Saturday, May 3, 2008

Art or Artifice?

More than one Bloggo has posted about Young Miley Cyrus and her journey down Annie Leibovitz Lane. When we first saw the come-hither charicature of the 15-year-old, we thought of--natch--Vanity Fair's Preggo Demi (remember, it's Dem-EE, not DEM-ee) Moore. Except that Dems was 28 (almost 29) at the time, and Should Have Known Better. Well, we take that back--How old is Ashton Kutcher now?

Anyhoo, Our Cherubs (both at OHHS and at Home) are semi-underwhelmed by all the yadda-yadda-yadda about Miley in the Mainstream Press and elsewhere. Much more into "That's What She Said" tag lines--aka sophomoric dirty jokes--but More On That Later. A recent convo in the Journalism Suite, almost verbatim (can't claim we were taking notes at that Very Second):

Senior Girl 1: I don't understand. Annie Leibovitz is famous. Miley Cyrus is homely.
Senior Girl 2: She looks like a vampire in that photo. What's up with the sheet?
Senior Boy: Miley Cyrus is famous. I think she's hot.
Senior Girl 1: Shut up, Kenan. You're 18. That could be classified as statuatory something-or-other.
Senior Girl 3: She looks like a chipmunk who just woke up and put on her mom's lipstick. Her teeth are funny-looking.
Senior Boy: It's art! She's hot!!
Senior Girl 1: No she's not. She's got a rich hillbilly daddy. And a TV show. If I had a TV show and buck teeth, I could pose that way and make a lot of money, too!
Senior Girl 2: That's what she said.

We asked Our Own Personal Cherub--who plans to major in Studio Art in College--about the snaps. She said, without a second glance at the Internet version of the come-hither photo, "Mom, it's Annie Leibovitz. It's art." When pressed, Our Cherub appeared much more intent on Sarah Jessica Parker and "Sex in the City" re-runs than on Miley. "Show me the real magazine when it comes out, Mom. I don't even watch 'Hannah Montana.' I don't care." The story of our lives. BTW, does anyone out there in the Blogosphere understand why a Preeminent Photog like Annie Leibovitz would pose a 15-year-old draped so provocatively across her father's lap?


Tara R. said...

My older daughter (19yo) doesn't understand all the press this is getting either. It seems like such a non-story ~ almost like Cyrus caused it herself by bringing attention to the photo. Without it, no one would have said anything about it.

Amy said...

My women's studies minor is about to show...

We live in a culture that loves to eroticize children. A.L.'s photographs are nothing new in that respect. Quite frankly, at fifteen, M.C. is a bit old for this. Look at how we dress girls to look like women. Look at how, for women, the most sought after figure is that of a prepubescent girl (or boy, whatever).

M.C. is two years away from Britney Spears's debut age as teen sex goddess. Speaking in terms of marketability, she's got a big change ahead of her.

Do I like any of this? No. It's rather horrifying. Will the outrage change anything? Probably not. We need a big cultural shift that, sadly, I don't see coming any time soon.

Okay, I'm done. Whew, that chip is heavy.

Melissa B. said...

Tara & Amy: We seem to be caught in between the "who cares?" and the "this is outrageous!" mode. We're also old enough to remember Brooke Shields' debut at 12 in "Pretty Baby," and her hollowup at 15 in "Endless Summer." Hard Porn? Probably not. Soft porn? Most likely. And don't forget her Calvin Klein jeans debut in 1980 at the ripe old age of 14. That snap, at least, seems pretty tame, but much hullabaloo resulted. Hard to believe "Brookie" is about to celebrate her 43rd b-day!


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