How to give the best blow job of his life."

Really, people need to settle down.

Not that I have an opinion.

Posted by: donna at May 1, 2008 4:29 PM

Um. I think it's absurd that people are making a big deal out of it.

Don't mind the shot of her with Dad. Get your sick mind out of the gutter already. They're both artists and celebrating that together? They can't smile, they're suffering musicians....

And her back? Whatever. Most 15 year olds wear less clothing to school, much less the beach anymore.

Posted by: k8 at May 1, 2008 4:44 PM

IMO, the photos were not "sexy" or suggestive - her back and shoulder were exposed. Big whoop. Reminds me of all the hoopla over the Brooke Shields Calvin Klein ads in the 80's. I didn't think that was exploitation and I don't think this is. Also, even if M.C. were stark naked, exactly how many kids read Vanity Fair?

Maybe the real problem is that parents park their kids in front of the electric babysitter for hours each week and forget to advise them, and maybe forget themselves, that the people inside of that box are actors playing a part, that television rarely portrays reality and that most programming is fantasy, for entertainment purposes.

To all those so offended by Myley and Dad, how about killing your tv altogether? Kids' "role models" should come from real life - not make believe.

Posted by: Kelliqua at May 1, 2008 6:00 PM

I don't find those photos to be so shocking. People like to blow things out of proportion for ratings.

And don't you know that skankiness started with Madonna in the 80's? And before her, Marilyn Monroe. And don't forget about that apple eating slut, Eve.

A lot of people say kids are "growing up faster" these days but I don't completely agree. Every older generation thinks that the new generation is growing old too fast or is more stupid than they were. Fact is, not much has changed. Things are just more out in the open now. Sluts and teenage pregnancy existed forever, it was just kept quieter.

Now, speaking as a parent... I have a 14 year old girl and those photos of Miley? I would completely, 100% allow her to do a photo shoot like that. I don't see a thing wrong with it.

Also, not every young girl is a skank these days. Mine, and the girls she surrounds herself with, are everything except sluts. So, no need to worry with Mia. I promise.

If you remember, Barbie had the same stigma attached to her as Bratz in the way back days. Do I agree with their whore exterior? No, but I also don't think a doll is going to shape the way a girl feels about herself if she has parents who are present. And you and Beth are totally present.

Posted by: Christine at May 1, 2008 6:21 PM

Everyone, everyone is to blame.

Posted by: Shannon at May 1, 2008 6:38 PM

I think that the fact that it is a story contributes to the solution. People saying 'this is an outrage' is better than complacent acceptance.

Many years ago when Britney was just a slutty school girl, nobody cared.

Posted by: Heather at May 1, 2008 6:46 PM

I hadn't actually seen the photos til I clicked over from here. So it really is possible to ignore all the crap that flows from the celebrity cess pool. I didn't think the photo with her father was particularly provocative. And the other wasn't particularly attractive, too skinny and strung out looking. We stay as far away from that stuff as possible. I do my best to monitor everything my kids have access to. Music, movies, tv . . . It's worth the effort. Letting the little stuff slide really matters. And here's why I'm sure. I recently had a conversation with a woman in my office who just graduated college. I am one full generation older. In that short period of time, did you know that the bases changed? Like when making out, first base, second base, third base, home run . . . They aren't defined the way we remember. And it's scary as hell. In one generation. So what we thought of as third base, Miley would call first. Thank god I've got boys and thank god there are still some good parents left.

Posted by: OS at May 1, 2008 10:58 PM

I think the media is trying to sell magazines, and it's hard to blame them for that.

I think Miley is beautiful, talented and I'm not very shocked or upset about her photos because I don't think they're near as bad as the media portrays them to be. I don't think they're slutty and I don't think the pose with dad is bad.

I think Billy Ray was a one-hit wonder but he's still talented and has done a great job with his family and his daughter's career, and the show is entertaining and has good lessons in it.

I'm much more outraged by the public and how stupid they are. Your average person can have their opinion cemented for them by a headline and an inference. It no longer takes a shred of fact to incriminate someone.

Take the "polygamist compound" and the media coverage. They use terms like "compound" and most people listening are filled with visions of Waco and BAM their opinion is cemented. They release statements like "41 children were found to have broken bones in the past" but neglect to point out that, as a percentage of all the children there (9%), this is a LOWER percentage than your average farm population.

Please people - look at the words the media uses and LEARN MORE BEFORE YOU TAKE A STANCE.

The media is just taking advantage of sheep. If people were smarter, the media wouldn't be able to get away with it.

Posted by: whall at May 2, 2008 2:53 AM

A quote from you...

"But what my brain does know is that I want to dismiss all of this - the celebutantes, the paparazzi, the media - as a great big old ball of meaningless crap but I can't because it's what people - kids in particular - pay attention to. And that's just all shades of wrong."

Kids in particular? I beg to differ. I have nieces and nephews that range in age from 12 to 24. Not one of them gives a rats ass about Britney Spears, her sister's offspring, Lindsey Lohan or.. well okay, maybe 1 or 2 of them are into Hannah Montana, but you and I seem to know far more about these celebrities than any kid I know. You and I are the ones paying attention to all this crap. I admit that many things reported by the media in regard to celebrities, is much like a bad trainwreck. We can't help but WANT to look.

I'd say the solution starts with us. We can only be manipulated if we allow it.

As for Miley Cyrus, I haven't seen those pics.. yet. lol BUT.. From they way you describe them, I'd say her parents may have used some very poor judgement.

Posted by: at May 2, 2008 7:29 AM

if you take the photos for what they are, there is nothign at all "wrong" with them - other than the one, of course, with her sprawled over her father - that one is just plain creepy

making a big fuss over being manipulated by Vanity Fair and mislead and all that crap is just that, crap. Um, hello, you were there, you knew you were in a sheet, and as her father did it not occur to you that having your naked daughter sprawled across you was weird and maybe just a little wrong??

also, young girls being posed "provocatively" is nothing new - think Brooke Sheilds in the Pretty Baby and Calvin Klein era

Posted by: Kathryn at May 2, 2008 11:28 AM

I didn't read everyone's comments, but I must say your post title is DA BOMB! LUV IT.

IMO, her parents should be at all work shoots and say "no" to inappropriateness, but her parents are pushing their own careers with this, too, so.....

And anyone who says these were not sexual are Cleopatra and in DA NILE!

Posted by: wendy at May 2, 2008 1:58 PM

I don't know if anybody's to blame. Miley Cyrus is a 15-year-old just awakening to her sexuality and attractiveness as a woman--it doesn't surprise me that she would want to be portrayed that way (and that a photographer would see that). I guess I have to say that it makes little sense to me that her parents were there for the photo shoot, approved the proofs, and then said that the photographer and magazine took advantage of Miley's age--she's not the one consenting to these things, and her parents (especially with a history in the public eye) should know better.

but really, the picture is pretty harmless, imo. It's artistic and doesn't really show much. The bigger deal that everyone makes of this, the more that Miley's younger fans will hear about this and care.

Posted by: Angela at May 2, 2008 10:55 PM