It starts with what I think is one of the saddest posts I have ever read from TF Stern. Not because the topic is "sad" as such. It is sad because it shows a side of his character that I had not previously suspected.
His post is a commentary on the debate he was having at another site which debate includes the following comment...
I am a highly moral, spiritual person. I am a husband, a father, and a stepfather. I pay my taxes and am law-abiding in every way. I try to live an honorable, spiritual, moral life, and I believe in this amazing nation and the wonderful freedoms this country has given me through the Constitution. I am not a Communist or a Socialist.
I am also not a Christian, never have been and never will be. If somehow you believe that makes you superior to me in any way, then, sir, you are nothing but a bigot...
I need add nothing more to that.
The subject is, and it is saddening to an extent, the "Miley Cyrus" affair, concerning a photograph that appeared on the cover of a wide circulation American magazine. It shows a (world famous in America) girl in very next to nothing. That is all that you are going to hear from me - no link, no further publicity...
Amongst all of the heat, smoke and mirrors todays Sunday Star Times includes an op-ed by Rosemary McLeod and - without her pernmission - I want to quote the opening few paragraphs.
What bollocks this Miley Cyrus controversy is - and what a sad signal for young women
Last week the great Vanity Fair photographer Annie Liebowitz actually had to apologise for taking a particularly lovely photograph of the girl, the girl had to publicly repent, Disney suffered a corporate heart attack, Vanity Fair became the Antichrist, and her parents had to beg the world’s forgiveness. All this because the 15-year-old was photographed with a bare back, suggesting that – God forbid! – she might not have had a bra on.
The photograph is a stunning portrait of a young woman on the vulnerable brink of adult life. Once, such an attractive subject and theme would have made for a much-admired painting. Today we take photographs. We even put them on magazine covers. Enjoy.
The trouble is not Miley, but adults’ attitude to the transition from childhood, through the perilous time – post puberty – that nobody remembers without pain and awkwardness.
Rosemary concludes -
So she represents innocence? Miley’s favourite TV programme is Sex and the City. She lives in a country where you can buy "trainer" bras for seven-year-olds, and where everyone who can pay for them has neon-white teeth. With minimal effort, this churchgoing girl can be exposed to as much pornography as she is Christianity.
We made the world she is entering, though we judge her. And we’ve made the climate in which a girl like her can rightly fear becoming what she is designed to be: that scary thing, a woman.
I have a now 30 year old daughter who went through the same process that Rosemary talks of and I accept her word for the self-conciousness and near embarrassment that girls of that age experience. I can recall my Kath getting extremely upset simply because I photographed her in her bathing suit (from behind and without her knowledge). Her major objection - I look fat...
Now, from the same newspaper, comes this article; a sad commentary on attitudes to women and the abuse of female sexuality indeed. Do you think that we will ever see nude male newsreaders? Or nude males on the cover of Vanity Fair?
No, for the simple reason that at least 50% of the population over the age of 25 would be laughing their heads off. And that, I submit, is something that the male psyche just could not bear.
Sorry, TF. You have got it wrong. What is just as sad is that some of the commenters to both your post and the one you take issue with have just got it so wrong or even wronger. Don't get me wrong here. I do not countenance pornography in any shape or form. There is a difference - and this is part of Mcleod's commentary - between that and true art. Like so many things, it is not a sharp delineation. That needs to be considered. But to blame Liebowitz for a pornographic image is wrong. That is in the eye of the beholder.
In the meantime, consider this example - tell me whether you think it is "pornographic" or not...
It centres on a 19 year old lass who came third in a national "beauty contest". She was interviewed (fully clothed) on tv on Friday night. You might catch it here if you want.
She is a student at Massey Uni, studying science. The uni interviewed her for their publicity magazine and asked for a portfolio of photographs. The one that was selected for the cover of the issue including the interview showed the lass in - horrors!! - a bikini!!