A Pox on All Your Houses
I've resisted the temptation to enter this photo-fracas. Why? I have only sons. I therefore am not tuned into the intricacies of pre-adolescent girl "culture"; until today, I have had a corresponding - and quite blissful - ignorance of all things Hannah Montana. From this vantage point, one thing seems clear. Miley Cyrus, the 15 year old girl who plays Hannah is being poorly served by all the adults around her. You can find the gist here.
The folks at Disney Channel, who peddle Hannah relentlessly, are shocked, simply shocked that anyone would consider exploiting so impressionable a young girl for crass commercial purposes! They are stomping about because of the current Vanity Fair photos of Cyrus which, they say, exploit the girl in order to, of all things, sell magazines. But the DC folk are simply worried about their investment. No more, no less. They will quiet down once it becomes clear that the scandalous shots lead to increased sales of Hannah paraphernalia. In that sense they are just like the folks at VF who, indeed, are simply out to sell a crappy magazine, even if that means publishing tawdry pictures of an adolescent girl. What a controversy! Hypocrites all around.
Meanwhile Cyrus's handlers and, worse, her parents seem to have put her smack into the middle of all this. There was nothing amiss at the time the pictures were taken (the parents and handlers attest to that; after all, they were there!). Nor was there really anything wrong even up till the time that the DC folk started to complain ~ in response, of course, to the disillusionment and dismay (feigned or otherwise) of fans and their parents. Now the photo shoot seems embarrassing, or something. On this one, Annie Leibovitz, who made the pictures, has proven herself even more shameless than I imagined she could be. The girl is 15, Annie. Even if she's surrounded by jackasses, do you need to join them?
Finally, to all of the parents out there whining because Hannah is supposed to be a role model to your little girls, look elsewhere than the television set. There is no "betrayal" here; just another teenage girl being used by adults, yourselves included. My advice? Find a real role model for your daughter. Even better, try being one yourself and get rid of the set.
PS: Added later that evening ~ You might be interested in these short essays on the Hannah scandal by Germaine Greer, Viv Groskop & Stuart Jeffries over at The Guardian.