Taylor Lautner & Miley Cyrus: a double standard?

I’m not normally that familiar with Hollywood intrigue until it reaches the level of “unavoidable news,” and this bit I am about to mention is related to all of this “Twilight” junk, so I have ample reason to have no interest in it at all.

But I do find this interesting and would be happy to hear your thoughts, as well.  Apparently, someone (read about it here if you feel so compelled) has pointed out that in promoting the new “Twilight” movie, pictures of a shirtless 17-year-old (male) Taylor Lautner are everywhere (not to presumed mention the scenes in the movie), yet no one raises a fuss.

The question being asked: Is this a double standard?  15-year-old female Miley Cyrus appears with bare back and the world is on fire (I commented on the matter myself here: “In the Miley Cyrus flap, where’s critique of Leibovitz?” — which, in turn, was cleaned up and made into a Living Church of God commentary.), but 17-year-old, also-a-minor male Taylor Lautner appears shirtless and no one bats an eyelash?

I admit, I do find the question interesting.  The problem, of course, is deeper than these questions make it appear: the sexualization of childhood — including the teenage years — is wrong, period.  And while there was a huge flap about Miley posing with her back exposed, the fact is that the teenage years (including age 15) have been sexualized at least as long as there have been movies about hormone-riddled high schoolers.  Miley’s back and Taylor’s chest aren’t the problem, they’re the symptom.

I’m sure some will make excuses…  “Taylor’s a boy, and boys swim shirtless all the time — what’s the big deal?”  Indeed, they do.  And while there’s more to say about that than I will say here, there is a difference between two boys playing in the sprinkler in the yard and what the “Twilight” movie is doing with young Taylor.  Or here’s one: “Miley’s picture is a suggestive, sexual pose, while Taylor’s scenes serve a purpose in telling the story.”  Indeed, they do.  Those “steamy,” shirtless, shots of him do serve a purpose.  Um, where’s the difference, again?  Or, one more: “There’s a world of difference between 15- & 17-years-old.”  Is there?  Is it a world of difference, or just a hemisphere?  Maybe a continent’s difference?  Oooo — an isthmus’ difference!  This avoids the real question, which is…

What has our society done to its image of teenagers such that sexualizing them is acceptible entertainment for the masses?

Christ will one day bring us a day when children can be children (cf. Zech. 8:5) and when adults will find better things to do than exploit teenagers for profit.  May that day come soon.

If you want to read my Miley Cyrus commentary, please do — I’m actually not harsh with her so much as I am with certain others in that article.  But I would also like your opinion on all of this.  What do you think?  Comment below (subject to my comment policy, of course)…

3 thoughts on “Taylor Lautner & Miley Cyrus: a double standard?

  1. Norbert

    We are products of the culture we are raised in with all the taboos, do’s and don’ts relevant to it. Then there is the counter culture that wishes to break the boundaries just for the sake and shock of it, while the average person gets caught inbetween and tries to make sense of it all. But little is thought about Michelangelo and some of his sculptures, all presuming that they are of age? The real issue is lust and I believe lust is rather severely ingrained in these times.

    Like it’s ok to offer a glass of wine with the understanding everyone can drink it in moderation, but in a society overflowing with alcholics? It is better to just keep it off the table.

    I believe the vast majority of society is not able to fully grasp true beauty at this time, think about a breath taking landscape compared to something likewise of the human form. Mankind will need to make a quantum leap in how the human form is perceived. But I am convinced it cannot be done now, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Ro 8:19)

  2. Jeremy

    I absolutely agree with you on all of the points that you brought up. The problem is one of lust and viewing everyone as objects, not really as human. Taylor expose chest may or may not affect girls the way Miley expose back affect boys but he is still nonetheless being made into a sexual object for girls to lust over.

    I guess another problem is that it makes physical appearance to be of top importance when it is character that should be.

  3. When I was younger, I sometimes went shirtless in public on hot summer days — for running outdoors, for example.

    Then in the 1980s, I heard about a group of women demanding the right to watch baseball games in the Wrigley Field bleachers — as topless as the men.

    That changed my thinking and my practice. I now keep “topless” dress confined to my home. But to be honest, I’ve attended Church of God summer picnics where guys of all ages are shirtless at the swimming pool — and if I wade in (not a swimmer), I tend to follow their example.

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