Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Best of Both Worlds?

Much media controversy has erupted this week over photos of the star of Disney’s Hannah Montana, aka, Miley Cyrus in the upcoming June issue of Vanity Fair. In the photo, she is sitting down. Her back is naked and she is clutching a sheet to her chest. Her lipstick is a little smeared, her hair is messed up and damp, she is clutching a sheet to her naked chest and looking at us with a sly look on her face. Unless they think we are stupid, it is fairly clear what Vanity Fair has in mind here

Naturally, Disney blames the magazine. Cyrus has apologized, saying it seemed artsy at the time but now she’s embarrassed. Disney has moved into damage control, concerned its billion dollar franchise may be in jeopardy.

Needless to say, with two young girls (6), (4), in my home who watch and love Hannah Montana, I am really very disappointed and hope my own little girls are not exposed to this. (We have be watching less and less of her now I think) I don't need them thinking like some teen that they need to have some racy pic or be this or that in order to be popular. I want my children to know they are valued and loved by God without the pressure of having to be this or that.

I did like what one fellow Christian blogger wrote about this:
The shame lies with their parents. What on earth are THEY thinking? They are supposed to be the grownups here. You know, the ones who are supposed to be protecting and guarding their children? And Cyrus' father let her pose like that? Do they become so star struck or money struck that they become blinded to simple things like... oh... the fact that someone is taking semi-nude pictures of them to be printed in a magazine? I've got daughters. I know what I would do if anyone suggested that they wanted to take "artistic" photos of them draped in nothing but a sheet. Suffice it to say I'd need to repent for violence.”

Sadly, I doubt that any of this will lead to much serious debate and discussion about the very real problem of the oversexualization of children and the cult of celebrity in our society. The sexualization of teens is becoming a sicker and sicker slippery slope. Our society is rapidly becoming obsessed with underage girls in sexually-suggestive poses and revealing attire.

Of course Hannah Montana is a G-rated creation of the Disney Entertainment Factory, and an apparent role model for children her age. This "role model" told Vanity Fair in this interview that the steamy HBO series “Sex in the City” is her favorite TV show. Shocked? Don't be. It is now standard operating procedure for young girls to be used as sexual objects.

This trend is examined in the powerful new book, Girls Gone Skank: Sexualization of Girls in American Popular Culture by Patrice A. Oppliger who is an assistant professor of mass communications at Boston University.
Instead of advancing women's social and professional empowerment, popular culture trends appear to be backsliding into the blatant sexual exploitation of women and girls at younger and younger ages. Following in the footsteps of Hollywood celebrities gone wild, young girls are doing more and more outrageous behaviors for male attention. YouTube videos and MySpace pages posted by teens and even preteens are often outrageous attempts to get attention from total strangers. This study investigates the effects of mass marketed sexual images and cultural trends on the behaviors and attitudes of young girls and describes many ways in which young girls are increasingly taught to go to outrageous lengths in seeking male attention. Topics include the powerful effects of cultural phenomena such as revealing fashions, plastic surgery, and beauty pageants in influencing teen and preteen girls to willingly participate in and promote their own sexualization. These chapters also explore other cultural factors contributing to this early sexualization of young girls, including absentee parenting and material overindulgence. Later chapters focus on the sexual representations of females in the mass entertainment media, focusing specifically on how popular magazines, television programs, films, and the Internet prey upon, promote, and reinforce young girls' physical and sexual insecurities."

Maybe the real problem here is truly in the title song of Miley’s biggest hit, she trying to live in "The Best of Both Worlds." For Christians, the battle between Satan and God is the same way. God offers us a wonderful life on earth, salvation and all the spiritual blessings we could ever need, plus life eternal. Satan offers nothing but hell. People try to play the same game. They try to straddle the fence and appease both. Satan, though, will almost always be the victor in this game. And we will be left with nothing but pain and loss.

The apostle John inspired of the Holy Spirit warned: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.“ (1 John 2:15-17)

Those are some of my thoughts. What do you think?

p.s. I was going to post the pictures here. But I decided I didn’t want the nasty men looking for kiddy porn on my site!!


kingdomseeking said...

Yes and it is increasingly difficult to clothing shop for our little girls and find clothing that allows the glory and beauty of their Creator to show forth rather than inch-deep, eroticized beauty that our culture values.

And what amazes me is that both father Cyrus, the photographer, and Vanity Fair, have the legal right to allow such a picture to be taken and published. I understand the right to free speech (which is what they would argue) but as a culture we seem to have forgotten that along with our rights as people comes high responsibility. This is a prime example of exercising one's right in a most irresponsible manner.

Grace and peace,


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments. I agree with everything you said. Yet, even though we have the right to "free speech" in the constitution, the Supreme Court has continued to affirm (thanks to the conservative wing of the court, i.e. Scalia, Roberts, etc.)that public nudity, pornography, excessive profanity, etc. in the public arenea (such as on the street corners, parks, etc. and also through government regulated and supported airwaves and TV, etc.) The fact of the matter is that the founding fathers and framers of the constitution would be shocked and probably outraged, if they saw how the constiutation is being applied especially regarding the belief that such is completely protected without much censorship. These rights no doubt in their minds did not give a license to the kind of unrestricted "freedom" which many in our culture, media, etc. have embraced and assumed in the public circle of soceity.

And so, your actaully right about with freedom comes responsibility. As Christians, the Bible tells us to not use our freedom to "indulge the sinful nature, rather serve one another in love." (Gal. 5:13)

May the church of Jesus Christ always strive to set the example and be an influence and model of purity and exercising freedom for righteousness sake!

Take care brother,