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Provocative Hannah Montana? It's not about prudery, nudity or appealing to an older audience

Joy Behar is a sick, sick woman.

She thinks that Miley Cyrus needed to drop and bare in order to appeal to an older audience. I heard her words myself.

That's appalling.

Miley Cyrus is FIFTEEN YEARS OLD. She doesn't need to appeal to anyone who needs to see suggestive photos of CHILDREN.

Was it porn?


Was it inappropriate?


Miley is a lovely young girl and doesn't need to pose wearing a sheet wrapped around her apparently nude body as if...

I'm a mother of daughters. I know art. I even know nude art. I know beautiful photography. I'm a big fan of it for ADULTS.

Of which Miley is not one.

If that was one of my girls? The news headline would not be "Miley poses nude for Vanity Fair." The news headline would be "Star's mother wrings famous photographer's neck."

Annie Liebovitz, you should feel ashamed. She is a lovely young girl, and you should have highlighted the youth, not the sexuality.

It's not a "beautiful, natural portrait." I know fifteen year old girls. They---we--- don't pose clutching sheets round our naked bodies. That's not natural. That's suggestive.

We all know what it is suggesting. It's disingenuous to say otherwise.

That's everything that's wrong, right there.

We don't need to sexualize girls.

I want men to know: every time you ogle a young girl, or stare at a large chest, you encourage another girl to alter herself---possibly surgically---because it's conveyed that girls are sexual objects.

Sexuality is natural and ought to be developed in a healthy way.

Naked in a sheet on a magazine cover isn't natural or healthy, not at fifteen.

My heart breaks for poor Miley, especially after reading this:

The 15-year-old Hannah Montana actress said she regretted the provocative shots, which show her topless and clutching just a sheet to hide her modesty.

Miley, whose wholesome image has netted her £7 million, said: "It was supposed to be 'artistic' but now I feel so embarrassed."

She added: "I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologise to my fans who I care so deeply about."

This sensationalism isn't over prudery or nudity. It's not about a public that can't appreciate art. It's over unnecessary sexualization of a young girl.

I noted that the photos and stripping happened after her father left the set.

My heart breaks for him, too.

** There is no photo here. I won't promote it further.

Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
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Anonymous said…
I agree - Annie could have (and IMHO did) get good photos of Ms. Cyrus *with* her clothes on - and clearly visible. No need for the faux nude.
Donna said…
I agree about the over sexualization of our young girls. And I think our young actresses do get exploited, but not necessarily without their consent or understanding of what they are doing.

I disagree about this particular photo and about equating Miley with our own daughters. Show biz kids are different, and maybe we need to stop allowing our kids to see them as role models (teach them that Hannah Montana is just a character in a cute TV show).

Few child actors make that transition from cute kid to adult. From a career standpoint, I am certain her people (including her parents) felt she absolutely had to do this, and it has worked. Look at the publicity it has generated. It's got you and me talking about Miley Cyrus, who is someone I've done my best to ignore. After all, she does not have the acting chops of a Jodie Foster (who was similarly criticized when she did Taxi Driver), a Lindsay Lohan (who has lots more problems than this one) or even a Brooke Shields (Pretty Baby & Calvin Klein jeans). I think her people are trying to figure out how to maintain her current income level after she's too old for pre-teens to relate to. And they may have been premature.
Anonymous said…
I am so cyber high-fiving you right now. My daughter is 5. She loves horses and hates Hannah Montana. I wanna keep it that way.
flutter said…
I love it when the media defends the media. People like Behar put the pressure on young girls to be something they are not ready to be.
Joy Behar I hate but Annie Liebowitz gets a pass with me on this one. I didn't see it as being a sexualized photo although I could see how it could be taken that way. For me it came across as being natural although the smudged makeup seemed more provocative than the bared back.
Anonymous said…
It was a calculated career move that backfired, so that all parties but Lebowitzand Vanity Fair are backpedaling.

The pictures were meant to imply that the girl was more than a girl. It's not a new thing. Young actresses trade their budding sexuality for a leg up on the competition all the time. Cyrus just is a bit too tweener and good girl image for the media to let it pass. She is also too famous. Bigger you are, the harder they like to make you fall.

Still it was her parents' call in the end and they blew it.

I did link to the photo and to some media articles about it. There are actually adults in the world who don't know who Hannah Montana is or who pay enough attention to the continuing issue our culture has with pushing girls towards womanhood too quickly. If I am going to condemn something, I want people to know what it is so they can make up there own minds (my commenters thought the pictures were a very poor decision and not appropriate).
ALM said…
I agree. Even seeing her with that bright red lipstick is appalling...

I don't understand those shows: Hannah Montanah, Drake and Josh, Zoey 101... my kids want to watch them -- and yet the subject matter is about kissing, boyfriends/girlfriends, fashion... Certainly not appropriate for 6 and 8 year olds! SO - not only are these shows trying to get the elementary school market - along with the tweens - but now they're trying to get the adults, too? All of us? Will we ALL be in front of the tv watching the Jonas Brothers?!?!

Please. Save me now.

And it's not art. There were plenty of "artsy" photos she could have done that would have been very age appropriate. And I'm no prude either, but I am in favor of keeping kids kids for as long as they can be.
Anonymous said…
I dunno. I look at that picture and it's a stunning view of that shadowy line between "little girl" and "young woman"--which is what I think Leibowitz meant to show. I thought it was a beautiful photo and highly reminiscent of some Renaissance paintings, with that glow...

I also think that it's a rare parent who is going to buy Vanity Fair to get the Hannah Montana pics to show his/her kid. The little kids aren't going to see this; they're hung up on HM, not Miley Cyrus. The older kids, the 12- to 14-year-olds? Hey, they've got Britney Spears crotch shots to look at. I know which I'd rather have for them to look at, frankly. And if the kids *are* looking, the parents who think it's inappropriate can use it as a conversational starting point.

I definitely think that the brouhaha is overblown. These photos are not going to make MC a Britney wannabe. She seems to have a good head on her shoulders, and a good family atmosphere.
Julie Pippert said…
OM, I think fans will find the photos but to me it's not so much about that as it is about the cultural and societal effect of suggestive photos of a 15 yo girl. I think it did cross the line from provocative and catching to exploitative and suggestive.

You can achieve that artistic line without a sheet. Honestly. A dress, a pose, a look. It can be done. I've seen it. It can be breath-catching. Christina's World, for example.

To me the brouhaha is representative of a segment very uncomfortable with the growing sexualization of children and young minors.

It is kickstarting the dialogue again.

But we can agree to disagree. :)

I've got to do the Hump Day and a BIG TIME press release tomorrow but will be adding in some links to this post with other POVs.
Maisy said…
As the mother of a 15 year old daughter I think Leibowitz has overstepped a moral line. But then again I'm anti 15 year olds working as models too. 15 year olds are not adults. They will be soon, but they are not now - and that applies to showbiz kids too in my book.

Ali - happily to own being a prude and wanting my child to be a child who is in the process of becoming an adult but who is not yet an adult.
Annie said…
I agree with everything you said.
thordora said…
Maybe I'm nuts (ok, we established that before) but I look at that picture and see a beautiful girl. it wasn't until the fur started flying that I ever started thinking of it as a sexualized photo, and even then I still see a girl on the cusp of womanhood, and I worry more as one Defamer commenter did, that I can see all her ribs.

I don't honestly find it suggestive or provocative. They seemed very Annie to me-as OmegaMom said, capturing that teetering line. If I were Hannah, I wouldn't apologize. She is growing up.

Granted, the part about it being taken after her father left is a little weird to me.

I think many of us also forget what it's like to BE 15-I can only imagine having that stage of blossoming sexuality and womanhood magnified as she must right now.
Robert said…
It's unfortunate that child pornography laws cannot be applied to arrest the photographer and anyone else involved. It's also unfortunate the magazine can't be shut down as an example of why this is wrong. I seem to recall the star of the Notebook walking off their set in lieu of being photographed nude with Kiera Knightly and Scarlett Johansen. Seems to be a problem they have.
I also agree it was a huge mistake for Liebovitz, V.F., Miley, her family, her management etc to allow this to happen. There are several people to blame for this, and each one of them made the wrong choice. I was saddened to see my 12 year old daughter's role model be reduced to just another 1/2 naked girl in the media. And shouldn't someone (like her parents) be required to approve something like this when she's under... no, WAY under 18?
Rob said…
Here's the sticking point for me...

It isn't as though Miley was walking down the hallway, slipped, and oops! there's a compromising pic. C'mon, this was a planned event with a highly-touted fashion photog who probably stays booked out months in advance.

We took our 2-yr old son for his first professional photo last Saturday and we obsessed for several days over which outfit would be the most cutest.

Had Miley's parents, management team, handlers, bankrollers, or somebody involved put that much thought into her photo shoot - and the impact that it could have - this would all be moot.

There's plenty of blame to go around, but essentially, I think Miley & her crappy dad were after the fast buck that a racy photo and the press frenzy would generate. And for that, I'd like nothing better than for this to be a career killer.

I hope the pocketbook sting felt as a result of this debacle is long & deep for the Cyrus family. If that's the only way that they'll learn how badly they've just betrayed the public trust, then I hope they've received their last Disney check ever.

Sure, parents have a responsibility to ensure that our children are watching quality shows, but Miley was trotted out as a wholesome role model for girls. People didn't have to buy into that notion, but it was certainly rammed down the public's throat at every turn, so it's hard to not do so.
Anonymous said…
I agree with you. We shouldn't accept the sexualization of EVERY SINGLE CELEBRITY. Historically, 15 isn't that young for womanhood, but that was before rampant promiscuity.
Anonymous said…
I think our culture has demonstrated a fascination with putting young girls up on a pedestal, sexualizing them, and then tearing them apart. It is grizzly business. I'm surprised there was not more gross-outedness from Hayden Panetierre's GQ spread at 18. Talk about trying to make money off of kiddy porn:

You can't be too sexy too young. Until you are. And then you are a ugly, fat slut.

Which is weird, because there is punishment for a girl's body aging. Like that is any more a person's fault than the development that got so much attention in the first place.
we_be_toys said…
I'm with you girl - WTF was Annie thinking?
Women of the world - unite and refuse to be objectified. Its not prudery, its outrage that a young girl is being exploited for a bunch of leering old pigs/men. Enough!
I'm of two minds -

First, I'm with you on the photos. Annie has the ability to have come up with something appropriate for the age.

However -- I am surprised by all the outrage from the masses given what's currently marketed to this age group. Sex, sex and more sex. Whether we're talking clothing or Bratz dolls. I think what gets me is that it took Miley's Vanity Fair cover to suddenly drive the point home that all of this is just ... wrong. Sad. Very sad.
Liv said…
Yep. Another missed opportunity to just be a girl. What was wrong with that---the time when girls just could be themselves?
Anonymous said…
Um...I'm just kind of wondering if Miley was only embarrassed once she was counseled to be by her PR folks. Sorry. I'm jaded. I know.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. I still feel like we treat young girls (youth in general) as commodities and not as people. Then they mess up and we are shocked.
Defiantmuse said…
Personally I think it's a beautiful shot. Although I would agree that I find the subject's young age to be concerning, especially because I have a daughter myself and often worry about the sexualization of girls at younger and younger ages. I did find myself wondering if perhaps that was what Liebovitz was trying to suggest, in a very subtle way. That the photo was somehow meant to be ironic.

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