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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Of Cyrus & Shields

By the time Brooke Shields was Miley Cyrus’ age, she had already played a child growing up in a whorehouse, appeared topless in Calvin Klein ads, and frolicked in the nude in The Blue Lagoon. So it boggles my mind that 30 years later we even care about Hannah Montana being wrapped in a sheet. True, it was the late 1970's when Brooke hit it big and the mindset regarding sexuality was pretty much one of "Who cares? Give me another bump of coke and turn that Sister Sledge record up!"Still, I can't help wondering if our uptight attitude regarding nudity hasn't set us back and that the real issue here is more sinister than we'd like to believe.

My issue of Vanity Fair arrived in my mailbox over the weekend and naturally I flipped to the pages with the infamous photos. Honestly, they are so not a big deal and I think Cyrus looks pretty for once,with all of her mall-rat glitter makeup and acid wash skirts stripped away. Moreover, the pictures are not in poor taste and  are tastefully done.

Still people are upset because they think these photos make this child look like a whore. Well, to paraphrase Cristal Connors from Showgirls “She is a whore, darling. We’re all whores.” The Cyrus family drained the “Achy Breaky” bank account years ago and found a gold mine in their daughter. People do what they have to do to pay the bills and in celebrity land photo shoots for magazines are just another means to an end. So I ain’t mad at them. The apologies piss me off, though. Even rednecks like the Cyrus clan have seen an Annie Leibovitz photo before so I’m not buying this whole “we didn’t know no better” b.s. They should have had the balls to either stick by the pictures or scrap the shoot in the first place. Instead, a fifteen year old is left taking a bullet for a decision that wasn't hers to make in the first place.

More offensive than the photos, in my mind, is allowing your child to take part in an insipidly written franchise that unabashedly dumbs down it’s audience. At least Pretty Baby was directed by Louis Malle and starred Susan Sarandon. My nieces love Hannah Montana but truly it’s because there are no other options for young girls. Boys get to follow the adventures of a wizard and girls are left watching a tween in a bad wig sing lame pop songs? Hardly seems fair. But at the risk of sounding like the love child of  Ed Anger and Naomi Wolf, I’ll leave that alone.

Bubbling underneath all of this, is our society's neverending enjoyment of dragging young women through the dirt. The article, and yes there is one, that accompanies the photos states that the tabloids have now started gunning for Cyrus. Personally, my paranoid ass believes the media wants us to obsess over things like Paris going to jail so we don’t stop and actually realize how messed up the country is. It’s like “Hey I was just looking at pictures of Britney’s cooter coming out of a limousine for six months and now all of the sudden we’re in a recession? What the Hell?” Also, I find it suspicious that it’s always female celebrities offered up to the public for slaughter. Other than Officer Sugartits herself, nobody even remembers what Mel Gibson did but if Lindsay Lohan runs into a tree, we demand that she be publicly beheaded and that she never work again. But like I said I’m paranoid.

Brooke Shields has been a successful actress, written a bestselling book, and even won a battle with Tom Cruise so I'm not worried about Miley Cyrus. She'll be fine. If pop culture has taught us anything it's that everybody loves a survivor and I'm sure she'll be crying on Oprah's couch soon enough. In the meantime while we wait for her to screw up again, there's always the Spears sisters, Paris and Amy Winehouse. 

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