Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Miley Cyrus "Scandal"

You can't turn on the TV this week without hitting a report about the latest "scandal" involving Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana. Some pictures have surfaced from a photo shoot that Miley did for Vanity Fair magazine. Along with some kinda sorta creepyish pictures of her posing with her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, there is an image of Miley posing topless, covering up with what looks like a bed sheet. It's understandable that an image like this would be considered provocative by some people, but with the insane level of coverage of this "scandal", you would think that Miley had released a video of herself having a threesome with a couple of transsexual little people or something.

First of all, there are quite a few people in the media who need to just shut up about this altogether. If the ladies of The View want to weigh in, okay. (I'm not actually going to watch the clip of them discussing this, and instead will just assume that I agree with Whoopi Goldberg and save myself the aggravation.) If E! News and Entertainment Tonight want to obsess? Fine. But Neil Cavuto and Bill O'Reilly? No. Shut up about it. Talk about the election, the recession, the war--you know, actual news stories? I know you're not very good at covering those things intelligently either, but we have to draw the line somewhere.

On the one hand, I understand the argument that some people are making that this image of Miley is inappropriate because of her age, and that it's another example of the hypersexualization of young girls in our society. Young female celebrities shouldn't feel like they have to be sexy, especially in ways that they're not comfortable with, in order to stay popular.

But on the other hand, I'm not entirely sure that's exactly what's happening here. The picture was shot by photographer Annie Leibovitz, who released this statement.
"I'm sorry that my portrait of Miley has been misinterpreted. Miley and I looked at fashion photographs together, and we discussed the picture in that context before we shot it.

"The photograph is a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little make-up, and I think it is very beautiful."

Miley's parents were on the set during the shoot, so it seems that they were okay with the photo, and Miley doesn't look uncomfortable in this behind the scenes shot from Vanity Fair's website. She just looks like a teenager goofing off and having fun.

Some people have argued that Miley is giving a 'come hither' look in the picture, or that because it shows her 'topless' with messy hair and little makeup it is obviously meant to look like some sort of post-coital afterglow morning after suggestive thing. I think it's a little bit of a stretch to turn Miley into Lolita. Maybe the picture was trying to depict a 'morning after'--the morning after a Hannah Montana concert or a long day of filming the TV show or doing interviews, when all of the fake hair and makeup and crazy 'rock star' clothes are stripped away and Miley is just...Miley, a 15 year old girl. Maybe that's what the picture was trying to convey. As a society, do we always need to jump the most 'dirty' and 'slutty' and 'shocking' and 'scandalous' explanation, especially where women are concerned? I know, silly question.

So is the lesson now that not only is the image of Hannah Montana a marketable thing (which has already been slapped onto every product imaginable), but also that Miley herself is a product, not a person? On the Vanity Fair site, she is asked after the shoot if she's worried about the photo and her answer is: “No, I mean I had a big blanket on. And I thought, this looks pretty, and really natural. I think it’s really artsy.” Assuming this was really her honest reaction to the image, what's happened now is that we've told a teenage girl who posed for a picture and thought that it was art and thought that she looked beautiful that she's not beautiful, that she should be ashamed. That by exposing her bare back and shoulders--less than what people would see if she went to the beach in a bikini, really--she has let her fans down and set a bad example and she should apologize. Which she did.

Cyrus, who is on course to be worth a billion dollars by the time she turns 18, said: "I took part in a photoshoot that was supposed to be 'artistic'. Now, seeing the photographs, I feel so embarrassed.

"I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologise to my fans who I care so deeply about."

The Disney Channel criticised Vanity Fair, claiming it had "deliberately manipulated a 15-year-old". But the magazine defended the pictures. "Miley's parents and/or minders were on the set all day," it said.

"Everyone thought it was a beautiful and natural portrait of Miley."
I'm not saying that the picture is above criticism, although I think the level of criticism in this case is excessive. In fact, all of the over-the-top fussing about the scandal of it all, and the nature of the criticism from some conservative groups about Miley as a bad role model all comes together to obscure the real issues about young girls and sexuality and the conflicting messages that they get from the media and from society. It also obscures the fact that if too much sexiness is unhealthy for young girls, so is too much shame. So is the lesson that you don't own your body, that you don't have control, that society has the right to tell you what to do with it and how to feel about it. Us older chicks all know where those lessons can lead.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Boring Rock of Love Season 2 Reunion

Last time around we listed our Top "WTF Moments" of the Rock of Love reunion. This season, the reunion (you know, like the show itself) was incredibly boring.

So here, briefly (very briefly) are our top "Non-WTF Moments"... booooring.

Angelique gives Bret a lap dance... but fails to get naked. BORING.

Jessica didn't get any stage time whatsoever. BORING.

Daisy and Heather get in a fight, but no one actually gets hurt. BORING.

Peyton performs and it doesn't suck. In fact, it's actually good. Which is kinda cool... but nothing to make fun of so it's still... BORING.

Kristy Jo and Aubry's "hot girl-on-girl action" was not entertaining... or hot. BORING.

"Jackye" actually spells her name the normal way ("Jackie") and that whole crazy spelling was just a typo on the show. BORING.

Bret and Ambre are still "dating" (or at least pretending to be dating). BORING.

Heather's hair was not only straight, but partially covered by a Bret-style headband. BORING

Destiney is well... awesome. She's selling condom tins or something like that (no barbecue sauce like Rodeo) and had enough sanity to not get Bret's name tattooed on her (opting for the ROL logo instead) and not tell Bret she loved him after only a few weeks. So yeah, we love Destiney and we wish she won... but are glad that she didn't win because then she'd be, ew, dating Bret Michaels. However, all this love we have for Destiney... is still pretty BORING.

So that's about it. The reunion was a big snooze-fest. Okay wait, maybe there was one "WTF" moment....

(We stole that pic from the VH1.com Celebreality blog).

 we're sure this blog entry has put you to sleep... consider it your ESC bedtime story and now drift off dreaming of silicone and hair extensions. Goodnight.

Rock of Love: Season 1
Watch Rock of Love Now
Buy Rock of Love Now

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Random Reality Rant

I just saw a commercial for the new Vh1 reality show Celebracadabra, and I just need to talk through my feelings a little bit.
Get ready for VH1's new series Celebracadabra; a celeb-reality challenge unlike any other. 7 stars team up with 7 professional magicians in a race to become the ultimate celebrity magician. Watch as Celebrity Fit Club host Ant, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt, comedian Hal Sparks, singer Carnie Wilson, 80s icon C. Thomas Howell, Kid N' Play's Chris "Kid" Reid, and actress Lisa Ann Walter duke it out while learning tricks that can take the masters years to master.

Street Magic, Children's Magic, Comedy Magic, Cabaret Magic, Strolling Magic, Phobia Magic -- our celebs do it (or at least attempt to do it) all. Their work will be judged by a panel of 3 superstar magicians. Each week, one of the celebrities will be eliminated, until the final two battle it out in Las Vegas for our Grand Illusion finale.

Who will be the Ultimate Celebrity Sorcerer and take home a grand prize of $100,000? Find out this season on VH1's Celebracadabra.

So $100,000 is the going rate for dignity these days?  Good to know.  Are people really even that jazzed to watch magicians, let alone washed up D-listers trying and failing at being magicians?  And with cast members like C. Thomas Howell and a Pussycat Doll, aren't they really pushing the concept of "celeb"reality to its limits?  And Carnie Wilson on another reality show, really?  I mean, really?  Shouldn't she be spending her time seeing if the reunited New Kids On The Block will let Wilson Phillips open up for them on tour?  And Hal Sparks, I know it's been awhile since I Love the 90s and there's probably no Queer as Folk reunion in the works any time soon, but is this really necessary?  Couldn't you at least wait for the next Surreal Life?  What's next, Celebrity Crochet Club?

I'm just bitter, is all.  On the bright side, at least there won't be any creepy incesty dance numbers like on Your Mama Don't Dance.  And nobody will be attempting to sing country music like on Secret Talents of the Stars or Gone Country...which, wasn't Carnie Wilson on that show too?  I think I need to go lie down.

Wait, I just read on feministing that the WE channel is airing a new show called Bulging Brides ("the perfect day is still pounds away!"),
a quality bit of programming "in which women buy wedding dresses two sizes too small, and rely on a drill-sergeant-like trainer to get them to lose the weight by their wedding day".  Wow, that's just great, I feel so much better now.

Oh yeah, the second season of A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila is also premiering soon.  I fully believe that this time she'll really make a meaningful connection with someone and go on to have a very happy, mature and successful relationship until it's time to start casting for A Shot at Love Season 3.  And I heard a rumor that Domenico, the Italian guy that Tila eliminated in season one, got his own dating show called That's Amore that involved challenges like diving into giant pools of spaghetti to collect meatballs, and seeing which girl (with the help of her parents!) could suck the most cream out of a cannoli, but I don't believe such stories could possibly be true.

Also, the fact that there are two former cast members from
Saved By The Bell now hosting dance-themed reality shows, but only one Beverly Hills 90210 cast member doing the same must create some sort of imbalance in the universe.  We need to fix this right away.  Luke Perry could host a celebrity ballet competition, or Shannen Doherty could do a show where people go around and try to start dance off contests in the street.  Think about it, Vh1.  You need to make up for the fact that you've not only allowed Danny Bonaduce to star in his own reality show, but are now letting him host one.

All of this almost makes us wish for the return of Mystery and his fuzzy, feathery, bemeshed wardrobe and his goofily nicknamed sidekicks and his stupid made up words and phrases and his fakey manhood medallions.   Almost.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Rock of Love Drinking Game (Season 2)

The Rock of Love 2 finale was last night. And oh my god you guys, he like, totally chose Ambre! It was so exciting! We think it's real love this time!! Woooo!

Are we convincing you that we care yet!?

For those of us who want to hang on until the bitter end, the reunion show is this weekend. and you know what that means... one last chance for something interesting to happen. It also, of course, means it's marathon time. (And even if they don't air a marathon before the reunion, you know we'll be watching this show in reruns for the next few months.)

Last year's Rock of Love Drinking Game was insanely popular, so we thought we'd give you alcohol poisoning one more time! Since Season 2 has been so boring compared to Season 1, we recommend you drink at least 8 drinks before show show starts. That will make the whole thing much more enjoyable.

Take a drink every time:

-You hope for Heather to show up. (Note: If you get to the point where you start wishing Lacey would show up, check yourself into Promises).

-You see Ambre and wonder "how the hell did Bret ever buy that she was only 31?"

-Bret's "hair" startles you.

-Kristi Jo cries.

-Kristi Jo talks about an ex-husband or a restraining order.

-Someone talks about Kristi Jo still being legally married.

-Someone talks about Daisy still living with her ex-boyfriend.

-Daisy starts in with the mumbles and crazy arms.

-Bret "has doubts".

-Bret calls Inna his Ukranian love tank or love bus.

-Angelique ("Frenchy") gets naked.

-You see Aubry and think it's Alexis Arquette.

-Megan looks like she is smelling something foul.

-Someone says Jessica is too "young" or "innocent". (Drink twice if they use both words together; drink three times if they also mention not being able to handle Bret's "lifestyle").

-Someone calls Destiney a groupie.

-You wonder what was wrong with Destiney and Ambre's parents when they were spelling their names.

-Someone gets a drink thrown at them. (If it's Daisy, drink twice and then throw a drink at someone in the room).

-Someone goes on about how they're "here for Bret".

-Someone refers to Bret by his full name "Bret Michaels".

-Peyton or Catherine lose a challenge.

-Destiney yells at someone.

-Someone claims to have really deep feelings - even love - for a man they barely know.

-You compare one of the girls to someone from last season, like 'Peyton is totally the new Rodeo' or 'Inna is just a poor man's Magdalena'.

-You wish that Bret would just pull a Kelly Taylor "I choose me" ending and start fresh with a new group of women.

-You start thinking about other 'rock stars' that might make a good replacement for Bret next season.

-You wonder if maybe that girl who passed out drunk and missed the first elimination ceremony was actually strangely the smartest one in the bunch.

-You think about how sucky this season was compared to last season.

Just kidding about that last one.  We don't want any of our readers getting alcohol poisoning, we just want to threaten you with a good (drunk) time.  Enjoy the reunion!

Rock of Love: Season 1
Watch Rock of Love Now
Buy Rock of Love Now