In defense of Miley Cyrus, who still rocks …

As the dad of an 11 year old I’ve seen more than my share of the Disney Channel’s huge TV hit: Hannah Montana.   But I don’t mind because Hannah Montana is a great family show.   Unlike so much of the garbage that passes as family fare these days, real life father and daughter Miley and Billy Ray are delightful and charming in a funny and clever show which often brings in subtle and important lessons about teens navigating the complexities of an unusual life.     The show is so appealing in fact that Miley is on her way to being one of the world’s youngest …. billionaires …. as the show and concerts and spinoff merchandies are already pulling in more than that much each year for Disney, and this franchise is likely to last for many more years.

The Media hurricane surrounding Vanity Fair’s publication of mildly provocative pictures of Miley Cyrus is a sorry commentary on the state of TV news, but it has also given us an opportunity to see the *right* way to handle media scrutiny.   Miley Cyrus has apologized to her fans and many have very reasonably criticized Liebowitz, Vanity Fair, and the parents for failing to see that a few of these pictures were simply not appropriate for this legitimately very wholesome superstar (failing to see may be generous – I’m guessing that provocative was what they wer after here as that’s going to sell far more Vanity Fairs).   

I think the jury is still out on whether photographer Annie Liebowitz and Vanity Fair took advantage of the fact that the Cyrus family – mom and dad were present at the session – is hardly going to start telling Liebowitiz how to do her job.    The pictures were not all that outrageous in a current media context, but I think for many of us who greatly value Miley Cyrus’  modest dress and attitude the pictures came as something of a disappointment.

But that said I’m still a big Hannah Montana fan and I’m happy to have my daughter continue to enjoy a great show – still one of the few islands of childhood modesty and sensibility in a world largely under seige from Hollywood’s onslaught of violence and sexual propaganda fueled by our own sad yet powerful prurient interests.

7 thoughts on “In defense of Miley Cyrus, who still rocks …

  1. There is more to this story and quite frankly those photos should have never been taken – PERIOD. She is 15 years old.

    Being a dad of 3 girls myself we are constantly battling this continued imagery that IMHO is just plain disrespectful to women. We need to create a much better scenario for our young female population that bolsters self-esteem and confidence and not one of anorexia, drugs, sex and just down right wanting to be treated like trash.

    Parents need to be a lot smarter about learning what our children are being exposed to today – just take some time and really listen to the lyrics in today’s pop and rap music. Check out the ratings of PG-13 movies and see what the reviews say about the sexual content and violence and gore. Now I know we all listened to music and saw movies when we were young but just like our parents probably said things are different now and boy they are. Where are the parents today?

    Quite frankly Miley’s performance on American Idol was a little too much for a 15 year old as well. Those Elvis thrusts have no business in the stage performance of a child.

    But hey this is big business – 1 billion dollar brand for Disney (Hannah Montana) and I think that in itself helps create these moral and ethics of convenience. However, I wouldn’t be surprised with Disney really puts the clamps on Miley.

    Just what we need Lindsey Lohan II…

    Just my two cents…now I will step down from the soap box.

  2. Joe btw…her dad left before those pictures were taken…as I understand it – her grandmother and agent were present.

    But who is going to tell a 15 year old that is earning over $1 ,000,000 a week what to do?

  3. Good points above Glenn, though I don’t have a solution. I think part of the big success of Hannah Montana has been that it is a wholesome show so this is actually “damaging” the brand. I’m hoping the lesson to come out of this is that sometimes sex does not sell, but that’s pretty optimistic.

  4. I agree that Hannah Montana is a good show, we watch it all the time.

    In the case of underage children – sex should never sell and those that try to promote it should be behind bars.

  5. The show is so appealing in fact that Miley is on her way to being one of the world’s youngest …. billionaires …. as the show and concerts and spinoff merchandies are already pulling in more than that much each year for Disney, and this franchise is likely to last for many more years.

    While I agree the HM show seems slightly more intelligent than most teen fare (though I’ve only seen a total of approx. 15 minutes or so), HM still seems to reinforce the usual bubblegum-TV-ideology. It’s wholesome only in comparison to usual BS. As with most teen-TV, the producers rely on pop music, a silly schoolyard jargon, fashion, endless cuteness.

    Millionaire teenyboppers are themselves sort of indicative of the pop-kultur absurdity: one doesn’t have to wear a Mao cap– or quote the Koran– to understand some of the 3rd world’s resentment of American entertainment.

  6. Ha H – I’m not sure I’d call HM “more intelligent” but I do think it’s much better role modelling than even most of the other Disney shows.

    It is interesting and ironic that everybody from OBL to Chinese Politbureau to GW Bush agree that Hollywood’s a purveyor of some outrageous content and world views. However the legions of pop culture fans will ultimately overrule the powers that be.

    …ooops I did it again…

  7. have you seen the picture? it isn’t sexual in nature. its dark, and gloomy, and reverent. its obviously respectful of the subject of the portrait, and its not trying to flaunt nakedness. its ART. its mature, if you want to label it as such – but on first impression, its just another interesting insight into her personality. its bold but i bet it was never meant to provoke this sort of discussion.

    honestly, the shading and tone of the picture takes you to another world. its a great shot, of a talented young lady. its not about sex or indecency.

    at any rate, young women slowly come to terms with their bodies. its not always perky happy pristine disney, you know. i’d rather it be tastefully done by a good photographer and a respected magazine than paparazzi.

    poor girl…

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