Anatomy (So To Speak) Of A Tween Star

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Miley's boots -- squeaky and sexy.

Miley's boots -- squeaky and sexy. Source: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Don't worry, this is totally SFW. (BTW, for at least a year I had no idea what NSFW meant. I burned my eyeballs a lot.) In fact, the semi-nude photos of Miley Cyrus that are causing such a ruckus — a practically tween-shrill ruckus, in fact — are totally SFW. If you a) have no idea who Miley Cyrus is, b) don't have contact with a twelve year old girl regularly, (creepy) or c) have somehow missed the Hannah Montana phenomenon because you are too busy reading Walter Benjamin — here's the story in a nutshell. Miley Cyrus is fifteen. She is one of Disney's most profitable young stars — her hit Hannah Montana franchise has broken the eardrums of more than one adult bystander. Annie Leibovitz took "beautiful," (read: arty, topless) photos of her for Vanity Fair. Disney is chuffed. Miley is miffed (and apologized to her fans). But it has ever been thus: from Annette Funicello to Miss Brit to a soft and non-threatening Leonardo DiCaprio; it's real hard for the t(w)een idol to grow up. What do you think about the photos? Creepy? Sexy? No big deal? Moral panicky?

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Rather than expressing surprise or disappointment about another alleged role model having her halo tarnished, perhaps we can learn a real lesson from Miley, Britney, Lindsey Lohan and the rest: Money can't buy happiness; fame does not insulate one from personal misfortune; nobody is nearly as perfect and beautiful as they appear on TV or in the movies; and we should search for meaning and purpose not from untouchable media icons but from our community around us.

Sent by Richard Anderson | 3:10 PM | 4-29-2008

How much more time is NPR going to spend on Miley Cyrus? She has two parents. She was supervised. Enough already.

Sent by midtown | 3:12 PM | 4-29-2008

How are these pictures any different than the photos taken of Brooke Shields in advertisements for Calvin Klein??

Sent by Myrna | 3:12 PM | 4-29-2008

I'm not sure what all of the outrage is about. I saw the photo. It wasn't revealing in any way. While the sheet may be said to be symbolic, it certainly wasn't "child porn."

Sent by Dave Lackey | 3:13 PM | 4-29-2008

Annie Liebowitz has a long history of producing such covers for Vanity Fair - I'm more than certain that Miley Cyrus and her handlers knew exactly what she was doing.

Sent by Rachel | 3:15 PM | 4-29-2008

The speaker doesn't seem to know what occurred during the photo shoot. So why is she commenting on it? Her parents were there during the entire shoot as well as her younger sister. If the speaker doesn't know this, then maybe TOTN should've got someone who does know what they're talking about

Sent by Chris Franklin | 3:15 PM | 4-29-2008

In the early 80's Brook Shields experienced the same controversy about a topless scene in the Blue Lagoon.

Sent by Kerry Burns | 3:16 PM | 4-29-2008

I think the real disappointment I have are in the parents who let teen stars raise their kids. I have two daughters and I certainly don't hold teen idols up as positive role models for them. Why not the woman firefighter at the neighborhood station? Why not historical figures such as Emma Goldman or Mother Jones? Why not the kid's own grandparents or aunts and uncles?

This is getting silly.

Sent by Adam | 3:16 PM | 4-29-2008

Are we going to be hearing endlessly from the prude set?

There is a lot more going on in American culture (and commerce!) than a bit of _covered_ flesh by a nymphet.

Come on! Let's talk about something that matters.

Sent by Weed Yaard | 3:17 PM | 4-29-2008

Our president has our military invade a country on a lie, people are loosing their homes from predatory lending, and women in Darfur and East Congo are being raped and murdered. What's shocking isn't teen stars showing their tits, but that we spend air time on this really stupid gossip subject. All time low, NPR!

Sent by Scott | 3:18 PM | 4-29-2008

does it seems duplicitous that at the same time we are protecting young girls in Texas from a culture which "marries" them off we are marketing 16-year-old celebrities as sex objects?

Sent by Nora | 3:18 PM | 4-29-2008

Cynic that I am, I think everyone involved knew EXACTLY what they were doing when Leibowitz was taking those photos.
Miley won't be 15 forever....and teenage pop princesses/role models need exit strategies to get to the next phase of their careers and keep the money-train rolling for themselves, their manager/parents, and all the other people that make up Team Miley.
Read more on my blog, WiseIdeasBlog.com at
http://thekitchenthink.typepad.com/wiseideas/2008/04/if-she-were-you.html

Sent by MJ in San Francisco | 3:19 PM | 4-29-2008

its a beautiful photo! and i'm pretty sure i've seen her in a backless dress.
the only problem i see is that her father was there and watched it happen. now, he's outraged. sounds like a publicity stunt organized by her father. he needs to stop using her to make money. she should be proud that leibowitz took such a beautiful photo. its art! get over it

Sent by ariel | 3:22 PM | 4-29-2008

I have to correct what your guest Lenore said about Jack Effron. Today at Blockbuster Video I saw the latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine, which had Zach with his whole arm up underneath his tank top, revealing both his chest and his navel area. So the males stars are not exempt from this.

Thanks.

Sent by Vicki Rider | 3:22 PM | 4-29-2008

I can't believe this is even being reported on. The problem is in the millions of parents that allow their children, and specifically daughters, being fanatical and even obsessed with a television character. You can blame the entertainment industry for corrupting your child, but they're the entertainment industry, come on! An angered parent can ultimately only blame themselves for allowing their child to become so dependent on a fictional television character. Also, your child most likely isn't worth millions of dollars, so to think Molly could be a legitimate roll model is ridiculous.

Grow up, parents.

Sent by Stephen Hoyt | 3:23 PM | 4-29-2008

It is just another Disney product doing a brand adjustment, to help position her to fill former Disney product's (Spears) shoes. Its career development. She can't ride the teeny market for ever.

Sent by Jay | 3:23 PM | 4-29-2008

Would this picture have caused as much of a stir if it had been in a tabloid showing Miley sitting on a beach in a halter bathing suit and towel and suggesting that she is too thin? Why are celebs supposed to be better than the parents who are raising their children?

Sent by Mary Zaniewski | 3:24 PM | 4-29-2008

Please get over the fact that Ms. Cyrus and her family decided to make this decision. They decided based on what they knew at the time. This "child" did not posed NAKED. There is a difference between nude and naked. Please try engaging photographers in the discussion.

Sent by roy | 3:24 PM | 4-29-2008

Brooke Shields did that movie, years ago, 1981(?) where she played a prostitute when she was only 11 years old. I think that was - a lot - worse than showing your back. How much more skin was shown than if she was wearing a bathing suit?

Sent by nyc | 3:25 PM | 4-29-2008

When kids have teenage stars like HM as role models, there is something wrong with kids and the culture as a whole. In my childhood my parents nurtured me to have mathematicians, astronauts and athletes like Mark Spitz as role models. Considering folks from American Idol and stars of Disney shows as role models reflects more on state of the culture.

Sent by Rick | 3:27 PM | 4-29-2008

Perhaps it's too much to expect of any teenager placed in her position. Can you remember what it was like to be 15? Every boy and girl wants to be 'sexy'.

Sent by js | 3:30 PM | 4-29-2008

How about boycotting these "roll models"? We do not expose our 7 year old daughter to these made up characters. We do not have cable. We choose to read, play outside, play games. Why do we have to expose our children to these "products" and this level of conformity? There are plenty of strong young men and women to expose out children to without turning on the tv.

Sent by Kate | 3:30 PM | 4-29-2008

I believe that recently many Disney starts have had issues with nude photos getting on to the internet. Nothing in the business is a mistake. This is a new trend with Disney and needs to be taken seriously. This is disturbing.

Sent by Vinnie | 3:30 PM | 4-29-2008

Miley is 15 and her years as a child star are coming to an end. Could it be she and/or her parents/manager is/are just setting herself up for a career as an adult. Alyssa Milano had the same thing happen to her. She was a child star but did full frontal nudity by the time she was 18-19. How is Miley's picture different than a swim suit picture? Is having a one half inch wide strap across the back modest and without it it's porn? I know she's topless under the sheet but did you know that people are naked under their swimsuits? You can't see anything in either case.

Sent by Bryan | 3:31 PM | 4-29-2008

Firstly, I am disappointed by the monolithic view that sexuality (a normal if difficult part of being a teen and eventually an adult) as un-"clean." Why do these young women have to be completely asexual in order to be "clean'? I think that sends a difficult message to young women. Furthermore, rather than blame these young women for somehow "slipping," we should consider our habits as consumers - what clothes, magazines do we buy? Who is really at fault (if indeed anybody is at fault)? And finally, instead of criticizing young actors, singers, and models for simply doing their job, why not look elsewhere for good role models for young women? Why is it that young women can all name actors and singers, but so few can name governors, astronauts, ecologists, CEOs, or even star women athletes? Actors are not role models. They are actors, and as such, should be doing whatever they must to keep in the game. Their job is not to raise your kids.

Sent by Rebecca Lindenberg | 3:32 PM | 4-29-2008

She's more covered in that photo than she would be in a bikini on the beach.

Sent by Doug | 3:34 PM | 4-29-2008

To echo Rick -- what is going on, when people are shocked, *shocked* by the behavior of a child who is exploited by her parents and major corporations for money and fame 24/7? I don't know this girl, I don't know her family. Why on earth would my children have her as a role model? Why would the behavior of a total stranger surprise me, whatever it is? My kids admire the inventor and science activist Dean Kamin. They admire the head of their ballet school, for her dedication, her accomplishments, her generosity, her demonstrated standards and her gracious behavior.

Sent by Stacy | 3:35 PM | 4-29-2008

The message is being very clearly sent to our daughters that they are only as valuable as their marketable sexuality. The only reason pictures like this sell is because of the large number of men that will drool over pictures of a naked child. I still wait for the day that girls are respected for something besides the size of their breasts and the shape of their body.

Sent by Terri Lepthien | 3:36 PM | 4-29-2008

American society is so two faced. So many products and services, entertainment are sold with a sexual slant. So when stars of either sex do a photo shoot, we expect them to be portrayed as kindergarteners, instead of young emerging adults. She was supervised by her adult guardians, she was not in truth nude and the magazine and the photographer are not doing anything different that with any celebrity. To paraphrase Charles Barkley "I am not your child's role model" America needs to get over its medieval prudeness. We dont scream and holler over all those lovely nude baby poses that are so proudly display in homes. People grow up. She has nothing to apologize for.
Nefer

Sent by nefer | 3:36 PM | 4-29-2008

Where has everyone been. Miley has been on stage with her father in very suggestive clothes. I think people choose to see what they want.

Sent by Gayle Zahnle | 3:37 PM | 4-29-2008

Everyone needs to get real. Disney controls their franchise with an iron fist. Everyone involved was aware of what they were doing. It's about time the American public opened their eyes to the fact marketing is only successful if we all buy into the product being sold to us. Just because Disney puts their name on it doesn't mean it's appropriate for children of all ages and it doesn't mean that it's wholesome entertainment. Parents need to get a grip and educate themselves about marketing and stop expecting a child who is owned by Disney to be role models. Role models have more to offer than expensive clothes and perfect make-up. Parents need to guide their children themselves, not expect a company who bows to its share holders to do it for them.

Sent by Etta Wilkins-Foster | 3:38 PM | 4-29-2008

All of the discussion seems to be about the "topless" photo, but the more suspect one to me is the one with her father. Looked more like a girlfriend than a daughter.

Sent by Dwain Wood | 3:40 PM | 4-29-2008

I'm not sure the photo reflected soft-core child porn so much as a PSA for abused children. The vulnerable turned back, the pale skin, the bruised mouth, the fearful, shy expression... the only thing missing is a phone number for social services.

Sent by Kristan C | 3:40 PM | 4-29-2008

Something that you haven't touched on is the very difficult issue of pedophiles. These kinds of sexualized images of young people feed their illness and sends the message that their sexual impulses toward children is normal. I've lived with a pedophile. These images are dangerous to our young people.

Sent by Jeane George Weigel | 3:40 PM | 4-29-2008

this Hannah Montana issue.

I just dont see what the big deal is

decency? I did not see anything that would be considered child porn.. I see more skin on the beach from both adults and children than I saw in the picture.

I feel its a society issue based on the culture. Somehow, people feel that this is the type of thing that can bring down the society.

One just has to turn on the national geographic channel and see whole tribes of people who are healthy and happy but oh my God, they are all nude, call child protective services!
reality, nothing wrong with nudity only with the impression of nudity

Now, I am not advocating that in our society we all walk around naked, its too late for that, we are already conditioned to view nudity as "evil" and it will not work...the attitude is already ingrained.

with that said, even in our society, I still dont see how the skin on a persons back is indecent

the logical conclusion to this attitude, IMHO, will be a society like the middle east where even showing skin on a wrist or showing your hair is considered indecent. Should the US have the decency police...will this calm people down?

Sent by Patrick Wilder | 3:42 PM | 4-29-2008

Hello. Have any of these people actually paid attention to media in the last 10 years and seen the sexualization of children? I'm utterly at a loss to think that these mothers suddenly noticed this phenomenon because the over-marketed Miley Cyrus wraps herself in a bedsheet for Vanity Fair. And why doesn't anyone put the blame squarely where it belongs: her parents. They were at the shoot. It wasn't like anyone was going to twist her parents' arms to get that particular pose. They had to sign off on it and they're ultimately responsible for the decision. Blaming Annie Liebowitz and VF is laughable.

Sent by L. L. Daugherty | 3:42 PM | 4-29-2008

Hannah Montana isn't a real person, she's a fictional character.

Miley Cyrus is a real teenager. Not a fictional one.

Maybe the parents who are so offended by the real teenager's behavior should take this excellent opportunity to point out to their children (and perhaps remind themselves) the difference between reality and make believe.

Parents should encourage their children to find role models that aren't the entirely fictional creations of a strictly for profit industry.

Sent by Dan Scott | 3:43 PM | 4-29-2008

Perhaps we should be discussing why society is trying to make our girls grow up before they are ready. The image is a beautiful image and I wouldn't mind my own daughter having a similar photograph, if she didn't look older than her age. It seems like fifteen is still that age where kids teeter between kid-dome and teenagers, why do we have to push them to become adults before they are REALLY ready. There are things in the media that are constantly pushing our children to act older than they really are, I just feel like this is the real issue and not the fact that she didn't have a shirt on!
And like I have heard so many people say already - it was Annie Leibovitz, what were people expecting?

Sent by Natalie | 3:49 PM | 4-29-2008

If the model really was misled, that is one thing. Other than that, this is art. It is lovely, poetic, and tastefully done. Did the public see her take her shirt off? No. Her family was there, it helps build her career, and is a display of beauty. How is this art any different the Greek statue "Kritios Boy"? Where the Greeks any less human?
Unfortunately, the older baby boomers get, the more they think everything is so young and ignorant. Face it boomers, you got old! Don't be Puritan and let people express themselves.

Let's get on to more important topics...

Sent by Al | 3:53 PM | 4-29-2008

Has anyone actually watched any of this child's program? I admit that I don't have a lot of experience with "Hannah Montana"...I can't stand the gender stereotyping that is foisted on such a young audience. The little I've seen gives me the creeps! I have two young cousins that are fed a steady diet of all Disney products, including "Hannah" and "High School Musical", and I've observed their ideas of what it means to be a "girl" change drastically over the years. If one wants to protect young women from oversexualization, turn off the TV.
I think of Annie Liebowitz, meanwhile, with great respect and the trust that I only repose in real artistic expression. I pose this argument: if, as I think, "Hannah Montana" is part of the same old machine of social propaganda, then isn't it possible that the young woman at the heart of this machine is even more indoctrinated than her audience? And isn't it possible that all of this outrage is a product of our disorientation, seeing a new representation of someone that we ourselves had pigeonholed? What Liebowitz has always done for me is to expose the narrow images that I've held of people that I assume I know for what they are: MY CONSTRUCT.
If one wishes that one's children have good role models as they determine their gender identity and sexual identity, join the feminist movement and be that role model oneself; don't expect any fifteen year old to make the choices that are expected, or safe.

Sent by Theodore Hoelter | 3:53 PM | 4-29-2008

I think the panelist had it right. COMPLETELY REGARDLESS of the fact that Miley is a Disney robot with folks who want to ride a gravy train. She is a 15 year old. Just as a photographer alleges that there is a difference between nude and naked, there is a difference between a 15 year old in a swimsuit and a 15 y.o. with no clothes on covered by a sheet. a 15 y.o. girl should not appear in any kind of magazine hugging a piece of cloth to her disrobed body. FOR HER AGE regardless of income and notoriety it's pornographic.

Sent by Andrew Wang | 3:53 PM | 4-29-2008

I am sick of the so called Miley Cyrus issue. If you were to call the draped photo pornographic, this country has really lost direction. The issue of age is just a cover for putting too much emphasis on celebrity and growing up in our current climate of pulling down successful persons. We routinely see more body just walking down the street in any major city and many small ones as well. Disney Corp is the worst offender just look at Lohan and Spears.
They make a billion dollars from promotion of the Montana franchise and if anyone is guilty of misuse, it is they not Vanity Fair. The media is in a frenzy as well and should bare some of the guilt for making a mountain out of a molehill. I may not be an art person, but I can see that the picture is ART not porn!!

Sent by austin m katz | 4:04 PM | 4-29-2008

After a quick scan, I detect one comment (none from the radio broadcast on NPR) that refers to the underage-girl outrage uncovered in Texas. Vanity Fair will have record sales of this issue as every pedophile in the world will be collecting copies. And, I'll be willing to bet that Vanity Fair will soon run an in-depth feature on the San Angelo predators. How do you spell hypocrisy?

To all the mothers who called in who "were disappointed" and those that compared the photo shoot to "art", I ask, "Would you allow an adult lesbian disrobe your 15-year-old daughter and take photos of her?"

Miley Cyrus is underage, millionaire star or not. The photographer is an adult, self-admitted lesbian, who had an underage girl disrobe for her.

Leibovitz, the magazine/photo shoot producer and the girl's parents should all be arrested on child endangerment, inappropriate sexual activity with a child and other related charges.

And, NPR should wake up to what's going on in the world of predators and child abuse.

Sent by Duncan Lee | 4:11 PM | 4-29-2008

The photo of Miley is a beautiful photo of a beautiful girl. Nothing about it is sexual in any way. If anyone sees anything sexual about it, it shows more about them than the subject of the photo or the photographer, just like how a Saudi might see something sexual in a woman showing her face or an Afgani Taliban might see something sexual in a woman showing her elbow. What's unhealthy is telling girls that they should be ashamed of their bodies and having to fear how much of their skin being shown will draw outrage from people like the Saudis and Taliban in our society. In countries like Sweden, women can comfortably take off their shirts in a park and sun themselves or take off their shirts in the open in department stores to try on clothes, and people in those types of countries are reported more happy than ours. We should move in that direction, not away from it. When anyone of any age is comfortable showing more of their bodies in public than the average person would, they should be applauded and not demonized.

What hurts child stars is not taking off their shirts, it is constant judgment by people and their constant fear of judgment. For their own good, lets stop scrutinizing the actions of child stars, and letting them be full fledged human beings like everyone else. Lets also stop being so cruel as to make any non-adult into a role-model. It is very unfair to them.

Sent by Chris Ege | 4:23 PM | 4-29-2008

Worse than the photos of Miley covered in a sheet...the very sexual photos of her with her father; not one mention of those! Sad to spend 40 minutes on this no news story and 20 minutes on Baghdad High!

Sent by Margaret | 4:27 PM | 4-29-2008

Blah blah blah. All over NOTHING. You should be ashamed, NPR/ToTN. That piece stunk.

Sent by Midtown2 | 4:38 PM | 4-29-2008

If I remember correctly, Suri Cruise had her debut in Vanity Fair with absolutely NO clothes and NO sheet and NO outrage. Like art: "it's in the eye of the beholder" and like Justice Potter Stewart on pornography "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it." So is the difference because we are not trained to see babies as sexual objects, but teenage girls have become fair game? Maybe we're projecting our own discomfort at finding sexual attractiveness in someone "off-limits" due to her age onto Ms. Cyrus.

As women, part of our biological maturation is discovering and finding power in our sexual attractiveness. I believe our job as parents and adults is to set limits for teens to help them learn how to deal with that biological imperative in a way appropriate for them and in the society in which they live. Maybe the best way for parents to deal with this is to use it as a tool to open a discussion with their own tweens on their burgeoning sexuality and setting those limits. The Cyrus' obviously had this discussion and made a decision based on what they were comfortable with. If her fans aren't comfortable with it, they should be free to apologize for not taking their views into consideration, but I don't think they need to apologize for the content of the pictures.

Sent by Amanda | 5:04 PM | 4-29-2008

After reading all of these comments, and feeling that at this point all has been said here, I have a couple of resources I can recommend regarding marketing images, sexualized images, body-image issues, and our society buying into them at very young and even very mature ages. "BITCH: Feminist Response to Pop Culture" has been whip-smart opining on the media-saturated, marketing-driven insanity pervading our culture ... and all that is wrong with it ... for over 10 years' now. Visiting their website and checking out the magazine (The current issue and many back issues are available, plus many articles, a blog, a book, and even more) will have the concerned feeling inspired to get active on advocating for a better culture that children, parents, and society as a whole can appreciate "equally." http://www.bitchmagazine.org Also, I want to add that The National Conference on Media Reform is coming up in Minneapolis in June. It, too, may address these aforementioned issues in their full weekend of discussions, presentations and speeches. For more on that visit http://freepress.org (Note: These are not advertisements, only recommendations)

Sent by Lori | 5:26 PM | 4-29-2008

Well, I was outraged so I went and checked it out, and I was even more outraged. Then I found a video of the photo shoot, and now I'm just upset with the media for sucking me into something that is riduculous. I mean, watch this video on you tube of the photo shoot, it was no big deal, the only people reading into this are the people mature enough to get excited about a "topless" 15 year old. By topless they mean WEARING A TOGA.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yewYDluy7Fs SEE WHAT YOU THINK!

Sent by J White | 6:46 PM | 4-29-2008

I think that if Miley Cyrus is ready for photos like this, then she should step off the disney wagon. Can't have it both ways....

Sent by Ellie D. | 7:48 PM | 4-29-2008

This is THE most over-hyped story I've heard in a while! Are we really such prudes and so desperate for salacious behavior that even a bare-backed 15-year old is somehow indecent?! Anybody been to the beach or the mall lately!? Or has anyone ever seen Annie Leibovitz' photos portraits before!?

Just seems like the media looking for another "scandal" to occupy air-time for a while. ...and even NPR fell right into it. "soft porn"???? Maybe it should have been a cotton sheet rather than a satin sheet. I don't have "tween" daughters or any particular interest in this at all other than a growing annoyance at this nonsense.

Sent by S Doerr | 9:58 PM | 4-29-2008

What I don't understand is with the economy tanking, gas prices on the rise, food prices rising, the election.
How about paying attention to the real issues at hand, instead of worrying about photos of someone who was with her parents, a real professional photographer- Annie Liebowitz, and her parents had to approve the photos.
Lets deal with real issues people.

Sent by Jennifer Schuler | 10:25 PM | 4-29-2008

The parents of an under-age girl sign her up to take pictures for an adult fashion magazine famous BECAUSE of their provocative and sexual images. Said parents (and sibling) are on the set the ENTIRE time, with a real-time view of all shots taken. All final photos are approved by both the girl and her parents prior to publication. Father of under-age girl is a media savvy and famous musician known for provocative and sexual performances.

Pictures are published, the public is offended. Parents decide that the magazine, the photographer, the company she works for, the media, society, mickey mouse, towels..etc are to blame. The public decide that the poor girl and her parents have been victimized.

This episode only continues to prove that personal responsibility and good parenting are no longer virtues in our society. After all, we now have millions of scapegoats.

Sent by Angela B Harrison | 10:34 PM | 4-29-2008

All of this makes me think of a song by the band Dishwalla called "Pretty Babies."

Everything about the world is sex
And it's a message, of popular culture
Telling all our children how to do it right
And all through their innocence you may ask yourself why?
why the need?
why the need to eroticize our children?
Oh our pretty babies
How they're ready
Oh our pretty babies
Oh how they're not ready
Just down the street in beautiful
There is tension, for a popular child
And it doesn't get much worse than that
In little beds in little rooms
Are the lost things, are the silver spoons
Why the need?
Can't you see all the damage that it's doing?
Oh our pretty babies
Oh how they're ready
Oh our pretty babies
Oh how they're not ready
And does it bother you to see her
Wrapped up?
Why the need?
And why the need to eroticize our children?
Oh our pretty babies
Oh how they're ready
Oh our pretty babies
Oh how they're not ready

Sent by Mark Visco | 12:41 PM | 4-30-2008

Every 15 year-old girl wants to be beautiful and looked at like a woman. Miley Cyrus is no different except she is a bazillionaire and famous. For all the things thrown at this 15 year-old girl, she is remarkable and has her head screwed on incredibly well. I think instead of beating her down, we should let her become a woman in peace. If some semi-racy photos are all she does wrong, we should ALL be so lucky with our own children. If she was wearing a bikini, which would show alot more skin than those photos, nobody would have said a word. This is the reason it is so hard for "stars" to be stars. They can not make everyone happy. Remember, she is a 15 year-old girl with more pressure than any of us will ever understand. Ease up on the girl, our young daughters don't have many real role models these days and I, for one, think Miley is one.

Lanora is clueless. She needs to pull her head out of the dirt. NPR should be ashamed for putting this woman on.

Sent by AJ | 1:14 PM | 4-30-2008

Hey, I know were a secular state, and I'm all for the First Amendment, but seriously, when did it become decent by anyone's standards to provocatively display a 15 year old girl in a nation wide magazine? I mean, I could be alone out here on my branch of morals, but something isn't right about suggestively portraying an "innocent" 15 yr old "good girl" in such a demeaning manner. What does this say about secular society and its immodest future? If thats her life's goal, go for it. But please, stop the production of all the hannah montanna products that fall into the hands of impressionable kids.

Sent by Topsey Krets | 1:28 PM | 4-30-2008

One of the callers mentioned that Miley's photos "weren't as bad as Britney or Christina" -- but where did Britney and Christina get their start? Disney.
It should also be noted that engaging in sexual behavior with a 16- year-old is considered predatory whereas the same behavior with an 18-year-old is not. The problem with the nudity under the bedsheet is not the nudity itself -- it would be a great picture if she were 18 -- the problem is that it portrays a child as a sexual object. Having been raped at the age of six, I can tell you that pedophilia is real, it is dangerous, and it can have diastrous emotional effects. Yes 15 is different than 6 -- but it's also different than 18. At this age, she can't even drive herself to the studio.

Sent by KHT | 2:20 PM | 4-30-2008

I'd like to point out that Billy Ray (Miley's dad) was present at the photo shoot. I took a look at the behind the scenes of the photo shoot in question. If Miley's dad and Miley are ok with the photo, I say it's fine.

Sent by Ayrin Zahner | 3:55 PM | 4-30-2008

This was an intelligent discussion of a dumb subject. My question: why are so many dumb subjects being discussed on NPR these days?

Sent by Elaine Mercer | 8:41 PM | 4-30-2008

We would not be offended if Miley were photographed in a bikini clutching a towel and the picture appeared in a teen magazine alongside a list of places she'd like to go to on a date and an admission of a crush on Zach Efron. If I were to take my Youth Group to a pool or waterpark (I'm a rabbi) they would spend the time talking about boys and flirting with the concession stand operator. It's normal for girls of her age to be interested in becoming an adult and in growing into a healthy sexuality, which is why they'd likely wear the smallest bathing suits possible. And I, as their chaperone, would be wearing my "mom" bathing suit with the shorts and full coverage or a loose cover-up. And, listening to their conversation, the most I'd say about the subject of daying is to remind them they have plenty of time to grow up & to reassire them that the ugly ducklings can grow to be swans. To go any farther than that -- to give even so much as a hint that I have any kind of sexual life of my own -- would be grossly inappropriate (and more than a little creepy). I mention this example to demonstrate that it's not her sexuality or near-nakedness that's the problem here. Here's where the problem comes in: by appearing in an adult-audience magazine in an adult pose, the magazine and her parents and her handlers have invited adults in where they don't belong, to participate as voyeurs in her sexual awakening, to view her as a sexual object and to step into the fantasy of sliding into bed with her. Some things should be off-limits, even when you're a multi-millionaire child star. She's too young to give her consent to any kind of sex act, including visual fantasy.

Sent by KHT | 8:23 PM | 5-1-2008

If you don't like it, don't look at it. Everyone will have a different perspective and I think it is ridiculous that NPR is covering it on 'Talk of the Nation'.

Sent by Kristine Ashpole | 11:53 AM | 5-5-2008

I listened to this episode and looked at the photo. I don't like it. It's artistic and I like the layout, but Miley looks terrible - like a scrawny vampire.

It isn't "pornographic," but it is too mature for a fifteen-year-old. If Miley was eighteen, which is legally an adult in the US, then I would be OK with it, but still would think she looks bad.

I don't think Miley, as a fifteen-year-old, has to be asexual or deny that she is developing into a woman, but she is still far from being a grown woman. Teens don't like to hear that - heck, *I* didn't like to hear that when I was a teen - but it's true.

She isn't the first teen to be exposed or exploited, others here have mentioned Brooke Shields, and sadly she won't be the last.

Sent by edam | 1:40 PM | 5-7-2008