BOSTON (CBS) – By now, everyone has an opinion on Miley Cyrus’s…whatever it was the other night on the Video Music Awards. And while I can’t cite any poll results for you, a spin around the internet suggests most people thought it was an embarrassment.
Among those who share that view is Brooke Shields, no stranger to the sleazy business of sexualization of children, if you recall her teenage Calvin Klein TV ads.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
Shields, who actually played Cyrus’s mother during her late, now-lamented days as the appealing teen pop star Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel, was on TV Monday saying: ‘I just want to know who’s advising her, and why [the racy display] is necessary…. [Our children] can’t watch that. I feel like it’s a bit desperate.”
No argument here, although it’s worse than that.
Researchers at the Center on Media and Child Health at Chidren’s Hospital say there’s ample evidence that the cultural sewage flow of child sexualization – racy clothes for little girls, graphic sexual images on video games aimed at young boys, etc. – has played a role in spurring earlier sexual activity and pregnancies.
So here’s my question – while the potential damage to young fans clearly doesn’t matter to Cyrus and her handlers, should it?
Does she have a responsibility to at least consider the potential fallout of her decision to wallow in the gutter? Or is it her privilege to do what she wants within the law, however tasteless or potentially irresponsible, and if others don’t like it, they can lump it?
I think the answer is clear – if you want to be a money-grubber without any sense of decency or caring about the consequences, you are free to do so.
We see it all the time.
But the rest of us are also free – to shun Cyrus Inc., avoid funding her vulgarity, and express our disgust.
Funny thing about freedom of expression – it cuts both ways.
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