A little background: John is our go-to menswear writer. We like to write about Taylor Momsen a bit too frequently. He's annoyed. We respect his opinion. That's why we're publishing it. Also, it's just another reason to bring up Taylor.
To the editors of Fashionista (Lauren and Leah, let’s not pretend we don’t know each other),
This letter is difficult for me to write, not because my heart isn’t in it, but because the subject—Taylor Momsen—has already had far too much attention from media outlets, including this one, and I am reluctant to keep feeding the beast.
I am greatly disappointed and a little disgusted at Fashionista’s continued coverage of Taylor Momsen and her band, The Pretty Reckless. Momsen’s cultivated, “shocking” antics and irresponsible behavior should earn the starlet anonymity, not attention.
I am not someone who normally goes around telling people what they should or shouldn’t say, but I write about young Hollywood, and I am particularly concerned with the current celebration of this fabricated, irresponsible little phony. Originally, I wrote off her new rocker adventure as just another starlet, accompanied by legions of producers and songwriters, taking her irrepressible talent to the recording studio—just like Lindsay Lohan, Jared Leto and Heidi Montag before her—and I paid her no mind.
Momsen’s carefully placed quotes—meant to bolster her no-bullshit, rocker persona, like cursing on a morning show, and telling FHM “I am not Miley Fucking Cyrus”—were ridiculous, but harmless. She said that she’d like to be considered closer to Kurt Cobain—a notion as fantastic as it was laughable for anyone who lived during the grunge era, has listened to Nirvana’s music, or ever been to a rock show of any kind (ironically, it was Courtney Love who mocked her openly on stage at Alex Wang’s after party in 2009)—than the teeny boppers she was being lumped in with. Judging by audience size, bank account and media attention, Taylor Momsen is certainly not Miley Cyrus; unfortunately judging by the age of her fans, she is.
With her ripped tights, raccoon makeup and faux hard sound, Momsen looked to be just another teen industry hoping to broaden her appeal from TV to music, sniffing out her own little niche in the pre-teen psyche. Fine.
And then she released this little gem to the press: “I dress like a high-class hooker.”
The majority of Momsen’s audience is made up teens and tweens, which she and her handlers know full-well, and to endorse and glamorize prostitution in any way is reprehensible and irresponsible beyond belief. Many people do not know that the average age of a sex worker during their first year of prostitution is 14 years old. And we’re not talking about Vietnam. That’s in America.
Prostitution, whether it’s “high-class” or not, should not be glorified in any way, especially not to impressionable young women and girls. It is not about a sartorial style or getting media attention because you brought down a governor, it is about coercion, poverty, drug addiction and child rape.
This isn’t a debate about sexualizing youth, or Momsen’s freedom to behave, dress, and give quotes however she pleases. Nor at issue is whether the mistakes of a 17-year-old, and her handlers, who have sought out the public eye, should be scorned publicly. This is a critique of our own industry, for its inability to resist the temptation to cover anything that will get us uniques and page views. Fashionista is a blog, yes, but it is also better than this.
Momsen and her people’s conscious effort to cultivate a trashy rocker vibe, which include her dress, makeup, and stage antics shouldn’t be dissected by sites like Fashionista, they should be treated as they are: the petulant, rehearsed theatrics of an indulged adolescent.
No trip to the principal’s office or the woodshed; no grounding or threats necessary; all we should do is ignore her.
John Ortved @jortved