Last week I was driving from one job to the next listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR. They were talking about Miley Cyrus and her photo session with Vanity Fair magazine and famed photographer, Annie Leibovitz. And they kept talking and talking and talking about it. All I could think was, “Wow. This photo must be pretty bad for NPR to be so upset about it.” They are not exactly known for their conservative mindset.
The host of the show asked one of the commentators who was to blame for this photo shoot and I thought she made a great point in her answer. She explained that the problem is in the hands of the adults who were in charge and felt it acceptable to ask a 15 year old girl to pose in such a fashion. Should Hannah Montana have known better? Maybe. Should her parents have been there to protect her? Definitely. Should any adult – artist or not – ask a child to pose for such photos? Absolutely not.
One caller on the show said she didn’t see anything wrong with the photos, that they reminded her of “18th Century portrait art.” The problem with this is that most of Hannah Montana’s fans are not familiar with 18th Century portrait art and all they see is Miley Cyrus wrapped up in a bed sheet with her back exposed.
I don’t know much about Miley Cyrus. She seems like a sweet girl…not really a Lindsey or Britney type. But there is something about our culture that would love to see her fall into the same category as other teen stars. I highly doubt that Vanity Fair was surprised by the uproar these photos cause; my guess is that it was their intent to gain this attention and thus, sell more magazines. Because it really is all about money.
I am sure growing up in the spotlight is difficult but all of this just reminds me that being a teenage girl is difficult. So many mixed messages, so much pressure to be “perfect”. I often tell people, “There is not enough money you could pay me to go back to high school.” I’ve had perfectly beautiful girls tell me how fat they think they are and heard terrible stories about how girls talk about and treat each other. The message I want to communicate to girls is that they are made in the image of God and He is a God who loves and accepts them. It does not really matter who rejects us because we are accepted by the creator of the universe. Such a simple message but it is so hard to wrap our minds around when everything around us is telling us differently.
Anyways, those are just my thoughts. I would love to hear any thoughts anyone else has on how to deal with this and also, any Christian books that deal with the subject. I’ve yet to find any good ones.
Here is the Talk of the Nation segment I mentioned.
The Body Project – a fascinating book I read in college on the history of female adolescence in America. You are welcome to borrow my copy if you are interested.