How to talk to your teen or tween about Miley Cyrus' racy Vanity Fair photos.
The singer, 15, tells People: "My goal in my music and my acting is always to make people happy. For Vanity Fair, I was so honored and thrilled to work with Annie [Leibovitz]. 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."
"The pictures of me on the Internet were silly, inappropriate shots," she continues. "I appreciate all the support of my fans, and hope they understand that along the way I am going to make mistakes and I am not perfect ... My family and my faith will guide me through my life's journey."
The Disney Channel said "a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines." But Vanity Fair told ET "Miley's parents and/or minders were on the set all day. Since the photo was taken digitally, they saw it on the shoot and everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait of Miley."
Annie Leibovitz says she is sorry the photo has been "misinterpreted." "The photograph is a a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little makeup," she said in her released statement, "and I think it is very beautiful."
Momlogic spoke with Shannon Fox about the sexualization of young girls, and how to talk to your own daughter about her role model's racy pics.
Momlogic: Is there anything wrong with what Miley's doing, or is it just typical teen stuff?
Shannon Fox: It's wrong because Miley is a role model for so many young girls--many of them as young as 5 years old. She's really aware of her audience and her fans, and how much they look up to her. So as a role model, she has a completely different responsibility than an average 15-year-old girl does. Posing for shots like this when so many young girls follow your every move is a bit irresponsible.
Momlogic: Why are girls this age so sexualized?
Shannon Fox: One of the messages that girls these days get is that a girl becomes a woman when she is sexy. If a girl wants to be a grown-up, she puts on sexy clothes, takes a sexy photo, or maybe even has sex. Then, according to society, she'll be a grown-up. Graduating from high school or getting a job no longer make teens feel like adults--but being sexy does.
Momlogic: How do Moms talk to their kids about these racy pics?
1. Ask Questions. The best way to get a teen or tween to open up is to ask them questions. Instead of giving your opinion right away (like 'She's way too young to do this--she's only 15'), ask your teen, "What do you think about these pictures?" Then ask her if she's seen any photos like that of kids she knows online. Are her friends posting pics like this? If she says yes, ask her what she thinks about that.
2. Stress Consequences. Tell her the thing about pictures is that they last forever. It's nice to get attention, sure, but wouldn't she rather get attention for something other than looking sexy?
3. Get Real. If your kids are old enough, this is a good time to get the grossness factor in there. Say: "Pics like these can turn you into a form of pornography." Smacking kids with a little bit of reality will help bring your point home.
What do you think about the Vanity Fair pics?