So how about those Miley Cyrus photos?

Outrage and finger-wagging follow the semi-topless photos of the "Hannah Montana" star.

Topics: Miley Cyrus, Broadsheet, Love and Sex,

The Internet is abuzz today with news that apple-cheeked Hannah Montana is “embarrassed about” a semi-topless Annie Leibovitz photo that appears in the upcoming Vanity Fair. The cover of the New York Post screams, “Miley’s Shame!” When I saw the headline this morning on the subway, my heart sort of sank. Another good one lost to bottle service and TMZ. What had little Hannah done?

Then I saw the photos. Huh. Am I supposed to be outraged? I’m not. You can see more skin at a prom. I too cringe at the way girls are sexualized earlier these days — and I’ve been known to throw fits about those sleazy American Apparel ads — but I actually tend to agree with Leibovitz, who said in a statement that it’s “a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little makeup.”

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But outrage is certainly out there for the taking right now. You can’t get much more G-rated (or popular) than Hannah Montana, and parents are busy finger-wagging for the way she has failed her fans. Gawker rails on Leibovitz for being a controversy-baiting hack (which she kind of is): “We’re hardly the type to play scolds for risque media attention-getting stunts,” it writes. “But there is such a thing as a bright line that you simply don’t cross.”

But as far as I can see, the bigger problem is the other photos of Miley Cyrus, ones that surfaced last week. Now those aren’t simple or classic. As one friend recently theorized, Cyrus may be backpedaling on the Vanity Fair shoot just to deflect attention from being another stupid teen with a cellphone camera.

Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is an editor at Salon. Her memoir, "Blackout," will be published by Grand Central in June.

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