Teenager Shows Back; World Explodes

30 04 2008

There are few things the mainstream media does better than feigning outrage. And the outrage-of-the-week now? 15-year-old Miley Cyrus posed for some supposedly “salacious” photos where she shows her back. And her bare shoulders.

Cue moral panic. The mainstream media (not to mention the not-so-mainstream media) has gone into a frenzy about how the pictures are “kiddie porn”,  and how it’s an example of how we’re “sexualizing” the young’uns.

The latter can sometimes can be a legitiamte complaint, although it’s horribly infanitlizing at times. I mean, people tend to forget that I am only a year or two older than Miss Hannah Montana herself. And implying older teenagers can only be “sexualized”, instead of occasionally expressing their own sexuality is a little insulting. Because we all know teenagers, especially teenage girls, aren’t supposed to have any semblance of sexuality that they actually express themselves. Lest, you know, one of us ends up pregnant. Or having (gasp) a male attracted to us. It’s all so horribly heteronormative, not to mention sexist.

Have you ever noticed how often females, between the ages of, say, 15-25 are referred to as children? You know, referring to a 19-year-old as a “teenage girl”, and how everyone seems to call people of my gender and age range “child”, “little girl”, “baby” (as in “You’d be a baby having a baby!”), but almost never as a “young woman”? And how males of the same age are almost invariably referred to as “young men”? Most people wouldn’t dream of calling a 17-year-old male a “little boy” or “child”.

This is not me trying to grow up too fast. This is me trying to get people to have some basic respect for my intelligence and maturity. And I really do wish people would acknowledge, without panicking, that teenagers do think about sex and sexuality, and no, it’s not always a bad thing!

As anyone who knows me can attest to, I wear t-shirts and jeans most of the time. I rarely wear makeup, except for a bit of lipstick once in a while. But I also own a miniskirt or two, a couple low-cut tops, and some other miscellaneous clothing that could be termed “revealing”. It does not make me feel good to know that if I choose to wear something strapless or backless, I’ll be held up as an example of media brainwashing, or the moral decay of society.

And no, it is not about me having low self esteem or wanting to pick up guys. You know, because gays couldn’t actually, like, exist or anything! I rarely “dress to impress”, when I do, it’s usually because I want a cute dyke to notice me. But I rarely do that. But you know what? There’s nothing actually wrong with wanting to feel “sexy” once in a while. I hardly think my looks are all I am.

Dressing a certain way does not make someone vacuous or stupid. In fact, if you think wearing something slightly revealing means someone is being reduced to a “sex object”, I think you may be the one with the sexist attitude.