People are really freaking out about the Miley Cyrus "topless" Vanity Fair photographs. Disney is blaming photographer Annie Leibovitz., saying that she and VF created a situation "to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines." Vanity Fair is standing by the images, emphasizing that Cyrus's "parents and/or minders were on the set all day," and Leibovitz is calling the photos "very beautiful." Cyrus has issued a public apology over the photos, but I guess what bothers me about the situation is not that a 15-year-old has been sexualized, its that the scenario has taken away her agency entirely.
Jamie Lee Curtis is over on the Huffington Post, blaming Miley's parents for allowing this to happen, and that paragon of moral virtue, our bro-site Gawker, (who brought you 14-year-old Taylor Momsen's underwear) is outraged, saying Leibovitz is sexually exploit[ing] minors. But here's the thing: I think Miley knew exactly what she was doing, and the ladies of the View agree with me.
Joy Behar, paraphrasing Donny Deutch, said during this morning's hot topics, that Miley's "fanbase is moving into their late teens and she's trying to keep her fanbase." Whoopi added that when Annie Leibovitz takes your picture, she does so on a digital camera; Miley got to see every shot Leibovitz took almost immediately after it was snapped. And then there's the accompanying article. Miley sounds like a very smart, very press-savvy cookie in her interview with VF. When asked about her desired career trajectory, Miley says, "Before, I'd say like Hilary Duff, or this person or that person. But there can't be a thousand Hilary Duffs. Then that doesn't make Hilary special. And there can't be a thousand Miley Cyruses, or that doesn't make me special. That's what a star is: they're different. A celebrity is different. So, no, mostly I want to make my own path." Does that sound like the same girl who is now calling her topless shots "silly"?
Then there are those racy shots from Miley's MySpace that surfaced last week which show the Hannah Montana star exposing her chartreuse bra to the camera with a come-hither look on her face.
The sexualization of teens is a slippery slope. Where people draw the line between kiddie porn and appropriate magazine fodder isn't something that's so cut and dry. The business world treats her like a grown-up — she recently signed a 7-figure contract to write her memoirs — yet when it comes to her body, she's treated like a child. My point is that Disney is making Miley Cyrus out to be victimized by big bad ol' Vanity Fair, and the reality of it isn't so easy.
Miley Bares Her Torment [NY Post]
Miley Knows Best [Vanity Fair]
Annie Leibovitz Calls Topless Miley Cyrus Pic "Very Beautiful" [US]
The View Women Give Their Opinions on the Miley Cyrus Photos [Red Lasso]
Topless on TV: The Miley Cyrus / Vanity Fair Saga [HuffPo]
Why Its Annie Leibovitz's Fault [Gawker]
Put Your Clothes Back On Miley [XX Factor]
Sorry Disney, But You're Kind Of A Skank Factory [Ad Rants]
Vanity Fair" />