Get Ready For Another Miley Cyrus Photo Shoot-Related Controversy

noah | July 15, 2009 12:00 pm

Even though Elle is ostensibly a magazine for adult women, 16-year-old Miley Cyrus is on the cover of its August 2009 issue. Perhaps the editors at Elle wanted to provide its readers over drinking age some mirth in these tough times by showcasing Cyrus’ ability to say things like “Because, like, literally this is going to be good for, like, Middle America, and it will be great for kids that really want to be in fashion but that don’t have it available” about her upcoming Wal-Mart clothing line, and produce those quotes while wearing a straight face? Or (more likely) maybe they just wanted to bask in the glow of controversy-stoked publicity from Cyrus’ photo shoot, which—like Annie Liebovitz’s Vanity Fair pictorial from a few months back—places the Disney star in some age-forward outfits and positions, like the bustier she’s wearing on the issue’s cover? A sample image: A typical head-scratching reaction to the photo shoot comes from Mediaite’s Ruthie Friedlander, who trots out the Law & Order: SVU comparisons at her broadside’s outset and gets even more concerned from there:

One might recall last year’s Miley Cyrus scandal in which Annie Liebowitz shot her topless from behind for Vanity Fair. A controversy erupted and VF got loads of attention (and an increased newsstand sales.) There is a big difference here, however. The VF shoot was almost entirely wholesome (depending on how you feel about that picture of Cyrus and her father) and both Cyrus and Liebowitz apologized that the controversial pic was “misinterpreted.” There can be no misinterpretation of the Elle shoot. It’s meant to be sexy, in an S & M sort of way. The leather and lace-clad Cyrus did not have a “grown up makeover” as the intro anticipates. We don’t see Cyrus wearing a chic Chanel suit or classy Zac Posen cocktail dress. She is not playing with her age, but dismissing it. Makeover – not so much. And Elle, there is NOTHING “chic” about a 16-year old in “leathers and studs.”

Well, the 16-year-old me, who wore leather studded boots when hitting up Motley Crue shows, would have disagareed with you, Ruthie. (Although I know it’s the placement of the leather and studs that’s more bothersome. Context!) To me, even more bothersome than the clothing she’s wearing (or not wearing) in the pictorial is this behind-the-scenes video of the cover shoot in which the tween queen looks pretty out of it, as if her whirlwind life of being styled and shifting her weight from one side to the other and looking at the camera is happening to her–she’s just a prop in it, which would explain why her eyes seem so dead. Why Elle would want to run that as any evidence of “glamour” behind the scenes is completely beyond me—perhaps it’s a coded message about the ill effects of early-onset stardom on a young girl’s ability to enjoy life? Revenge for her obviously lying about never having her teeth fixed to the magazine’s reporter? Or perhaps the really good footage is being saved for the next season of Stylista?Miley Cyrus Behind The Cover [Elle]Elle’s Creepy Miley Cyrus Photo Shoot [Mediaite]