Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pomocon does Miley Cyrus

Ummm, maybe I should rephrase that? At any rate, Post-Modern Conservative James Poulos semi-defends the bare-back photos of the 15-year-old Disney starlet:
The photo of Miss Cyrus is a very pretty photo and very tasteful, but it is also a worshipful celebration of the fecundity of the pubescent female body, and the pre-legal body at that. Which would hardly be a problem if we didn't live in a culture in which 'worship' seems to mean corrupting unceremoniously and kicking to the curb. We have a major problem here: the cognitive dissonance involved in sexualizing ever-younger girls issues in an unholy amalgam of mini Madonnas and major whores. Poor Miley, caught in the crossfire: despite our heroic efforts to the contrary, it is still sometimes impossible to have one's cake and eat it too.
Once upon a time, I observed that there are two sides in the Culture War: parents and everybody else.

You simply cannot understand why Michelle Malkin, to cite one example, rages against the pornification of popular culture until you've tried to raise sane and decent kids amid the tsunami of smut that's swept into our society.

It's not that we're prudes. (Malkin once said "balls" on national TV, for crying out loud.) I don't get apoplectic at the raunchiness of Ace of Spades HQ and I myself enjoy the fun of "babeblogging." But kids don't read blogs, Ace is not yet an influential role model for teenagers, and Malkin was referring to "testicular fortitude," not appealing to prurient interest.

The protest against the Miley Cyrus VF photo is not about just that one photo, but about the general trend of which it is a part. And every parent knows what it's like to try to fight this trend.

I could cite a litany of unwelcome pop-culture intrusions into the parenting process, but how about this: The grocery store. That's right, the grocery store -- a seldom-mentioned battleground in the Culture War.

When our firstborn child was about 7, I took her with me to the grocery store. When we got to the checkout line, we were standing there waiting our turn when I happened to notice my 7-year-old daughter staring at the magazine rack. Suddenly, I realized that she was reading the cover blurbs on Cosmopolitan: "Seven Sex Secrets To Drive Him Wild," etc.

Well, excuse my Piaget, but if that's not developmentally inappropriate, I don't know what is. Bad enough that the grocery stores put the cookies on the same aisle with the breakfast cereal, but does my 7-year-old need to be propagandized by Helen Gurley Brown in the checkout line?

It's psychologically unhealthy and, once you're a parent, you start noticing that popular culture is constantly bombarding kids with such developmentally inappropriate messages. I mean, what's up with those ads for Cialis during the football games? What sort of psychic trauma is being inflicted on boys as they ponder the possibility of going to the doctor for treatment of a 4-hour erection?

Among the pop-culture provocations that parents have to deal with, Miley Cyrus's Vanity Fair picture probably doesn't rank among the all-time Top 10. But parents can't allow it to go unprotested, because what's next? Dora the Explorer in Hustler?

I joke, but this is a serious problem in our hypersexualized society -- how to keep this stuff from warping the healthy, normal development of children. It's not just "right-wingers" or "fundies" who are concerned about this, either. It's practically all parents, but especially parents of girls who want their daughters to grow up to be something better than Ashley Alexandra Dupre.

So, yeah, I know about "art." Hell, I minored in art in college, and am a huge fan of such 19th-century neoclassicists as William Bouguereau (no stranger to the nude maiden, he) but do we really need "artistic" photos of Hannah Montana?

"Dora, there's a Mr. Flynt calling on Line One ..."

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