PracticalDad and the Miley Cyrus Photos

"I didn’t know they were going to strip her down and wrap her up in a blanket.  I was surprised when I saw it…but hey, that’s life.  Stuff happens."

– Billy Ray Cyrus on his daughter’s cheesecake shot, the Today Show, June 17, 2008

Help me understand this.  You’re there on a photo shoot when they strip your teenage daughter for a cheesecake shot and you’re surprised.  I understand that since I’d be surprised, too.  But hey, that’s life?!?!  Stuff happens?!?!?!

Dude, strange men will be ogling this shot of your teenage daughter.  What are you thinking?

I know a bunch of fathers – me included – who’d be out of there in a heartbeat.  Even if there’s a contract for the shoot, I doubt that such a shot would be enforceable in court.  And if there is a contract, tough.  It’s simply wrong to permit such a shot to occur.  Either he knew that such a shot would be controversial and hence, great for business, or else he’s negligent as a father.  Either way, he should be ashamed for what he permitted to happen.  She’s a 15 year-old girl.

There are moments when the pressure to go along can be overwhelming.  And it’s those moments that the parent has to be willing to be "the bad guy" in order to protect the kid.  It’s neither the manager’s nor the photographer’s job since they have a financial interest in letting this occur.  Whether it’s another parent, an employer or even a school system that’s trying to jam your kid, you have to be willing to enter unpleasant situations and stand for the best interests of your child.  Voices might be raised and threats rendered, but it’s your job to stand your ground.

When I was in middle school, I was badgered by other kids and several music faculty to take up the string bass.  I repeatedly said "no" to both groups and spoke to my father about it.  His response?  You have to learn to deal with the kids yourself, but the teachers should leave you alone when you refuse.  After a teacher called my father directly to enlist his support, I never heard of the issue again.  When I later asked what had happened, he simply said that it was part of his job as a father to stand up for his child.  As he also said, "a kid can’t be an SOB with an adult.  I can."  It was a relief to know that I was supported and it taught me a great deal about standing up to my peers when the need arose.

Yes, there’s a different world out there as mothers take to the workplace and fathers take to the home.  But that doesn’t mean that fathers are emasculated and can’t do right by their children.  You have to protect your young.

And as I learned, being an SOB can be a noble thing.

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