The above images are of a 10 year old girl named Thylane Blondeau featured in the Vogue Paris December-January edition earlier this year.
I am rather confused as to why the editor thought these images were acceptable for publication. First and foremost, the young girl is styled way beyond her years and her poses and facial expressions are robbing her of her innocence. Yet most perplexingly, Vogues market is for WOMEN! Why on earth would they think this image would be marketable for an older demographic.
A blog post entitled “Deconstructing Tom Ford’s Cadeaux editorial in Vogue Paris” by Jim Joquico outlines how “some have expressed outrage while some have expressed delight over the creativity and styling of the spreads” (2011). The post also attempts to deconstruct the possible reasons that this is generally being thought of as a bad thing, and imagine a rebuttal of every negative assertion pertaining to the fashion editorial. Below is a sample of an attempt to justify the absurd.
“Vogue Paris seems to be broadening its target audience to include middle-aged pedophiles. Why else would they use kids to attract readers?
Because it’s fun and a nice change of scenery from all the skinny models who are similarly underage like these little kids. Why is it okay to have a 15-year-old (Dutch model Daphne Groeneveld on the cover) pose provocatively but not acceptable to have a six-year-old dress up and act playfully They’re both minors, right? So why just attack this editorial?
These images will corrupt their innocence and encourage them to worry about shallow things, like dresses and accessories and nail polish.
Innocence is all about obsessing with mundane, shallow things, like little dresses, little macaroni necklaces and little pretend tea parties on Mrs. van de Kamp’s lawn. Since when did we expect children to start figuring out the nitty-gritty of global political affairs? And why else would we all want to be oblivious little kids again every now and then?
They are sexualizing the children by dressing them up as grown women.
Say what? When did makeup equate to sexuality? And when was being a grown woman ever exclusively about sexuality? Sexual maturity is just one of the many aspects of becoming a responsible grown-up, and the fact that some people still mistake it for adulthood and the many joys, challenges and complexities it entails is a little disturbing to say the least.”
This is not the first time the fashion industry has caused controversy. In 2007, 13 year old Dakota Fanning posed in a controversial campaign for Marc Jacobs and now her sister Elle Fanning (age 13) is the face of Jacobs’ Fall 2011 Campaign (Pictured below).
The ad features the 17-year-old Fanning in a thigh-length light pink dotted dress, with a super-sized flower-topped bottle of Oh, Lola! sitting between her legs. According to the U.K.’s Ad Standards Authority, the ad ranked as “too suggestive.” The ASA said they believed that “the length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality. Because of that, along with her appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualize a child.” The agency pulled the ad from appearing in any magazines.
This image is of the youngest of the sisters, Elle Fanning. Going by that intense gaze you wouldn’t think you were looking at a 13-year-old girl, would you? Which of course begs the question – is she and her counterparts simply too young to be fronting a women’s wear line? And why do Marc Jacobs want to use a 13 year old to sell clothing designed for older, middle aged women?
Could this be considered corporate paedophile? Rush & La Nauze define the term as a metaphor “used to describe the selling of products to children it encapsulates the idea that such advertising and marketing is an abuse of children and contravenes public norms” (2008).
Then there is the other end of the spectrum, alongside preteens selling to 30 year olds, we are now witnessing preteens, dressed as adults, selling to preteens! Rush states that, “marketers are now feeding children fantasies based on celebrity culture (if that’s not an oxymoron). That is why, apart from padded bras for eight-year-olds, there are platform heels, lip gloss, eye shadow, nail polish, and even artificial nails now being sold directly to girls aged five and up” (2007). Below is an image of a padded bra aimed to sell to an 8-year-old girl, on sale at French store Monoprix.
The above image is of a young girl photographed (and airbrushed) for a child beauty pageant. There are many people out there who don’t believe it is at all appropriate for young girls to be entered in a competition where beauty is the main variable judged. Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First NZ states, echos my thoughts as he states “there are no redeeming factors about the proposed child beauty pageants where little girls are judged using adult measures of so-called ‘beauty’, and where they receive the message that their value is in their appearance and sexualized standards.”
Australian psychologist Steve Biddulph states, “…smarter parents protect their kids, but as the media environment and the shopping malls deteriorate, the kids with not very bright parents have their mental healthy and sexual health degraded.”
The emerging concern of chld sexualisation is creeping up on us, govern,ents need to act immediately to fix this epidemic or risk loosing the innocence of youth around the globe…
“When you combine the prospect of child beauty pageants with the recent marketing of sexualised shirts by Cotton On Kids to be worn by babies, the provocative Little Losers line targeted at young teenagers by clothing store Jay Jays, sexually charged billboard advertising in public places, and graphic sexual music videos, dolls, and tween magazines and websites which encourage young people to look older and act sexier, it shows we must do much more to protect our children from ‘corporate paedophilia’ and the ‘raunch culture.’” (Bob McCoskrie)
Joquico, J 2011, “Deconstructing Tom Ford’s Cadeaux editorial in Vogue Paris,” La Mode: Duabi//, January 6, http://www.lamodadubai.com/2011/01/deconstructing-tom-fords-cadeaux-editorial-in-vogue-paris/
Rush, E, 2007, “Child sexualisation is no game,” The Australian Institute: Research that maters, https://www.tai.org.au/index.php?q=node%2F19&pubid=610&act=display
2011, “Is Dakota Fanning’s Marc Jacobs Ad Too Bawdy?” Lovlish, November 9,