Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Bombshell Babe

There is no doubt that 10-year-old French model Thylane Loubry Blondeau is beautiful.  And I don't believe that there is anything wrong with young girls appearing in fashion magazines.  But Blondeau's provocative photos in French Vogue are just downright troubling.  
My concern is twofold: How could anyone allow their prepubescent daughter to pose for photos that carry such sexual undertones, and what kind of message are these photos sending to young girls? 

The Vogue spread is -- in my opinion -- arguably different than the famous 1980 Calvin Klein ad featuring a 15-year-old Brooke Shields.  Yes, the notion that nothing could come between Shields and her Calvins was provocative at the time. 
But I believe that there was an underlying sense of innocence to that campaign.  Maybe because Shields wasn't so made up.  Maybe because she really looked her age.  And -- as far as I'm concerned -- there's a real difference between a 10-year-old and a 15-year-old, despite the fact that they're both underage.  
Seeing 10-year-old Blondeau in red lipstick, high heels, and polished nails while sprawled out on a tiger is just -- for lack of a better word -- creepy.  You can argue that it isn't inappropriate because she's wearing couture, that it's art, that the images are a display of beauty.  But I can't look at these pictures without wondering whether this little girl is being exploited.  Maybe it's because I'm a mother who doesn't want her own daughter growing up in a world where we sexualize children.  
Don't get me wrong.  I'm not one of those people who writes angry letters to the editor arguing that "regular" girls should appear in Seventeen magazine or that the teen models who grace the cover shouldn't wear bikinis that show off rock-hard abs and ample cleavage.  I get that our society glorifies beauty.  I can admire beauty as much as the next person. 
But what's with the rush to turn our little girls into grown women? Padded bikini tops for 8-year-oldsBreastfeeding baby dolls?  And don't even get me started on Toddlers & Tiaras.  

When I was pregnant I attended my nieces' dance recital, expecting to be pleasantly entertained by a sea of pink tutus and swinging ponytails.  When the show was over I turned to my sister-in-law with a look of shock and fear.  I couldn't believe that this group of preteens would be shaking their money makers while singing along to Ke$ha, who brags about brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack and boys trying to touch her "junk."  It scared me, frankly.  I wondered how I would respond when my daughter begged me to buy her booty shorts, allow her to wear makeup, and go on dates with boys who had cars.  I cringed at the thought that someday we'd have to have "the talk".  
Each day I watch my daughter grow: physically, mentally, emotionally.  I take comfort in the fact that she's too young to be swayed by our standards of beauty.  That she has yet to develop a desire to grow up too fast.  But what happens when she's 7, 8, 9?

I'm not saying that we should shelter our daughters.  
I started dance lessons when I was 3.  I began modeling when I was 4.  On my seventh birthday  Madonna's "Like A Virgin" became the first album I would ever own.  I'm no prude.  But I know that my parents would never subject me to something that bordered on dangerous.  
The Blondeau photos have captured the attention of many, with at least one blogger dedicating an entire site to the little girl.  Some critics argue that the pictures border on kiddie porn, while others defend them as a celebration of true beauty.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  But at what point do we say enough is enough and draw the line when it comes to our children?

No comments:

Post a Comment