• Tue, Aug 2 2011

NSFW: When Does The Portrayal Of Young Girls Become Too Sexualized?

Yesterday, we pointed out that we were disturbed by the images of Thylane Blondeau - because she’s ten and being photographed topless. Some of you pointed out that there’s a history of similar images and that we shouldn’t be shocked. So we looked up similar images and were shocked! At least by some of them.

That’s probably because we’re only used to thinking of child models in L.L. Bean catalogues. There’s obviously a wide range of the way young girls are portrayed by the fashion industry. But where does the line get crossed? Let’s look at some various depictions, each one of which strikes us as more disturbing than the last. You tell us when the images begin to seem inappropriate.

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  • DebMoore

    The picture of Brooke Shields is the WORST! She was definatly exploded my her mother. She was also in the movie about a 13 year old (she was 12 or 13 at the time) sold into prostitution and had nude scenes. I guess she grew up and is fine, but it’s sad to me. I have a 10 year old daughter and I would never do that to her!

  • Luce

    I don’t understand what’s wrong with a ten year old being topless? She’s TEN. Lots of ten year olds run around shirtless, I sure did! The picture isn’t sexualized, in fact it’s a very cool shot and she is a child that has no boobs. I think telling girls that their bodies need to be covered is ridiculous, harmful, and blatantly sexist. You wouldn’t be up in arms about a little boy going topless. The only picture I see a problem with here is obviously the Brooke Shields one…yikes.

    • Hayley

      Luce, while you are right in some ways you are wrong in another. It isn’t entirely right to say that girls/women “shouldn’t have to cover their bodies” because by dressing extremely provocatively and teaching your child, nonetheless, to do so can not only lower their self image but it also can make other people; especially men, lose respect for them. Girls and women should always have respect for themselves and one of the best ways to do that is to cover your body. Unfortunately in this sick world, it’s hard for any woman to dress how she wants without a man staring her body down. I dress modestly for the most part for god sakes, but even still I get checked out by guys. Sure I would much prefer to run around half naked for comfort purposes plus I have no problem with my body, but it’s just gross to be stared at by guys like that. I’m not all that religious or feminist in any way and people have the right to wear what they want but a lot of times respect will be lost in the process. Not to mention the early sexualization of girls can be extremely harmful to their psychological development.

    • Linda

      I went topless on the beach as a kid, no big deal – with parents from europe, and beaches there too, it was normal for a pre-pubescent girl to not wear one. The only thing sexual about it is in your interpretation, meaning your own issues with (projecting) sexuality on a situation where there clearly is none. Why are americans so obsessed with it? Most of these pics I only see young girls having fun. It’s people’s heads that make is anything but.

      And for the record, I have more self respect that many women I know, take no shit, and am extremely comfortable with myself. So Hayley – assuming I would in some way lose respect for myself because at 10 (!) I didn’t wear an unnecessary bikini top is ludicrous.

  • Alanna

    You should not be sexy at ten, you should not even WANT to be sexy at ten. You should be riding bikes and reading Animorphs (or some other equally strange YA book). The LL Bean one is fine, as is the Lanvin ad. I don’t have a problem with the bikini model because she looks like a kid at the beach- and I wore bikinis when I was ten. Plus her pose is cutesy and she has a kid’s smile. The others though are too creepy, especially the Brooke Shields picture.

  • Stephanie

    I consider myself a liberal lady. I also consider the body to be a beautiful thing that can, and should be, artistically depicted. …but I couldn’t hold back a literal grimace when I saw that Brooke Shields picture. That’s just horrible.

    Luce, I agree with you mostly. My only argument against what you said is that this isn’t just a fifth grader running around her backyard sans shirt (and 10 seems mighty old to still be doing that IMO) that her parents captured a picture. This shot was created by an adult who probably asked this ten year old model to remove her shirt and wear only a necklace for this picture. I think that does add an extra layer of creepiness.

  • Eileen

    I agree with Alanna. (and I LOVED the Animorphs books when I was ten! I was just thinking the other day about how they really made me think about morality in more adult ways than anything short of, like, Aquinas) The girl in the bathing suit looks like a ten-year-old in a bathing suit. Yeah, she’s scantily clad, but look at the expression on her face and the way her body is posed – she’s not trying to look sexy. Brooke Shields needs to get dressed.

  • MM

    Way way waiiit. Brooke Shields was NUDE in PLAYBOY at 10? I thought child pr0n was illegal.

  • Jamie Peck

    I feel like I’m gonna go to jail just for looking at the last two.

  • Geraldine

    Apparently this picture of Brooke Shields was for an exhibition at the Tate Modern – not in playboy.

    • Jennifer Wright

      A version of picture was later briefly displayed at the Tate, but the original was taken by Gary Gross for Playboy in 1976. Brooke’s mother authorized it for $450.

      http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/parenting/nude-photo-of-brooke-shields-does-not-tell-the-whole-story-518845

    • MM

      That is some fucked-up shit. I remember reading a quote from Brooke Shields where she said that she lost her virginity quite late because she had body issues/insecurities…well no wonder, if I had been posed all sexy as a child I’d want to keep my virginity until I was 50.

  • Sarah

    So that photo of Thylane in Vogue…when I was that age I would run around our property like that during the summer. I wanted to work in the garden without my shirt like my dad. The photo isn’t sexual at all. That Brook Shields one is sexual.

  • Ross West

    Well, it seems the nature boy – nature girl attitude has our tacit nod. But what do you think of the creepiness of the “Toddlers and Tiaras” shows on cable TV? I think they are wonderful for 3 good reasons: First: it is far from being sexploitation because they go to such bizarre extremes as to be “not of this world” Two year olds to twenty year olds are in a frenzy to win the “Grand Supreme Ultra” plastic crown. Second: you may notice that there is nobody in the audience except for the immediate families of the contestants. That’s telling. Third: look closely at the mothers. Their faces radiate a truly craven insanity, plus they are a fairly homely looking bunch. The whole deal just goes to show that there are plenty of people with nothing better to do than splurge all their time, effort and (college fund) money on a farce. Best of all, these pageants are so sick that pedophiles are repelled in droves. Sort of brings us full circle, doesn’t it?

  • layla

    I think that thylane is a beautiful little girl and i don’t see her pictures as disturbing at all. Now that brooke shields photo is disgusting and i don’t think that you can even compare the other pictures to that brooke shields picture it’s child porn and the others are cataloge photos even the one of little thylane, it has a beautiful and innocent quality and anyone who see’s otherwise is the disturbed one.

  • lisaward

    i think that if you have to put the censory strip over parts of her body that is considered porn i don’t care if she is french or american that should not be happening if her parents are allowing it then they need to be reported that is sick and wrong and what kind of message do you think you are sending to kids her age and by posting them kind of pics your giving child predators what they want to see and if this is going on in america then i am truly ashamed to call myself an american she is only ten what if the same thing that happened to jon benet ramsey happens to her

  • Dawn

    the fact that that photo shoot with Brooke Shields even took place is sick enough but to be sold and no law against this? WTF?????????

  • twinkle

    I think the difference with Linda running around on a beach at 10 with no shirt on is that you in no way were being sexualized. This girl clearly is and she’s out for public consumption by the masses. When you guys were running around without shirts on at 10 (really??) no one was taking your picture and posting it all over the internet for whomever to stare at. Say what you will about being free to do this or that but the fact is that there are sick people out there. And at 10 years old, no child should be subjected to this kind of scrutiny. It’s sad. Can you imagine, she’s the next big thing at 10, by 13 she’s chopped liver and trying to find the identity that she never had a chance to develp because she was too busy being pimped out by her mom and dad at such a young age. She is beyond gorgeous and will become more beautiful as she matures. Why not elt her have a childhood and when she’s 16/17 begin to pursue modelling?

  • twinkle

    Also, if at such a young age your only ever recognized or rewarded for your beauty, how do you ever get past that as you grow older? At 10 she should be playing dolls and house and hanging out with friends and learning that being smart and funny and athletic are just as special as being pretty.
    Looks fade but a wicked personality, a great sense of humour and an education last forever :)
    Just my thoughts….I usually don’t post on this kind of thing but I know I grew up as a total tomboy and only ever had male attention because of being funny and able to kick their asses at sports. None of them wanted to date me, but when i turned 16 I was the girl they all wanted to date. I think it served me well to have first been liked and respected for who i was and my personality rather than jsut how I look. So I know if someone is only into my looks, too bad cause I know i have so much more to offer. I just hope this girl knows she has more ot offer to, that’s all im saying.

  • Loretta

    If a known (or unknown) pedophile had this picture on their computer they would be put in jail. And we wonder where it all starts. Moms, please keep you children properly clothed. Adults are naked enough!! Not a prude, just a caring Mother and NaNa.

  • lea

    Watch the Kinsey Syndrome..it explains everything..and then get your kids out of their schools…

  • meeeeeeeeee

    That dosent look creepy to me at a glance but mabey its subtle

  • meeeeeeeeee

    not that creepy mabey a tiny bit

  • meeeeeeeeee

    ok the last 2 pictures are really fucking creepy-playboy???! how are ten year olds alowed to appear in playboy??

  • Kayla

    So is child porn legal now or are we all gonna rage war on this little girls mom? I know if I seen her I’d look her in the eye call her a selfish cunt and bop her upside the head. Theres other ways for childeren to show their beauty. Try an OLD NAVY commercial or something. At least your baby girls gonna have some kind of clothes on.

    • brie123

      Exactly

  • Rico Mancini

    Is there no fashion house creating clothes for young children – that young children could model? Or is the question “why are so many aspects of our society sexualized?”

  • Lexi

    i showed my grandmother the last pic (shes very conservitive) She said (get this) i shouldnt be looking at this i dont think im old enough. Theres no for sure that theese children are gonna turn out as sluts but if i saw myslef like this when i turned 13 i would think i was pretty bad myself. I just hope her parents let her know that no its not okay to strip down to your nothing to photographed. Oh yea remember the whole i was kidnapped for 18 years. She walking to school not posing all smexy im sure all those pediphiles arent looking at the beautiful background. Shame

  • Tasha P.

    THIS SHIT IS REPULSIVE!!!!! what are peoples fucking problems!? oh my god seriously anyone that can photo graph these kids are fuckin retards and people who get enjoyment out of this i will KILLL

  • BrieGee

    This is so FUCKIING INSANE I SWARE MY MOME WILL NEVER EVER LET ME GO IN FRONT OF THE CAME AT THAT YOUNG AGE INFRONT CAMERA ME ND POSE NAKE WTF WHERE IS A COP THEY NEED TO ARREST THE SICK BASTERD THTH IS MAKING THE LITTLE GIRLS DO THIS ITS ASHAME ND LAST PICTURE I DONT EVEN IF MY MOM WANTED ME TO TAKE THTH KING OF WHICHES SHE WNT THOUU!I WILL FCKING REJECT WHERE R THESE GIRLS PARENTS LIKE THE FIRST PIC WAS BEAUTIFUL TH 2ND ND 3RD PIC OK AND THE 3 LAST PICS GOD DAME ND I KNOW THAT ITS JUJUST A BIKINI ON THE 4TH PIC BUT KNO THATS WHY THEY HAVE ”OLDERR WOMENN!”

  • RICO MANCINI

    I DIDN’T WRITE THE ABOVE COMMENT.
    WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT “RICO MANCINI”
    HE ALSO COMENTED ON BISON @ ANOTHER SITE.
    HE Y RICO…PLEASE COMTACT RICO @ info@coolmusicinc.com