In the News
The Miley Blame Game
Everyone’s Playing, But Once Again Real Moms Get Stuck Explaining
By: Mary Beth Sammons
The – er – issue hit the stands Friday: Vanity Fair’s now infamous spread of Miley Cyrus and her family is available at a checkout counter near you. As the brouhaha dies down, moms of teenage daughters are stuck, once again, trying to figure out how to explain this latest teen-idol fiasco.
Call it The Blame Game: Famed celeb photog Annie Leibovitz claims it’s all in the name of Art. The Disney Channel, which airs Cyrus’ TV show “Hannah Montana,” points the finger at Vanity Fair, saying they deliberately manipulated a 15-year-old because sex sells magazines. VF shoots the blame to Miley’s folks, who were on the set all day, taking the clueless defense, “well, they should have said something. It’s their daughter.” For her part, Miley just says she’s embarrassed. I bet.
OMG… It’s bad enough that young girls across the country are now getting the message that Disney’s chosen can strut their stuff – or bare their chests – in semi-nude photo shoots. (What’s next? Sleeping Beauty wakes up naked?) No, worse than even this, is the whole “Battle of the Adults” blame shifting that’s just teaching young girls how to re-enact life on the kindergarten playground: “He made me do it.” “It’s her fault.” “No, it’s his fault.”
Reminds me of one of my worst parental lines, which I’ve used in many a regretful moment (such as when cigarettes appeared “accidentally” in certain teen’s hands): “So, if Johnny told you to jump off a cliff, would you do it?”
Which brings me back to the issue at hand – my 15-year-old daughter’s current idol sans clothes in a glossy magazine spread.
The Britney Spears “situation” has finally quieted down in the house where this single mom is home alone with my youngest daughter, a sophomore in high school. It took years to undo the damage caused by the once sweet-looking, post-Parent Trap Lindsay Lohan suddenly surfacing with her police blotter mugs plastered everywhere. Especially since my freckled-faced daughter is regularly stopped on the street by strangers who swear she looks just like a younger Lindsay. And especially because my daughter blushes with glee every time the comparison is made.
Now, much to the utter disappointment of moms of teens everywhere, Disney star Miley Cyrus, has gone from Hannah Montana signing autographs at the American Girl Doll store to posing for semi-nude photos in Vanity Fair. This of course comes back-to-back with her recent racy Internet splash.
I’m not pleased at all. Miley is a role model for a generation of tweens, and even little girls as young as five. She’s aware of her audience and her fans, and knows they look up to her, and so does her dad Billy Ray and other adults in her life who were supposedly at the photo shoot when things went “artistic.”
Bottom line: It’s irresponsible for a 15-year-old role model to pose for these kinds of shots knowing other girls are following her every move. And it’s pathetic that her parents would raise their own star by exploiting their teen idol daughter. Any parent of a teen knows the old “but Miley’s parents let HER do it” pitch.
So, tonight am I supposed to say, “Bust loose on Facebook because that’s what “good” girl Disney stars your age do?”