In case there are people who still don’t know, Miley Cyrus is the star of Disney’s-oh yes, DISNEY,that’s the point, as we’ll see- highly successful series Hannah Montana, about a “young teen pop sensation”. The series itself is of course juvenile in the extreme, toes all the conventional, suburban American points of view on how people are expected to behave and is squeaky clean with regards to,well, anything even remotely interesting. All the characters are the standard unwavering stereotypes, exceptional only in how little they deviate from the “standard model”.
Fine, I’ve seen it, its mildly entertaining and she has a very decent voice and the songs are nice in the “what a wonderful-if-unreal-world” sense. The point I’m trying to make is, it’s hardly great art.
Except, everybody else thinks it’s porn.
This is Annie Leibovitz’s photo of her for Vanity Fair. Remember Annie Leibovitz, the great artist? Annie Leibovitz, who defined the style of the Rolling Stone? Annie Leibovitz, who does NOT do porn? As you can see, it’s a fairly straightforward shot. It is NOT topless in the conventional sense: there are no visible bare breasts. There is no overtly sexual posing- if you don’t get what that means, go here.( My tribute to the most beautiful woman in the world. I think this is art too, by the way, I just won’t try to sell anyone else on it :). I love you, Megan!!!). This is a shot that exposes the vulnerability of a young girl on the verge of womanhood, whose life has been made a parade by the same people who now denounce this picture and the artist who took it for exploiting her. And what do her fans say?
I mean,seriously. I guess the comparison was inevitable sooner or later, but for THIS???
Now given the topic and my deliberately misleading title, I feel the need to issue a few clarifications
- Child pornography is BAD.
- Art is Good.
- Annie Leibovitz is a great photographer.
- This photo is NOT porn, or even “sexualized”, whatever that means. And most importantly,
- Most people are all too willing to cry “exploitation” and bow to political correctness when they have no clue what they are really condemning.
Of course, given the controversy little Miley and her parents have made their protests and denouncements:
“For Vanity Fair, I was so honored and thrilled to work with Annie. I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. The pictures of me on the internet were silly, inappropriate shots. I appreciate all the support of my fans and hope they understand that along the way I am going to make mistakes and I am not perfect.”
Meantime Annie Liebowitz released a statement saying, “I’m sorry that my portrait of Miley has been misinterpreted.”
At least she’s not apologizing…
Link to the original Vanity Fair article, here .