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Empowering Girls: Miley's Photo

I’m conflicted about this.

Wasn’t the media just lying in wait for the girl to screw up and cross the very fine line between contemporary and provocative?

“Vanity Fair wants to sell magazines,” one newswoman says.

“Exactly right,” another newswoman says,

“Yeah, true,” I say. “But, no more than you want higher viewer ratings and are deliberately competing with Entertainment Tonight.”

Seems everyone wants to capitalize on Miley’s misstep – the news stations, the newspapers are all feeding on the story like ratings-hungry wolves.

I find that just as girl-exploitive as the actual photographs.

Miley has apologized and so has Annie Lebowitz, who shot the photo.

What are you thinking about this?

222 replies
  1. jen says:

    I think this is so blown out of proportion. She is 15! And I would not be pleased with the photos (snap shots….the vanity fair one’s are beautiful IMO,) if she were my child. But once again…she’s 15. Lots of girls her age have done WAY worse on their myspace pages.

    This is normal teenage behavior with spin because the poor child lives in a fishbowl.

  2. Tracee says:

    I noticed that the commercials (they change with every viewing) surrounding the news story were more provocative than Miley’s photo – and lots of models are in their teens.

    As a parent, I’m almost just as concerned that every single display of any sexuality by a girl is met with a public and media screaming “Skank” or “Whore” as I am by the photos themselves.

    It’s reminiscent of Scarlet Letter tactics I had hoped would be long gone by now.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The only one I saw that seemed a little inappropriate for a 15 yr old was the one showing her back..I think it’s a little weird that her dad was there and was okay with this, but her life in general is surely more ‘weird’ than your average teenager. And in many ways a lot more sheltered. I guarantee you they know where she’s at all the time and who she’s with and what she’s doing.

    But really, come on, compared to what all is out there and okay these days, I definately think it’s being milked by the media. We were waiting for her big gasp moment.

    Ashley

  4. Violet says:

    I admit I think the photo is a little creepy. But yes, I see much worse every day. I don’t think it was intentional and certainly not worth the news storm.

    This is an old and sad media game. They set these girls up as impossible, perfect role models and then
    lie in wait to tear them down for being, gasp, normal teenage girls who are still figuring themselves and their sexuality out. They did it with Britney, Lindsay, Vanessa, Jamie Lynn and now Miley. Try to name one boy they did this with.

    So many mixed messages. Remember how they had countdown clocks on the Olson twins and Lindsay for turning 18 and becoming legal to have sex with? Like they are in this virginal cloud until 18, and then all the men in the world can suddenly
    feel okay about wanting to nail them?

    Oh and all these outraged news stations have no problem putting the blown up photo front and center.

  5. Tracee says:

    The odds of Ainsley seeing the photo in Vanity Fair were ZERO.

    But via the News Storm she probably saw the image several times during just the commercials for the news.

  6. Anonymous says:

    And what she (and other girls) saw was a girl getting a whole lot of attention for showing some skin.

  7. mrs. blogoway says:

    I think it’s interesting that Vanity Fair has said that the photo of her wearing only the sheet was the last shot of the day and Billy Ray had already left for a prior engagement. (It’s almost like A.L. was trying to sneak it in). I think that shows that even the photographer knew it wasn’t right.

  8. Sierra says:

    Whenever something like this pops up, I think of a very amusing post by John Scalzi, which reminds me that I don’t need to hear about stuff like this.

    The photo was perhaps borderline, but as Miley Cyrus is *15* I’m not really looking for an apology from her. It’s the hypocritical media who should be sorry, them and the people that lap up “scandal”.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I certainly agree that the media does “lie in wait” for various people to make mistakes (especially young girls… be they Disney megastars, Hollywood starlets, young Hollywood “celebutantes”, etc). However, I also believe there is another huge component at work here. In my eyes, this is a teenage girl (star or not!) being exploited. Before I launch into all that, let me just say this. Of course Vanity Fair wants to sell magazines. Of course a photo shoot done by Annie Lebovitz is pretty darn likely to be somehow controversial or edgy, simply based on her past work. Of course shows like Entertainment Tonight (which I used to watch but has been banned in our house my both my husband and me… the Anna Nicole era of ET and those shows did us in). We didn’t stop watching such shows because we were afraid our daughter might see/hear something she didn’t need to hear (we never let that be an option anyway). We quit watching them (stuff I call “tabloid TV”) because we couldn’t take that stuff anymore. Back to Miley. Yes, the media is contributing heavily to the problem by flashing the Vanity Fair Miley pics at us at all hours of the day. Yes, like Tracee, I can say with certainty that my daughter would never have seen the pics if they remained in Vanity Fair and not everywhere else. I’ve never purchased Vanity Fair in my life and I’m 100% sure she never would have seen them. Here’s the thing, though. The world we live in now, like it or not, has tabloid “media”, paparazzi, and recycling of “newsworthy” stories. So, you’d better believe that if a reported billionaire 15 year old appears in Vanity Fair posing like that… it WILL be made into a media circus. The most effective and logical way to prevent our young, impressionable girls from seeing this all over the news would be for the pics not to have been shot of this FIFTEEN year old to start. I don’t care how common such pictures are on people’s MySpace or Facebook pages. I sure as hell wouldn’t want my 15-year old posing for these shots. By the way, that shot with her father is creepy in my opinion. I’m not a “hey let’s blame the parents” person whenever a child has a problem. However, I will say that reports are that both her parents and what Vanity Fair calls her “minders” were onset all day for the shoot. People can apologize until the cows come home as far as I’m concerned. The pics are already in a media blitz. If a parent dares to watch a morning show (i.e. Today show) when a child is getting ready for school, there’s Miley holding a satin sheet. There’s Miley laying across her father’s lap in a weird pose. I think anytime a 15-year old is a BILLIONAIRE (that’s the figure I’ve heard the last few days, since this flap and her book deal announcement), the adults surrounding him/her (parents, agents, publicity people, etc.) have a DUTY to protect the child in question. That is what I believe. So, yes, the media makes a big deal out of it and that puts it into young children’s faces even more. HOWEVER, anytime a kid making that kind of money does a photo shoot like that or anything remotely controversial… I believe the media will act that way. It gets them ratings and circulation. It doesn’t make it a great thing for them to do. However, I ultimately think that 15-year old Miley’s parents should/could have prevented this fiasco. Unless, of course, they wanted the publicity. Unless they are doing what many media types (cynical or not) are proposing: posturing her for the transition from kid/tween/teen star to grown-up star. It all makes me sad.

    Jeanne

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