I’m not talking about the show or the concert or the 3-D movie.
I probably don’t have to tell you what I’m talking about — the Vanity Fair photo shoot that has families abuzz. As part of an article on the ‘tween phenom, Annie Leibovitz took this photo of Miley Cyrus, the 15-year-old who portrays Hannah Montana in the Disney Channel show of the same name.
There are numerous answers to the question, “What’s wrong with this picture?”
More pointedly, what’s wrong with the adults who allowed this photo to happen. Acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz says she and Miley agreed that the shot was “artistic.”
I’m no prude, but I certainly don’t find a lot redeeming about a shot of a minor girl with no clothes on, a satin sheet clutched to her naked chest, with tousled hair and come-hither bedroom eyes.
I know some say it was fair game, especially in light of some semi-provocative photos Miley herself has posted on her Facebook page. Others say there’s no difference between the now-infamous shot and a photo of Miley in her Academy Awards dress, which also showed a little back.
It’s not about the bare back.
As a mother of an eight-year-old girl (and one who adores Hannah Montana), the question is this — why is there yet another young girl being exploited in a sexual manner for profit? There is no question that the photo is about her budding sexuality and I understand that at 15, she’s no baby any more.
But in a world of Britney’s and Lindsay’s and all the other Hollywood bad girls, do we really need a major magazine, a world-renowned photographer and a young girl’s parents giving her the signal that it’s OK to take off her clothes and pose for a sexy photo? This is about judgment and a lot of it was bad.
I love art. And I want my daughter to know that the human body is a beautiful thing. But there’s a line between a beautiful, artsy shot of a woman who has exercised her adult judgment in deciding to have such a photo taken and a group of adults encouraging a a girl — yes, she’s still a girl — to pose for what is essentially an adult photograph.
Would we be having this conversation if she was 17? Probably not. What if she was 12? Different story. Miley’s age is the important factor to whether this was a good idea or whether it was taking advantage of a girl who’s own judgment is still maturing. One thing is for sure — Miley learned a lesson the hard way about who’s looking out for her best interests.