After my rather extended maternity leave, I've been anxiously awaiting an acceptable comeback piece. What better than to hop on board the bandwagon...
Recently, swarms of media attention has been surrounding the debut of Hannah Montana starlet, Miley Cyrus' risqué new photo opt with famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. In interviews, Cyrus stands by the shoot's innocence, deeming it "artsy."
Ostensibly, "artsy" was exactly what Leibovitz was going for in this very tasteful and eclectic Renaissance-like piece. Subject-ting the fair-skinned pop star, Leibovitz evokes a classic aesthetic reminiscent of our favorite Raphael’s and Da Vinci’s. Unfortunately, artistic appeal is not the issue here. But rather the scarlet C— Censorship.
All of the aforementioned would be perfectly acceptable, that is, if it were referring to an of-age individual. However, such is not the case of 15-year-old Cyrus, Disney’s ever-wholesome poster child and tween idol. In all of Leibovitz’ timeless and impressive skill, nothing could make a photo of a topless, scantly-covered Mickey Mouse kid appropriate. I think I speak for everyone—whether overtly or subconsciously in agreement—when I say, that’s just wrong. Ahhh, but here’s where “wrong” becomes subjective.
To the millions of adoring fans and their dying-to-stay-“hip” moms, Vanity Fair’s racy little front page is harmless. After all, naysayers are just hungry for scandal, and dying to brand America’s latest Sweetheart as the next Britney Lohan. What this crowd fails to realize is that the bigger issue is not what was intended by the photo, but what was implied. In the portrait, a crimson-lipped Miley poses with tousled hair in what appears to be a bed sheet. Regardless of how it was meant to appear, this look is undeniably suggestive, even if artfully done. In fact, there’s a history behind the subtly lewd trend of women wearing only a man’s half-buttoned shirt, the sloppily wrapped blanket cover-up, the rumbled hair and other such looks that carry intentionally provocative connotations. It’s bad enough when futile attempts are made by adults to defend these actions. The day children are allowed to defy social standards of morality on the basis of freedom of individualism, is the day all statutes must be ratified. Why should 12-year-old females be denied spreads in Maxim, why should older men be penalized for frequenting websites exhibiting under-aged girls? Circumstantially, these scenarios seem as uncorrelated as irrelevant, but principally, they’re almost identically similar. Are they not? Just a thought.