Sunday, May 04, 2008

Annie Leibovitz and Miley Cyrus

Since the VANITY FAIR/Miley Cyrus controversy just won’t seem to go away, I thought I’d weigh in on it myself. First of all, many in the press and on Net boards seem to be acting like this photographer is trying to make her reputation by tricking this poor little girl into taking these photographs. Are you not paying attention, people? Annie Leibovitz is probably THE most well-known and arguably even the best celebrity photographer in America! Her reputation is such that she has been able over the years to get many folks to pose for unconventional pictures just because they trust her artistic judgement. That said, I think that Ms. Leibovitz’ artistic judgement may have failed her this time.
Even in the mag itself, the caption of the "offending" photo asks if Disney or Cyrus might have any problem with it. Miley is quoted as saying that Annie talked her into it and that she trusted her judgement. Reports are that normally protective papa Billy Ray had left for an appointment by that time, leaving his fifteen year old daughter with "handlers."
Let’s face it, the picture, showing the normally glowing and effervescent Cyrus looking scared, pale and naked, shot from the back with her holding a sheet in front of her, looks like nothing less than a rape victim photo. I repeat: What was America’s best celeb photographer thinking?? Miley is fifteen years old and I can actually grant you a desire on her part or the photographers’ part or even the fans’part to see her looking glamorous and sexy and older than her years. After all, that’s why little girls (and sometimes even little boys!) dress up in their mothers’ clothes. It may not be right to publish that, but at least I could see it! This is definitely NOT that! No, the girl in this shot is a victim in more ways than one. Is Annie trying to make a statement? Is she perhaps commenting on that fact that the media (and perhaps Disney) metaphorically "rape" child stars, stealing their talents and innocence for their own benefits and tossing them aside? If so then I’m betting nobody conveyed THAT little idea to Miley or her "handlers!"
During the writers’ strike when everything else was a rerun, I became a fan of HANNAH MONTANA. It’s a cute show and Miley has a great talent for comedy and music alike. From everything I’ve read and seen (including her "infamous" internet photos) she seems absolutely incredibly normal for all of her fame! Why do we seem to feel the need to drive her towards becoming another statistic? Okay, so she has a boyfriend and wears underwear! Wasn’t it just a year ago we were all complaining that Britney DIDN’T wear any? This girl is 15 and she seems to be doing a pretty good job of staying 15 in spite of the fishbowl she’s found herself in. I honestly don’t think she has done a single thing that she needs to apologize for to date. Annie Leibovitz, on the other hand…


  1. Anonymous10:57 AM

    I totally agree. The sexualization of teenage (and even YOUNGER) girls is loathsome. And WHY did Vanity Fair print the picture (or pictures) in question? Just to cause all this controversy and, as a result, boost sales?

    I wish society would go back to letting children be children and teenagers be TRUE teenagers.

    I feel sorry for kids these days. In my opinion, growing up in the 1970s and 80s was far more preferable to life in this era, where kids must contend with pedophiles lurking on the web, as well as character assassinations from their peers in Internet chat rooms, etc. It's a nasty, nasty world, and one hopes that there are lots of good parents out there helping to guide their kids through all the challenges that are out there.
    PS I was just trying to remember what the reaction was back in the late 1970s and early 80s when a then teenaged Brooke Shields appeared in the film "Pretty Baby" and did those ads for Calvin Klein jeans. Was the ensuing furor similar to this current scandal with Miley Cyrus?

  2. Anonymous12:59 PM

    And get the pandering way VF markets it---with a sleazy double entendre:

    and then THIS:

  3. i don't know miley cyrus. i don't know anything about miley cyrus. actually, that's not strictly true. i now know a whole crap load about miley cyrus. because she appeared semi-buff in an issue of vanity fair. hell, i see her pretty much everywhere i go now. maybe i'm just being cynical, but i suspect that miley, her dad, disney, vanity fair, and annie liebowitz all knew EXACTLY what they were doing when they did the 'shoot. it's wrong, of course it's wrong, that a child - and let's not be under any delusions here; SHE IS A CHILD - should be exploited in this way, but, unfortunately, i also think such things are an inevitability in these shameless times. miley, the old man, the magazine, the photographer, and especially the paedophiles - wa-hey! everyone's a winner!