Vanessa: Naughty or Nice?

My interest in the Britneys and Lindsays of the world is pretty much limited to what I glean from a People or Us magazine while I’m waiting in the checkout line at Safeway. Depending on how many people are in front of me, I usually have about five minutes to flip through the magazine to find out who’s in rehab and out of underwear that week. Then I return the magazine to the rack and forget about pop star antics until the next time I’m at the store.

However, there was item of celebrity news that stayed with me beyond the checkout stand and prompted some discussion in our household. That was the story that pictures of a naked Vanessa Hudgens, star of Disney’s “High School Musical” movies, were circulating on the Internet.

As the mother of a high school teenager, who is not much younger than Vanessa, and a pre-teen daughter, whose age group is the major audience for the HSM movies, I definitely wasn’t won over by her explanation that “This was a photo that was taken privately”¦it is unfortunate that this has become public.”

Oh, I get it. According to her logic, the problem is not that she is an 18 year old girl who is suppose to embody wholesomeness and she chose to have her photo taken without any clothes on, the problem is that it became public!

When Steve and I talked about this, he tried to convince me that it’s not that unusual for girls to send sexy pictures of themselves to their boyfriends. He said that lots of guys in the army had naked photos of their girlfriends in their lockers. I asked my 19 year old son what he thought about this and his comment was, “Awesome!”

OK, I certainly understand sending your boyfriend who’s half way around the world a pin-up photo, but at the risk of sounding like a prude, (Valerie and Jennifer”¦are you listening?) nice girls don’t have naked pictures taken! And that goes double since the Internet!

We continued talking about what Vanessa’s motivation for the photos might have been. We decided that either she is not very bright or she is actually pulling a Paris Hilton.

If we give her the benefit of the doubt, that was an innocent photo, taken at a moment in time when she feels that she is at the peak of her attractiveness, she would have to be awfully stupid to transmit a photo electronically knowing that everything ends up on the Internet. This becomes all the more ironic given what she had to say on an episode the “Tyra Banks Show” that aired Monday. When an audience member asked her about how she felt about other young stars getting in trouble, she commented, “I honestly just think it’s stupid. It’s easy to stay out of those situations. You just have to be smart about your decisions.” I think she should take her own advice.

Or perhaps she is more media savvy than her teenage persona lets on. Knowing full well that the photos would end up on the Internet, she could claim innocence, but instead bask in the media buzz that they generated. Given that she works for Disney, unless she wants to get fired, naked pictures don’t seem like a very good way to garner attention. If that was her motivation, we come back to her not being very bright.

Nobody thinks that Paris and Britney are “nice” girls, but even they didn’t have naked pictures on the Internet when they were 18. I hope Vanessa’s mom is having some straight talk with her. Something along the lines of “What kind of girl do you want to be?” I know that’s what I’m going to be talking to my daughters about.

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