Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Everybody's Talkin' 'Bout It

Oh, Miley, have your ears been burning? Because it seems like everyone in the Momosphere is talking about you.

Well, more about those pictures than anything else.

According to all the news outlets, Miley posed for these "artistic" photos, while her parents were present, and then all hell broke loose. Now everyone is in a race to see who can back pedal the fastest and outsource the responsibility.

Can I just say URG?! This whole thing makes me angry.

I caught an interview with Miley and her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, a few months ago, and I was struck by what a great relationship they seemed to have. As the interview progressed, Billy Ray was asked how he plans to keep Miley from becoming a self-destructive child star, and he said that he wants to "be her best friend" so that she'll always come to him.

Did you see it? That red flag waving right there? He's her parent, and he's not meant to be her best friend. Can parents be friends with their teens? Yes. Does it make the teenage years a little easier to swallow if you are on friendly terms. Heck yeah! But at some point being a parent will come into direct conflict with being their friend.

In the news reports, Miley said that she couldn't "say no to Annie." That's when her parents should have said no for her. That's when they should have packed up the whole kit and kaboodle and headed home. The Cyrus' have said that they left the shoot without seeing the proofs, and whether that is true or not, they certainly knew that their fifteen year old was being photographed topless for a nationally published magazine. This isn't the Penny Pincher you pick up at the diner. This is Vanity Fair.

I have heard many people saying that this is no "big deal" and that the photos are "art." The big deal for me, as the mother of two daughters, is that this girl is being marketed in a sexualized manner. The picture, which many who were present at the shoot called "natural," is not a natural pose for a fifteen year old. Dancing around in her pajamas. Lip-syncing into a hairbrush. Walking the mall. Trying out lip gloss. These are natural poses for a girl her age. Bare backed, with tousled hair and red lips, and barely covered by a bed sheet? Anything but natural.

Conversely, I have also heard people saying they were getting rid of anything Hannah Montana. No more CDs, no more DVDs, nothing. I understand the reaction, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. How many unwise things did you do when you were fifteen, or sixteen, or even twenty? I can come up with plenty of my own.

I don't think she's a bad kid, I think she was coerced. I'm not saying she's not media-savvy, but I know that a fifteen year old can be easily flattered and cajoled into something they otherwise may not have done. The onus of responsibility is on her parents.

I'd be interested to know what you think, my friends.


  1. I agree completely. Her parents were there. They should have stopped that train before it left the track. Period. No fair backpedaling now.

    I'm just feeling thankful that my daughter doesn't see what the big deal is about Miley Cyrus anyway.

    The even scarier part is--her appeal is going younger and younger. I'm sure you can find things for kids Sally's age with "Hannah Montana" on them. Kids my daughter's age (mostly) think she is for babies.

  2. Anonymous12:48 PM

    There are so many adults that could have stopped those pictures from being taken and published. The key word being 'adults'.

    You're right. Teens need their parents to be parents. I know it won't be easy but... I remember the things I was 'coerced' into when I was 15. I pray to God on a regular basis that my daughter has better sense than I did.

    But I also remember the numerous things I didn't do because I knew I was in deep doo-doo if my mom found out! I want to be that for my Princess, the well known 'mean' parent that can be her excuse. Also it is better for her to be yelling out "I hate you" as she storms off to her bedroom to sulk than to be arrested, abused or dead.

  3. I don't think I could have said it better. Billy Ray and Miley's mom should have said, "No. These photos you're planning to take of our daughter are unacceptable. Annie, come up with another idea or we can go." I mean, she's an international superstar. Does she really need Vanity Fair?

    I think that this whole "Controversy" is probably a well-orchestrated attempt at getting Miley an audience that's older than 11. And apparently, the people conducting this orchestra thinks that he way to do it fast to have have Miley pose as a tartlet. This is no mistake, everyone. This was well-planned. And it's very convenient that Miley, her management, and her parents can now sit back and blame the photographer and the magazine. I'm not saying that Miley wasn't coerced, but I don't know if was Annie Liebowicz doing the coercion.

  4. Anonymous3:20 PM

    I'm with you all. I was immediately struck by the nature of the photographs and wonder, if those racy pictures were found on some dirty old man's computer somewhere (sorry for the generalization), wouldn't he be arrested for child porn? Somehow Annie L. makes it all right and we call it "art"?

    I'm also sorry to see another poor role model for our young girls. Somehow I'm more tempted to look to Jamie Lynn Spears who is pregnant, but keeping her baby and getting married as a "good" example these days.


  5. Middle Sister just came home from school with some Scholastic book order forms. She's in 6th grade--these forms are fully loaded with all things Miley. My guess is that Scholastic is going to find itself way overstocked now.

    Amy, you're right. This was not a mistake.

  6. You're right. We don't watch anything but PBS so we don't understand the attraction. I saw one of those pix online and it's just NOT right, especially with her parents right there.

    I told my 8 yr old just 2 days ago that it's not my job to be her friend - I'm her MOTHER.

    I regularly get the mean mom award...

  7. I'm disappointed. Up until now she's been a good role model for kids. And heaven knows young girls need one in today's day and age that keeps her clothes on!

  8. Anonymous11:08 PM

    Parents can make mistakes too you know. If you've seen other interviews with them they do seem to be pretty strict, involved, authoritative parents. But it's good that everyone is panicking about it. It's a really big deal and we all have such informed, valid opinions that they really matter. Let's not have reasonable conversations with our kids about this, lets write angry letters! We should all keep making a really big deal out of this. For the children's sake.

  9. GeeGee9:49 AM

    I was so very disappointed to see that photo. One only has to look at Britney Spears and her life to see the horror of these "child stars gone wild"...who would want that for their child? I did hear on the TV that the parents had left the set before Annie took the picture and that Miley's grandparents were there? Either way, some adult family member was there to stop the madness but chose to allow it...sad for all...I know that Francie has not been exposed to all the H.M.hullaballoo because she watches very little TV. I am glad her role models are Helen Keller, Annie Sullivan, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the like...As for the Cyrus family,my advice would be...pull out now, people. You have acquired enough fame and material wealth...let this girl come back to reality and use her talent to help mankind in some way that nurtures and uplifts the soul and shows true beauty, inner beauty...grace...

  10. I think the parents were wrong for allowing that to happen (letting her do it, making her do it, whatever the situation was). 15 year old girls have no business being topless. And they may want to do it, because "they are women now and are old enough" (in their minds of course), but they are children and have NO IDEA what they are getting themselves into.
    My father would never have let me do anything like that and would have slashed his own eyes out rather than stand there and watch that (and I think he still would today). Father's don't let their little girls sexualize themselves like that. I don't care what industry they work in.

  11. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Bravo and well said. My jaw dropped when I saw those pictures. I caught it on the news and kept looking over my shoulder praying my 6 year old wouldn't walk in when I was watching the segment.


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