Eons ago, in the year 2008, Miley Cyrus was just about to break away from the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana and embark on a long journey of self-discovery and occasional cultural appropriation. To jumpstart it, she teamed up for a Vanity Fair photoshoot with Annie Leibovitz—one that racked up a lot of controversy, with critics claiming it was too sexy for a 15-year-old with an even younger fanbase. At the time, Miley apologized (at Disney’s behest, probably), but now she is an adult and doesn’t give a FUCK.
Apology RESCINDED, thank you very much.
Indeed, according to Billboard, it appears Miley was doing a little reminiscing today, tweeting a bunch of sassy photos of herself as a wee bab. But it was the memory of the Vanity Fair shoot, in which critics took issue with the fact that Leibowitz photographed the teen wrapped in nothing but a blanket with her back exposed, that really pushed Miley’s buttons, possibly because we’ve just come up on ten years since that whole “controversy” went down.
In 2008, Jezebel argued that though Disney claimed at the time that Leibowitz had manipulated Miley into the sexy shoot to sell magazines, the star probably approved the photos herself, and Disney’s insistence that Miley was forced into it stripped her of her agency. A decade later, it’s clear Miley feels that way, too. And while, obviously, there are a great many problems with sexualizing underage girls for mass consumption, slapping “MILEY’S SHAME” on the front page of a tabloid is a great way to tell young women they don’t have ownership over their bodies or sexuality, and that they should hate themselves for thinking even for a second that they do.
So kudos to Miley for telling the people who humiliated her when she was young that they can suck it. Meanwhile, I was a day camp counselor the summer after this shoot came out, and I can confirm it did not hurt her popularity among 7-year-old girls one bit, though for the sake of my Hannah Montana-ed out eardrums, I sort of wish it had.