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A Racy Hannah Montanna?

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand in children’s ministry, you know that Miley Cyrus (a.k.a. Hannah Montanna) is the hottest person out there in kid culture especially in that 8-14 year-old demographic of girls. Hey, my six-year old girl even knows Hannah and can sing the songs to boot.

Well, recently some edgy pictures of Miley Cyrus are slated to appear in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, and pictures have been circulating the internet. The “picture” is of Miley with just a bedsheet covering her front and showing some of her bare back with stylish-bedhead looking hair. There are also some other pictures of Miley and her friends that have been deemed “inappropriate.”

Here is a link to a Toronto Globe and Mail article about it.

I saw the pictures on the morning shows yesterday. I don’t really know what to think about them. I think that Miley, at 15 years old, is a bit young to be taking edgy pictures like that. As for the other photos, I think they are just a record of teenage stupidity that should’ve never been put on MySpace. The story of the Vanity Fair pictures was that Miley felt some pressure to have the pictures taken by the renown Annie Leibovitz. Whatever the reason for the pictures, Disney and Miley have already issued apologies about the pictures. With the recent nude pictures of Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame, I’m sure parents are wondering about positive female role models for their children.

What do you think about all of this? How should we talk to our own kids as well as equipping parents in our ministry of how to talk to their kids when they see these pictures on TV or hear about them? My aforementioned 6-year-old daughter was in the room when the Vanity Fair pictures came up, and we asked her what she thought of the pictures. She didn’t think girls should dress like that. For now, I think that was enough. As she gets older, though, I know I will have to enter conversations about the line between what is art and what is profane.

On a side note, the Globe and Mail article is also interesting because of the viewpoint of the Culture Wars in America from someone outside of the US.

3 Responses to “A Racy Hannah Montanna?”

  1. Keith Johnson May 5, 2008 at 8:40 am #

    It is interesting that Miley took these photos with her father! Did you catch Donny Osmond’s comment on the Today Show that people often hesitate to allow an actor to age! It is natural for a teenager to break the rules a bit, to test the edges of propriety, to rebel. I was listening in on a CSPAN interview with Justice Antonin Scalia and he was commenting on his 7 children being raised by a priciple that his wife hit upon. That principle? Make your rules stop just short of what will hurt a child so that during their time of rebellion they will avoid the scary path and simply push against the rule to come home by 11:30pm. Today, parents say, “Oh, well, as long as they don’t get hurt, or take drugs, or drop out of school, I’m fine with their behavior.” But check that out, it means for THAT child to rebel, they have to take drugs or drop out of school! The bar has been set too high. Instead, establish rules that don’t lead to more harm, but less!

    Back to Miley, we see in most children a desire to be noticed, to receive attention and to gain a sense of their own place in the world. The athletes, the nerds, the musicians, etc. all have their places to shine! They gain attention through their ACTIONS and our culture reinforces that. So for a Miley to pose provacatively in a subtly sexual way is a degree of the same behavior that we see with a preschooler putting on makeup and dressing like a princess. It is testing both who they are, experimenting if you will or posing as an actress (really, that IS after all who Miley is!). It is putting out there a pose to be noticed!

    So “to be noticed” is our natural craving! It is elemental and you and I have just said, by our posting and viewing of the Miley photos, to our children, see, I notice THAT and so does everyone else and we are talking about it! Subtly that sends the message that notoriety is the path to gaining attention! It of course stands on the shoulders of parents to replace those negative means of attention with more beneficial and supportive ones : )

    Great post my friend!

  2. Steve Tanner May 12, 2008 at 3:58 pm #

    Aside from the uproar issues, this action shouldn’t really be a surprise for Disney. Hannah Montana is a huge franchise for them (along with HSM, and probably this summer’s Camp Rock). Miley Cyrus is just picking up the marketing role left by Hillary Duff/Lizzie McGuire. That’s not a defense of what she did, but given Disney’s recent success in the tween market, it shouldn’t be a surprise.

    Also, Disney has been on this insane kick of shooting “upscale” photos of stars taking on the roles of Disney characters… all done by Annie Leibovitz. They established the relationship a few years ago with the ill-conceived “Year of a Million Dreams” global marketing campaign for the theme parks. So you kinda have to wonder who was pushing more for these types of “artsy”/”racy” photos.

  3. Robert L. Rice May 30, 2008 at 1:25 am #

    Kids are America’s most precious and most at-risk citizens. With drugs and peer pressure facing them on a daily basis, it’s no wonder that mental illness and drug abuse is at an all time high. Problems facing American children.

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