Monday, April 28, 2008

Revisionist history

Every once in awhile, and more often than that for some people in our society, someone does something that they regret. Often, when faced with remembering and owning up to an "oops", people will take one of two routes. They will either laugh it off, showing their shame but a willingness to move ahead, or they will completely deny that it ever happened in the first place. But there is a third course, and that is a path the politicians have been walking for years. In that third path, you simply have to change your views on something when the people around you think that you should have a different stance.

And, in an effort to start proving that the daughter of the man who penned "Achy Breaky Heart" is all grown up, she's found herself trying it both ways. Except that now she's "embarrassed". This all coming a short time after she apologized for some racier photos that had been found online.

Look, here's the facts. The girl is 15. This is an age where a lot of young women (whether they've been thrust into the spotlight or not) start experimenting with their own sexual images. Sure, the first round of candid photos may not have been in anyone's best interest, but we could all, to an extent, understand what Little Miss Miley was doing with them. The fact that the photos got leaked proved, to an extent, the adage that, "If there's a photo of your ass, there's a photo of your ass on the internet". But still, some level of props to her for apologizing for the photos, especially in light of how many young girls look up to her, and how we've already got plenty of tarted up "role models" for them to focus on, if that's what they want.

That aside, now we focus on the recent Vanity Fair shoot. Is it just a little creepy for a 15-year-old to be photographed wearing what appears to be a bed sheet and a smile? Yes. Are the photos fairly classily done? Odds are yes, but you're own views of the photographers work could cloud that. Were there people on the set of the shoot, Miley included, who could have put a stop to the whole thing if they felt it was inappropriate in any way? Major yes. Is claiming embarrassment now a way to try to save face with Disney? Possibly.

Naturally, some people (the Mouse included) are claiming that Cyrus was manipulated "in order to sell magazines". This teaches us two things. The first being that Miley (and family) were apparently thinking, "Hmm... cameras, lights... a 15-year-old wearing a bed sheet... there's no WAY that anybody would think to take pictures now. They'll obviously let her get dressed into a frock or something. Oh look, there's the photographer over there... hey, is that a craft services table?". And the other thing that we've learned from this? Apparently Disney holds the controls when it comes to the notion of manipulating teens (and pre-teens) in the effort to make a buck.

Of course, it could have been worse. She could be accusing someone of rape, after a little phone sex.

1 comment:

BrianGee said...

Interestingly (at least to me), my opinion of the photographer changed dramatically when I found out who took the picture. At first I was thinking "what a skeez," but when I found out it was Annie Leibowitz, I tended to give it the benefit of the doubt. Is Leibowitz making a statement on the over-sexualization of under-age girls (or at least young girl pop stars)? In the grand scheme of things, Britney went from an Innocent to what she is now in the blink of an eye.

Another point is that Wikipedia describes Leibowitz as "an American portrait photographer whose style is marked by a close collaboration between the photographer and the subject." Somehow I don't think that she didn't know what was happening.

Anyway, my point would be just that Leibowitz's photographs tend to be more political than pure voyeur. But I also realize your post is more about Miley's reaction to the controversy.