Miley Cyrus is a billion dollar Walt Disney franchise viewed and idolized by 164 million kids, aged 6 to 14, all over the world. Her show, Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel, is recognized as one of the last vestiges of home entertainment for kids that parents can be totally comfortable with and trust for its good values; represented by the program's main character. Over the past several days, Miley Cyrus racked up a surge in popular hits on the internet with photos revealing a lot more skin which could lead to pneumonia. And parents have raised a furor at being betrayed.
The once squeaky clean star had posed partially draped with a satin bed sheet for Vanity Fair, lighting up the internet and media outlets. Cyrus issued an apology for the inappropriate photos. Making matters worse is the accompanying story that suggests sexual undertones, citing a favorite show of hers on HBO, Sex and the City. Disney alleged that she was manipulated by the publication to sell magazines. The controversy was fueled further by photos of Cyrus pulling her shirt to reveal a green bra and another where she rests on the chest of a man with the man's hand on her hip.
For 2 years, Disney has reaped a gold mine from Cyrus' allure of innocence, and keeping her that way is their business model and decision. Parents have vested their trust in her, and violating this would be difficult to regain. Fuming parents who pay for expensive concert tickets and a variety of Hannah Montana merchandise are frustrated by the uphill battle they're fighting against values being presented to children. This public relations horror has threatening consequences for Disney that may end the gold standard for inoffensive child entertainment they had a claim to.
There is a constant stream of role models for children who have disappointed their fans and confused them further. This is no different. Cyrus may have been manipulated into believing this was artistic. But the suggestion of a partially clothed pose communicates being sexy is being undressed, and it's acceptable even for Hannah. How can the 6, 7, or 9 year old fans react to this? A statement claimed she was embarrassed during the shoot, but a behind the scene photo says otherwise. She does not need to undress to be popular nor to be a star, she already is. Neither does she need to undress to show her growing into adulthood, everyone knows she's 15. What drove her to agree to this racy shoot?
It's astonishing how how fast these young celebrities become adored role models of godliness, sound values, and wholesome personification of their show business characters. Nurturing such a position seems farthest from their minds once the hormones kick in. The want to be sexy, attract the opposite sex, and fantasize about it. It may be the pervasive culture of fun and freedom distorted by the predatory business practice of profit and greed. Anything and anyone can be sold, for the right price. And the once angelic role model switches to a new role, turns from her loyal fans, does what she wants with her life and her body, drops everything and removes her clothes. She expects to hear "Hooray for your daring! Cheers for your independence! Congratulations for coming of age!" She is now at the threshold of her worst nightmare.