The second in a series of three, called Toddlers & Tiaras.
One biggest item in the business of fashion is young and beautiful–also skinny. It is given that there is a look to the model, especially the model of clothes. One maxim for this kind of look is that the model shows the clothes, not that the clothes show the model. But in this Paris Vogue, the ten year old girls in these photos are young and beautiful–very young. Young and skinny, but of course. Yet the note for them as the model as object of fashion perfection is not what they wear, but how they look: beautiful, sexy, and hot. To your way of thinking is this a means of exploiting children for the purposes of a kind of prurient delight and to sell magazines?
Shari Karney: Like the adage, “You can never be too young, too thin, or too rich.” But apparently, in the fashion business you can never be too young. The sexploitation of children to sell clothes, fashion and perfume, leads to a viewing of children as objects of sexual desire. It dehumanizes children. It takes away the idea of a child being innocent. Predators do not see children as innocent, and often blame the child for the sexual abuse. And makes children potential victims of child sexual abuse. Little girls in erotic pose and dress makes even adult males excited, so studies indicate. French Vogue using little girls as adults crosses the line and appeals to the potential predator in many males.
Will you explain to us how it are that children may be objects of fashion and adult viewing pleasure in a fashion magazine such as French Vogue? The writer of the Time magazine article below says, “Let’s agree here with the many outraged bloggers who note that there is something deeply creepy about the images. The girl has a preternaturally mature stare and a Brigitte Bardot pout that is both stunning and unsettling. And of course there’s something disturbing about the whole concept of using a fourth-grader to hawk couture for adult women.” In your mind, does this kind of use of a fourth-grader promote interest in children in ways that an adult is interested in an adult? In other words, does this kind of exploitation encourage a child as sex object—even pornography?
Shari Karney: I believe that there is something very disturbing about using a fourth-grader to sell couture for adult women. These children are portrayed extremely sexually. They are not portrayed doing normal children-activities. They are being portrayed with prostitute high-heals on, in erotic poses, doing adult activities. Their hair is elegantly fashioned, their lips pouty-red come-hither, and their skirts exposing naked legs. These children are shown as sexual objects, desirous of sexual encounters. Let’s get one thing clear, Children never want sex from adults.
By Susanna Schrobsdorff
Time magazine report of August 6, 2012…
Just when we were getting used to seeing pubescent bodies of 13-year-old fashion models draped in $10,000 outfits, French Vogue has taken the creepy trend one step further with some controversial photos of a pre-pubescent 10-year-old model striking some very adult poses.
The image of young Thylane Loubry Blondeau, stretched out on a tiger skin with leopard-print high heels, red nail polish, big jewelry and upswept hair, has lit up the Web and reignited the long-running debate over whether we are sexualizing young girls.
Let’s agree here with the many outraged bloggers who note that there is something deeply creepy about the images. The girl has a preternaturally mature stare and a Brigitte Bardot pout that is both stunning and unsettling. And of course there’s something disturbing about the whole concept of using a fourth-grader to hawk couture for adult women.
But in truth, I’m a little surprised that the Vogue pictures caused such a stir given that there’s no comparable outrage over the fact that Target sells pink silk padded bras for tweens or that, come this Halloween, we’ll once again be faced with fetish wear for 6-year-olds including some truly icky French maid costumes.
And yet we’re shocked each time there’s a new sexy kid incident. Inevitably, in response, the TV networks drag out the clips of the heavily made-up kiddie pageant contestants on TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras, along with that viral video of a dance competition featuring young girls wearing garters and gyrating to a Beyoncé song.