Eden Wood, Thylane Blondeau And The Sexualisation Of ChildrenBy Cecilia On August 8, 2011 Under Parenting Controversy - Public
Sometimes we parents don't give much thought to certain issues until they start repeatedly slapping us in the face. This week, my cheeks are pink from being slapped with images of sexed-up girls that are reigniting the debate about the sexualisation of young girls.
First came 5 year-old pageant princess and star of the television show Toddlers & Tiaras, Eden Wood, with her excessive makeup, spray-on tans, fake eyelashes, outrageous Las Vegas showgirl style outfits and provocative dance moves appalling Australian television audiences.
It's worth noting that sexualisation of young girls and the provision of eye candy for paedophiles aren't the only issues here. A 2007 study by the American Psychological Association linked premature emphasis on appearance with three of the most common mental health problems of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression. NOT a road parents should be actively sending their daughter down.
Next came an outcry over the overly sexualised image of a lollipop sucking, hiked-up shorts wearing young girl in a suggestive, leggy, adult-like pose featured in this Lands End catalogue flogging school backpacks – which Momalog is working hard to have pulled. Factor in the two boys either side of her exchanging "knowing glances" and it becomes near impossible for any mother to deem this ad appropriate. Head on over there to support her cause if you too would like to see this disturbing advertisement axed.
And just when you thought the portrayal of young girls couldn't get any more provocative and inappropriate, along came the French Vogue fashion spread featuring 10 year old model, Thylane Blondeau, sprawled out on a tiger rug, wearing a full face of make-up, skimpy cutaway clothes and adult-size leopard print spike heels, staring vacantly into the camera. And another shot of her wearing nothing on top but beads covering her nipples. How in the world could that be considered an age-appropriate photo of a 10 year-old? It's so NOT!
To French Vogue I say this:
You are not marketing to paedophiles. You are marketing to women, many of whom are mothers of young girls. The idea of photographs of our daughters in these suggestive poses and in this attire (or lack thereof) being published in a glossy magazine horrifies us. These highly sexualised images are deeply disturbing. If the point of this shoot was to inspire us to purchase the featured products, boy did you miss the mark. These images are repellent.
The fashion industry's thirst for young child models has bordered on creepy for a while now, but this crosses the line to repugnant.
To the parents of these young girls I say this:
What are you thinking? Why aren't you protecting your daughter's childhood innocence instead of selling it?
The sexualisation of children – especially young girls – needs to stop. I don't want my daughter to view these kinds of images (which are becoming harder and harder to avoid) and think that imitating these sexed-up girls is appropriate. It's not. Even more importantly, I don't want young men thinking that this is what young girls are all about. It's not.
Which side of the fence are you on? Do you find these portrayals of young girls offensive?