Oh, Miley Cyrus. Miley, Miley, Miley. We need to have a talk. I think it’s really great that you’ve discovered a gluten-free diet that works for you, and that you love Pilates. And to be honest, you are looking pretty toned and strong. But girl, we need to talk about the kinds of photos you’re sending to your young, impressionable fans. Most notably, this one [which could be triggering to some, which is why I'm not posting it]. You’re getting dangerously close to thinspo territory, girl.
The photo, which was retweeted over 8,000 times and favorited about as many, has already alarmed some bloggers, who are worried that she, herself, may be taking her diet and exercise regime to a pre-wedding extreme. And it’s not her first body-shot that’s got people buzzing. But even if she’s totally fine and healthy (which all accounts still indicate that she is), there’s something more concerning about this photo: That it could and probably will be used by pro-ana and thinspo sites.
Because, while it’s totally her right to Tweet whatever photos she wants and look however she wants, there is a part of me (maybe it’s my inner mama bear, maybe it’s because I’ve spent a lot of time researching and writing about eating disorders) that has a really hard time with celebs who post or Tweet images that are just begging to be reposted to hurtful, harmful websites.
And maybe that’s not her concern. Maybe censoring herself and her Twitter account for fear of triggering young women (and men, for that matter) who may have experienced disordered eating patterns is ridiculous and pointless. After all, there are a million other thinspo pictures and Pinterest boards and Tumblrs out there, and these images are part of the more complex problem of eating disorders.
But–and this is just my opinion–I wouldn’t personally ever feel good knowing that a picture of me was being used by a teenager who was starving herself or purging.
Which of course is not to say that Miley Cyrus is single-handedly causing eating disorders, or even that Tweeting this particular image was necessarily irresponsible. But there is something to being a young teen idol that, I think, requires a second thought about what kinds of things you offer up to your fans. Particularly when they’re young, female, and living with the pressure of body perfection.