netcurmudgeon (netcurmudgeon) wrote,

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Ranting to Montana...

It seems that by posing for Vanity Fair's photographer Annie Liebovitz, Miley Cyrus (young star of Disney's Hannah Montana juggernaut) has blundered into one of the deep cracks in the American psyche. And, through the grace of the tabloid press and the blogosphere, finds herself in the middle of a Category 5 tea-cup tempest.

I have one thing to say to the folks haranguing Ms. Cyrus: for the love of dog, leave the kid alone.

Full disclosure time -- I am a fan of Annie Liebovitz's work; I own one or more of her books, and always look for her work in magazines such as American Porno Photo (that's a rant for another day).

That being said, I think it's a fine photo. It's a classic ingénue pose: a little come-hither, a little nervous. She's not exposing herself. At least, not any more than these tweens on a parenting site. And that's the rub.

Our culture is fractured and psychotic when it comes to our children's sexuality. On the one hand, we have a commercial culture that sells sex to kids and tarts-up six year-olds for child beauty pageants. On the other we have a clamoring horde that's trying to draw a bright-yet-arbitrary line where on the stroke of their 18th birthday, our young men and women go from sexless minors to fair game. Anyone who falls on the wrong side of that line -- be it a 15 and 17 year-old High School couple or Miley Cyrus -- finds themselves connected to one of the third rails of American culture. At least according to the crusading moralists. I'm not condoning what Madison Avenue does to young girls, but I find the "Oh my gawd a 15 year-old posed in a kind of sexy way!" hysteria equally repellant.

click for larger image There has to be a middle way. What we have now is just plain broken. I offer up this image of another young lady, depicted by a pre-Raphaelite painter. If displayed in a museum, it would probably not draw a single word of protest. (It's old, therefore it must be art.) Put Miley Cyrus there and *SHAZAM* instant firestorm.

Let us put our energies to better use: Attack advertising that panders sex to twelve year-olds. Support movements to require weight minimums for runway models. Deconstruct harmful media for the benefit of the young women and men in your lives. And leave Miley Cyrus alone. Puberty is hard enough without the self-righteous blaming you for growing up.
Tags: beuty, hannah montana, kids, miley cyrus, sexuality

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