Disney likes their child stars wholesome, a stipulation that contrast sharply with the day's era of bad boy and girl celebutants. Miley Cyrus' preemptive apology for the image presented by her recent Vanity Fair photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz is a perfect example of the challenges facing young stars these days.
The truth is that this controversy with Miley Cyrus has not taught us things anything we don't already know. There is no denying that while the photos may be very tasteful, the main issue is really about the conflicting ideals between making young girls sex idols while simultaneously trying to force them to maintain a wholesome image. Disney, Cyrus and her family want the young starlet to remain a good role model for young viewers but she is constantly being pushed into more and more adult atmospheres and situations.
If Cyrus were older, the photos taken by Leibovitz may not be an issue, but the fact is that the pictures were quite grown-up for a 15-year-old. Granted, at some point the world will have to accept that Miley Cyrus is growing up and as she does so, she should be allowed to be presented as a young woman as opposed to a little girl. Truthfully, I doubt these images would be such a big deal if it were not for Cyrus' age because they are not obscene; simply not age appropriate.
In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for Vanity Fair noted that Cyrus was accompanied by parents and/or guardians during the entire shoot during which they were able to see all of the photos. They even quoted Cyrus saying that she felt the pictures were "artisy" and didn't see anything wrong with them at all.
Of course this does not mean that as she makes the transition from a girl into womanhood that Cyrus' image must become less respectable. However, in this time of over-sexualized teen and tween idols, the line delineating what is age appropriate is increasingly blurred. According to one Hollywood gossip blog, Miley Cyrus has been shirking her wholesome image in other ways as well with pictures of herself suggestively showing off her bra and Gawker actually accused Vanity Fair and Annie Leibovitz of grooming Cyrus like pedophiles. I think that's taking it a bit far.
Be that as it may, it is entirely possible that Cyrus was simply caught up in the glitz and glam of everyone telling her she was beautiful and that the photos were great. As pointed out by Elisabeth Hasselbeck on "The View," hindsight is 20/20 and maybe Miley Cyrus and her family indeed thought the pictures were ok while on set, but changed their mind after thinking it over further. How many of us can honestly say we have not had moments like that?
At this point the best thing for Miley Cyrus and her PR team to do is continue doing damage control. Since the media has latched on to the story spinning it this way and that, it is up to Cyrus to defend her image, and making a public apology is always a good start.