Miley Cyrus has just retracted the apology that she gave in the wake of a ‘controversial’ photoshoot that appeared in Vanity Fair ten years ago.
The picture, originally taken by Annie Leibovitz in 2008 caused outrage when it was first published as fans claimed that the star, known for her role as Disney’s Hannah Montana back then, was being overly sexualised.
At the time Miley, aged 15, apologised, saying that she was ‘so embarrassed‘. This came after Disney’s statement in which they claimed that ‘a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines’. (Now what sort of an organisation would manipulate a child star like that I hear you ask?!).
Miley’s whole statement read: ‘I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be “artistic,” and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed. I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.’
Ten years later Miley has retracted her apology by sharing a photo of the New York Post’s front cover from April 28th 2008 reading ‘Miley’s Shame’ with a tweet: “IM NOT SORRY. Fuck YOU #10yearsago“.
As a child star, thrust into the limelight at an unimaginably early age Miley Cyrus has been subject to an overwhelming amount of attention. She went from the butter wouldn’t melt Disney Star of Hannah Montana and seamlessly morphed, like some sort of sexualised caterpillar, into the twerking butterfly that began shocking parents the world over.
By 2013 Miley was every bit the grownup, taking a literal wrecking ball to her Disney image.
And I was among those that screamed in outrage at the time. My whole book was inspired by the fact that society was conditioning young girls to applaud Miley Cyrus and all the women like her with their clean cut image but barely there short-shorts.
I went after Miley and all those that followed in her footsteps with all the anger I could muster. Of course what I didn’t realise at the time was that I wasn’t actually angry with her, I was angry with the society that had created her, more specifically with the people that had created her.
The people that she too seems angry with.
In an interview last July with Harper’s Bazaar magazine Miley talked about that time of her life and her latest rebrand which saw her pull away from the latex underwear, put her tongue back into her mouth and settle for just being her.
Of the twerking period she said in that interview: “People were so shocked by some of the things that I did. It should be more shocking that when I was 11 or 12, I was put in full hair and makeup, a wig, and told what to wear by a group of mostly older men,”
“In the beginning, it was kind of like saying, ‘Fuck you. Girls should be able to have this freedom or whatever.’ But it got to a point where I did feel sexualized.”
And that’s just it isn’t it? Miley Cyrus has lived a life that not only could we not imagine living, but one that I’m sure she has had very little control over. As we have seen with child stars the world over, it is only ever a matter of time before the cracks start to show.
Whether they turn to drugs as has been the case with Home Alone Star Macaulay Culkin, or drink as Lindsay Lohan did, there is always going to be a rebellion. A rebellion that most normal people go through as they approach adulthood and try to work out who they are, only most of us have the advantage of not being surrounded by more wealth than we know what to do with, a collection of ‘yes men’ and the realisation that whatever we do will be documented for the world to see
At 15 Miley Cyrus was told that she was going to be shooting a cover for Vanity Fair and that Annie Leibowitz was going to be taking the photo. That is a situation that no teenager has ever found themselves in before.
I don’t know what happened at that studio, but I don’t think it would be too big a stretch to assume that Miley had absolutely nothing to do with the decisions that were made. I would assume, as with most things that had happened in her life by that point, she would have been given instructions and she would have obliged.
As a minor though, I do know that she will not have gone to that photoshoot alone. She would need to have taken a guardian with her. And then, because she is Miley Cyrus and was about to be on the cover of one of the biggest magazines in the world, we could also conclude that as well as her guardian, there will have been an agent, a manager and probably a publicist there too. Disney would probably have known about the goings on as she all but belonged to them back then.
Disney, the brand responsible not just for Miley Cyrus but for both Logan and Jake Paul, the Youtuber brothers responsible for a sizeable chunk of all the controversy that platform has attracted in recent months.
So in a tweet this weekend Miley retracted the apology that she offered her fans all those years ago for the photoshoot that saw her pose in an ‘overly’ sexualised manner; naked but for a towel to hide her private parts.
An apology that she should never have had to give in the first place.
Because this could never have been her fault.
Disney said at the time that a ‘situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines’. With that in mind it was not the responsibility of the 15 year old to apologise. It was, and always will be, the responsibility of the people that create these situations in the first place.